Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Taking the cure.

As I am sure you all know by now, my recent illness means that I have no longer got a Driving Licence. It is one thing choosing not to go out in the car and quite another not being able to go out in the car.

If there is a day (thankfully there are very few) when I see no-one and don't get out at all, I am quite depressed by nightfall. My answer is to go on as long a walk as I can manage - out into the countryside around the farm, round the fields, down the lane, across to my friend's house in the village; anything to get out of the house and -hopefully - to see someone to speak to. (that bit, of course, can always be remedied by a phone call). And various friends, as well as the farmer, know how much I get cabin fever and are very good at calling to take me for a drive if they are going somewhere.

In a way I see it as 'taking the cure', because the fresh air, the scenery, the plant life, the bird life, the whole ambience of 'outdoors' is still a cure to me. It always makes me feel better.

Time was, of course, when it was the only 'cure' - and rarely successful at that. I vividly remember as a child going past the Sanatorium at Branston in Lincolnshire(or the 'san' as it was known, and spoken about with a doom-laden voice)and seeing all the beds out on the verandah in the open air where the consumptives were given their best chance of a cure. And I also remember that most families in our village had lost at lease one member to T.B. - or consumption as it was commonly known. Some families had lost all their children to the terrible disease.

And there were all those literary consumptives - the best known being the Brontes who died off one by one like flies with what was often called 'galloping consumption'. Branwell died first, in 1848 but no sooner was he buried than the health of the girls began to fail. If you have ever been to The Parsonage in Howarth, you will know that there is a hard, unforgiving sofa in the sitting room, with a sign on it saying that on this sofa Eimly Bronte died, refusing a doctor to the last. In fact on the day she died she got up, got dressed and sat sewing on the sofa.

Anne Bronte shortly afterwards decided she would take the fresh air cure at Scarborough in an effort to stop the terrible disease but she had only been away from home for four days before she died - and then poor Charlotte too.

It is hard for us to take in the enormity of the threat of TB in these days of anti biotics, isn't it? I am old enough to remember them coming in during the war I think - as I remember it the first ones were called M and B tablets and were seen by us all as a magic cure-all (if I am wrong, i am sure someone will correct me).

Now, I suppose, doctors no longer recommend fresh air as a cure but it certainly cures me of that 'down in the dumps' feeling - and when the Spring comes, as it most surely will before long, I shall be able to go out into the fields, find a sheltered spot to sit and drink in that wonderful Yorkshire air laced with the fragrant scent of primroses, hazel catkins, grass growing ..........need I go on? I am sure that I have set the scene for you.

today's aros: the tiny white spears of the snowdrops are pushing their way steadily through the grass.

25 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

this was very close in my mother's family as both her sister and brother died of diseases that would be easily treated now. Pleurisy and T.B. I think being in India brought it home to me even more. I heard every where very racking coughs and saw very thin people. At around an average of £45 per month wages, most will not have the where with all to get the necessary medication. We are very blessed with the N.H.S. no matter how we grumble!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Yesterday on my drive home from the dentist I was moaning about the discomfort of my new crown when I realized how lucky I am to be able to seek and receive good dental care. I completely agree with you about a good walk. A walk out in the fresh air, enjoying nature, is, for me, a cure for many a sadness or worry.

Jinksy said...

I think I am a born hermit - being indoors has never sent me spiralling down into the dumps - perhaps because I have difficulty in keeping my mind on a leash - it seems to travel far and wide at will, and staves off cabin fever, I guess...

The Bug said...

I'm like Jinksy & don't get cabin fever much (although I work, so how would I know?). BUT I do get very lethargic if I don't DO something. This being hemmed in by winter is hard - no wandering around the yard checking out flowers & vegetables. Sigh.

Eryl said...

Like Jinksy I'm a born hermit. Weeks can go by without me leaving the house, or talking to anyone but the boys (husband and son).

Glad you can get out on good long walks and enjoy them.

writingsfromwildsoul said...

Aho, Grass Weaver, to the cure of the land. Earth heals us as nothing else can. In these cold days in the middle of the US, ground covered with snow, I don't get out enough. Thank you for the Snowdrops. I will always think of my mother when the Snowdrops appear.

elizabethm said...

I sympathise with the cabin feaver Weaver! I love time to myself and in fact go nuts with too much company but I do like to be able to get OUT and if I spend too much time both alone and inside I become as flat and grey as a winter sea. An interesting reminder about TB. How devastating it was and how utterly we now take its absence for granted.

Heather said...

There is nothing as uplifting as a good breath or two of fresh air, especially if there is a hint of Spring in it. My mother was prescribed M & B tablets for some infection when I was quite small. I remember that the side-effects made her feel much worse but she knew they we killing the infection so carried on taking them. I also remember a schoolfriend's father having to live in a hut in their
garden as part of his treatment for TB.

Arija said...

I wonder, did your family have a car when you were a child. Ours certainly did not. We all of us had feet and walked long distances every day and were for the most part happy.
Walking is known to have a therapeutic effect on many levels and certainly dispels the blues.

It is in fact prescribed for recovering heart, dementia and other patients so keep it up!

angryparsnip said...

I love to go out but I too am very happy to stay inside and work in my studio.
I have a comprised immune system so the less I am around crowds and people who are sick the better off I am. So staying home works for me.

cheers, parsnip

Bovey Belle said...

TB claimed several lives on my husband's side of the family including his g. grandfather. I have worked with a couple of people who spent time in sanatoriums too (they also spoke of being outside in their bed to take the air) and my ex-husband was sent off to a Sanatorium on Dartmoor aged just 5. The experience changed him for life and made him very insecure.

I think we take so much for granted these days . . .

Like you, a good walk in the countryside helps set things to rights with me too.

Lori at Jarvis House said...

Even with all of the snow that we are having on Long Island, cold fresh air is the cure for cabin fever and many other things. Some people are not kind about the way I keep the thermostat at 63 degrees. But cold never hurt anyone, that is reassonable cold. I bundle up and walk around the garden covered in snow, knowing that each day one minute of daylight is being added. Spring will come soon and it always does. and then there is always making chicken soup. It warms you three times, once when you are making it, once when you are eating it, and once when you offer it to someone else.

Hildred and Charles said...

Pat, I love your river stone, and I sympathize with you greatly at your loss of driving privileges. At this age (the one I am at) people are losing their licenses all over the place, - I am still the only one driving in our lunch group of five, and so when I go anywhere I usually have a full car. Charles goes for his medical tomorrow to have his driver's license renewed and I pray (really pray) that he will pass it!!

I can remember when I first worked as a part time clerk for the Public Health one of my tasks was to keep track of T.B. patients, and there were a great many of them, especially among the native population. Thankfully T.B. is very rare now.

Enjoy your walk!

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

I'm glad you get out and have some exceptional countryside and friends to share your life with. TB, I understand has been on the increase for some time now and I understand it is always an indicator of the social status of the country, as hardship and poverty increase, so does TB - a 'disease of the poor' according to some commentators.

Elizabeth said...

So miserable not to be allowed to drive, but far safer than having an accident and hurting yourself or others.

What excellent topics you come up with , Weaver.
Yes, the poor tragic Brontes.
What a horrible disease. When I was very young I thought all the pallor and Keats-ish -ness of it was very romantic. Silly me.
A horrible scourge as were diptheria and diabetes!
How did people ever brave having children at all?

Yes, getting out for a walk in the fresh air is my favorite exercise. Buster makes me whether I want to or not.

ChrisJ said...

Living in an area that is full of retirees, I know that for most of them having their driver's license taken away is their worst nightmare. Our communities are just not built for walking. The nearest store for me would be to walk down a hill on a very busy road with no side walk, for a mile and a half -- and then have to walk back up the hill with groceries to get home.
This is a problem in dire need of a solution in our area.

The Weaver of Grass said...

As usual thank you for the comments - seems we all like to get out in the fresh air and walk.
The comments are so interesting and well worth a read through as usual.

steven said...

weavee the very first time i took in the country air and recognized it for what it was and then also for everything tucked away inside it, i walked the pennine way bottom to top. the stretch across the north yorkshire moors was and still is a turning point that i look to when "all hope is lost"! steven

Mary said...

Your very interesting post made me Google the Bronte family to learn more. Had no idea they had all died such sad deaths at young ages. TB was a huge killer, thankfully the vaccine was discovered which has made it virtually unknown in all but the very poorest countries.

So sorry you are unable to drive now - something I will find very hard to accept when it happens for one reason or another. Is it your eyesight? I don't believe I was enjoying your blog when perhaps you explained the reason. Of course I understand if you prefer not to say and just hope your good friends continue to 'pick you up' as often as possible.

I was hoping you were closer to the Lake District as I will be there for a week in Spring with a group of friends.............hopefully enjoying weather fine enough for fresh air tramping through the glorious countryside! Do you think I'll need wellies????

Stay cheery and be well Pat.

Marianne said...

I'm just too young to remember the worst of TB but polio - there was at least one child in every class who had had it and children in great calipers were a common sight. How lucky we are now. But I do think that we rely too much on medication as the only cure. Yes, it can work miracles but fresh air, exercise and rest, good food and good company are essential medicine for the body and soul, all too easily forgotten in our hectic lives.

Golden West said...

Fresh air and sunshine are the best! I've read recently that scientists have found that tilled soil releases elements that induce a feeling of well being. I have always found that working in my garden calms the mind and raises my spirits.

I, too, am a born hermit and can stay home (but not always indoors) for weeks at a time, happily.

hart said...

Near where I grew up in New Orleans was a sanatorium. Its official name was "The Home for Incurables." Even as a child I thought what a hopeless place to be sent. It did have lovely grounds-so perhaps they got to take a fresh air cure as well.--hart

jeannette said...

Feel for you, Weaver! I don't drive much after we moved, because it's a complicated situation with the cars here, living in the condo, but I still have the choice to drive if I want to, and that makes the difference.
One does get used to being inside a lot (with time though), but again, I don't know how I would manage without seeing the sun often from my big glass doors.
Great you can still walk. Hugs!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments.

Jules said...

It's so refreshing to read an encouraging post about finding your own 'cures'. Thankfully, my doctor is a big advocate of being responsible for your own frame of mind, and encourages walking and fresh air.
I use my dog walking time to count my blessings, and although fibromyalgia can be hard, I'm lucky in that I can see the beauty in the most difficult seasons and enjoy them. There's so much beauty around us, and like you said about early cures, life is more comfortable for us nowadays than it was for people years ago.