Web Page 1082
6th October 2012
Top Picture: Earex and dropper
Bottom Picture: 1950’s medical equipment.
“Oh Mum my ear aches!” “Come here and lets have a look, I expect that you are growing potatoes in there,” was often the reply. How many times did we hear this when we were kids? Ear ache seems to be a thing of the past now but in the 1950’s everyone seemed to suffer from it a one time or another. This meant a bit of home doctoring followed by a bit of nursing and then a visit to the surgery.
Firstly it was the inspection. “Put your head on one side and keep still” we were told and mother would peer into the offending ear, then grab a small twist of cotton wood which she had previously wrapped round a matchstick with the head taken off. Next came the cleaning when the match stick was inserted into the ear and twisted round, this normally resulted in the child also starting to twist around and being told to “stand still or will poke your eardrum out”.
When the matchstick was removed and the cotton wool examined maybe all was well but normally it meant getting the ear cleaned out. Another long complicated process.
Firstly mother had to find the tiny bottle of Olive Oil (bearing in mind that in the 1950’s this was a rare commodity Britain had yet to be invaded by Italian chef using copious amounts of Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and was consequently very expensive. Next this had to be warmed up on the stove to just under blood heat and loaded into a pipette (remember those from our science classes?). Then it was a case of getting the patient to stand still and place the head on one side. Slowly the olive oil was dripped into the ear generating a strange warm feeling inside the head. When this was done it only remained for a plug of cotton wool to be placed in the ear to keep the oil in. Then off we went to school with a white plug in our ears and a slightly muffled reception in that ear. Come the evening the plug was removed, the ear cleaned out and the whole process repeated.
This went on for three days and then came the bygone the trip to the surgery. Her we sat in the waiting room terrified as to what was going to happen. When we were called in mother was asked if she had been applying the loosening oil and after a positive response the syringing could begin.
Out would come the enormous hypodermic with the long blunt needle, the warm water and the kidney bowl. Now it was a case of grin and bear it as the ear was slowly filled with warm water and the offending wax flushed out. At last it was over and full hearing restored we could go home at last it was all over. But there was always the final line from the nurse which brought you back to earth again. “Bring him back next week and we will do it again just to make sure its all out” Help another week of olive oil, cotton wool and “will you please keep still or it will be your ear drum that will suffer”.
On very rare occasions my mother would try a product called Earex but Olive Oil and cotton wool still remained the favoured treatment!
Keeping on the medical subject maybe someone can help. For years as a child I heard the adults refer to Liquid Paraffin as a laxative; just what was liquid paraffin and where did it come from?
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News and Views:
Former Ventures guitarist Nokie Edwards suffered a heart attack in mid-September while on a month-long tour of Japan He was placed for a while in a medically-induced coma to relieve fluid build-up on his heart and lungs, but has since been revived. However, he is still breathing with the aid of a respirator. The 77 year-old had received an angiogram in 1998 and suffered a heart attack in 2009.
On this day 6th October 1960-1965
On 06/10/1960 the number one single was Tell Laura I Love Her - Ricky Valance and the number one album was Down Drury Lane to Memory Lane - A Hundred and One Strings. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions
On 06/10/1961 the number one single was Kon-Tiki - The Shadows. The top rated TV show was 'Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £ 13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. British plane crashes in Pyrennees killing 34.The big news story of the day was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV)'.
On 06/10/1962 the number one single was Telstar - The Tornadoes and the number one album was Best of Ball Barber & Bilk. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 06/10/1963 the number one single was She Loves You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 06/10/1964 the number one single was I'm Into Something Good - Herman's Hermits and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 06/10/1965 the number one single was Tears - Ken Dodd and the number one album was Help - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.