|Image Source: MyCharity.ie.|
In the late 1960s while trying to be Tarzan in the hay shed at home in Ballingate, I managed to break two of my fingers in my left hand swinging from a rope tied to a beam at the roof of the shed. I can still remember the pain and was brought first to Dr Doyle in Carnew who sent me to Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin. I remember two things in Temple Street: One was that X-rays of my broken fingers were displayed to medical students by the attending doctor - it was then decided to send me to Cappagh Hospital as I would need an operation. The other memory is about the witch, masquerading as a nurse, who tied my fingers in a splint. I was screaming in pain and she had no sympathy, telling me to shut up, and that big boys don't cry. I spent 10 days in Cappagh and my memory is of a ward full of boys, many with injuries like mine - but I also remember many with Polio. In contrast to Temple Street, the nursing staff were very gentle - and I certainly have fond memories of the care and education (we had classes) I received there.
On the radio this morning I heard former (and disgraced) British Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aiken on the Today with Seán O'Rourke Show, being interviewed about his time as a small boy in Cappagh when he was suffering from TB. The purpose of his interview was to publicize the Cappagh Hospital Foundation who are raising money for their Orthopedic Centre (you can donate here). Aiken also has fond memories of his care in Cappagh, in particular a nun called Sr Finbarr. I remember the nuns being good to us - I wonder if I had the same nun taking care of me?
I have never been back to Cappagh Hospital and it is easy for events from over 40 years ago to be forgotten. Since then (and before) thousands of Irish children have been taken care of in a safe and loving environment. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the memories Jonathan Aiken!