Column: Childhood visits to the doctor

Carol Forster
Carol Forster
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This week I am on a health theme as I recall how things used to be in healthcare a few decades ago for us in this country.

It seems incredible now to think you could call your doctor out at one time and after an inordinately long period of time coughing and spluttering, he or she would arrive with fascinating leather bag in hand.

I can particularly recall that this was very intriguing as a child and I wondered what lay therein.

In fact I can recall a few things.

So, for example, there would be the stethoscope and the lollipop stick for prodding down an ailing tongue and even some ghastly pink medicine which was called linctus.

The pretty appearance of this medicine certainly belied its taste.

Ring any bells?

Perhaps my strongest memory, though, is of the fascinating case that held the ear-searching torchy instrument.

It looked like a leather jewellery box but contained the ear prober which doctor would peer into your ears with.

I also remember that while the doctor was dealing with your infirmity, he would have a faraway look in his eye, which was hardly surprising as he must have been exhausted after treading the streets of the town.

Back then, a trip to the doctor might see a massive syringe full of some vaccination or another, though this seemed to be mainly preserved for school, where hapless pupils lined up for the jabs.

Invariably they would come out clutching an arm and claiming terrible pain which rendered the whole experience even more unappealing.

Then, dear readers, I am sure many of you will recall a trip to the dentist some decades ago.

As a child, I particularly remember the gas experience which rendered everything extremely funny.

This seems surreal now, but so it was!

In many respects the dental experience doesn’t seem to have changed much though I’m sure the modern dentist would beg to differ and be horrified at such a comparison. What certainly hasn’t changed is the waiting room of gloom which is always full of nervous looking people trying their best to think positive.

Ah well!