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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2012, 20:24 
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judithR wrote:
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I think the effects of rubella were known about before the 60s.

Not always consistently applied, mind you. In the early 80s (when I was recently married and quite likely to be considering having children) I was round at my former GP's surgery one day for an appointment and met two little girls who were suspected (correctly) of having German measles. As good luck would have it, I wasn't pregnant, and in fact had been innoculated against rubella (tho the GP couldn't have known that). I think some people were still a bit casual about 'childhood infections'...


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2012, 21:09 
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Noreen wrote:
Not always consistently applied, mind you. In the early 80s (when I was recently married and quite likely to be considering having children) I was round at my former GP's surgery one day for an appointment and met two little girls who were suspected (correctly) of having German measles. As good luck would have it, I wasn't pregnant, and in fact had been innoculated against rubella (tho the GP couldn't have known that). I think some people were still a bit casual about 'childhood infections'...

People can still be a bit casual about childhood infections today. Only earlier this summer a colleague of mine was furious that her brother and sister-in-law brought their toddler over to play with her one-year-old one weekend, knowing that he'd been exposed to chicken pox. He came out with spots while the children were playing together and they just shrugged it off, saying they'd thought he would probably come down with it. Then the next day they brought him round again, exposing the whole family once more. My colleague was furious both because her daughter was quite premature and is very vulnerable to infection and because for all they knew she might have been pregnant again, yet they saw no harm in knowingly bringing the infection into her house twice.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2012, 21:50 
Llywela wrote:
People can still be a bit casual about childhood infections today.


I agree. I think in part it's because so many of us have never lived through huge childhood epidemics ourselves, and seen children we know either die or be severely handicapped because of long-term effects of particular illnesses, and then there's the 'problem' that today so many illnesses are more easily dealt with, even if you actually happen to catch them. It's made us careless.

And there's still the idea of things like chicken-pox parties, with the idea that children have to catch it, and better now than later, so let's get on with it. But you're completely correct Llywela - for children (or adults) with particular problems this can be potentially dangerous.

I've mentioned before that I attended a seminar where the health professional ( she worked in alternative health-care, and advocated the use of homeopathy - and no, I'm not saying that this is wrong!) was applying this thinking to measles - that children should be allowed to catch it naturally rather than be vaccinated against it, and that it was a natural part of childhood ... I'm glad that the general consensus was that this was highly erroneous thinking.

But then we go back to the time when there weren't vaccinations - Chalet School time - so society was set up rigidly in order to reduce the spread of childhood illnesses such as measles (of any nationality) or whatever. And I've been thinking about this. In the case of Barbara, Everyone who had contact with the ifected children was kept in isolation with them. What woudl Jack have done? Would he have had to have stayed away until after the tiem had finished? They thing is, clothes and so on were considered (rightly, I think) possible sources of transmission, which is why Joey can't visit the School (even though she had had it - if she ever had???).

Boarding schools had strict returning criteria and children had to arrive with certificates of health signed by their GPs confirming that they weren't likely to be bringing back some infectious illness with them, and way back in the mid 1880s children woudl arrive at school and have to go through a system which saw them stripped physically of home/travel clothes and washed in disinfectant before being allowed into school again.

So the prevention of infection was adhered to far more rigorously than it is today. One of my favourite-ever books is The Velveteen Rabbit, and in that the rabbit is destroyed (burned, I think?) as a result of being with the little boy when he was ill. It has a very happy ending (for the rabbit) despite that!

So ... how would Phil have caught polio, do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2012, 23:25 
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Most "childhood" infections are significantly more serious if you get them as an adult. Just over five years ago I came down with mumps (despite having had it when O was eight) and I was in bed, in agony, for about three weeks. I could barely lift my head. My GP advised me to keep away from my then-fiance as mumps can cause infertility if adult men get it - fortunately he had ben vaccinated!

The precautions against infection are one of the historical aspects of the CS books that I find very interesting, since it isn't something that happens nowadays - despite the fact that many of these illnesses are viruses, so can't be treated with antibiotics, and potentially still serious when people are infected.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2012, 23:48 
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I thought I remembered either Jack Maynard or Jem Russell saying something about there being no need for children to catch infectious diseases. It's at the start of Jo Returns, when Jo can't go back to the Sonnalpe because the Bettany children have brought measles back from their cousins in Ireland, and it's part of a conversation between Jo (1st) and Madge (2nd) :
"How is Mollie taking it?"
"As calmly as Mollie takes most things. She says that all children have to have it, and they might as well get it over before they go to school. Jem tells her that's false logic, and there should be no need for children to get anything if they're properly looked after."

Er, maybe...and I'm still mystified as to how Phil could have caught polio, even if it was before vaccinations were available, which I'm not convinced it was! But then the whole thing is a bit mysterious. Surely it couldn't have been a mis-diagnosis?


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 08:36 
Noreen wrote:
"Jem tells her ... there should be no need for children to get anything if they're properly looked after."


Which is all well and good, but then no-one would ever have any immunity against such illnesses, and unless everyone in the whole world was as stringent as Jem the viruses would still be wafting around somewhere or other, ready to hit very hard all the British adults who had never had them as children :roll: . Good old Jem.

Noreen wrote:
... and I'm still mystified as to how Phil could have caught polio, even if it was before vaccinations were available, which I'm not convinced it was!


According to Jem's logic, she wasn't properly looked after :shock: !

Can anyone tell me whether or not Jem/Jack would have had to stay away from either home or the clinic when there was active infection at home?


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 09:16 
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The difference of opinion between Jem and Mollie's interesting because it's a debate that's still going on now - do you take the view that children are bound to catch things like chicken pox at some point and they may as well get it over with whilst they're little, or do you try to prevent them from getting any sort of illness because all illnesses carry the risk of complications? Jem's got a point, and Peggy does become seriously ill when the kids all get measles, but it's virtually impossible to protect children from infection, especially once they're at school.

It seems illogical that Joey had to stay at home but Jack (as far as we know) didn't, but doctors and nurses are, by the nature of their jobs, in contact with all sorts of infectious diseases all the time. Jem and Jack would have been in contact with TB patients all day and then coming home to their families.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 11:10 
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One of my, now thankfully, ex-neighbours blamed me for years and years for her husband catching chicken pox when he was in his 50s and being very ill with it. My son was about six and her son was about three and that time we were both going to the same church and our boys to the Sunday School. Christian came down with chicken pox which you don't really know anyone has until the spots come out, then her son got chicken pox a little while later.
Her husband caught it as well and was very ill and apparently this was all my fault as I hadn't told her Christian was infected with chicken pox before the spots came out. I didn't even know where he had picked it up but she told me it was going round the Sunday School. So she knew but I didn't and she hadn't told me but it was still my fault her son caught chicken pox from Christian.
He may well have caught it from my son but it's just as likely he got it from someone else at the Sunday School but the way she went on about it apparently I planned and plotted to make sure Christian got chicken pox just so he could pass it on to Robert and thus passing it onto her husband, just to make her life even more of a misery than it already was.
I'm not sure exactly how it was my fault that her husband had never caught chicken pox in his childhood and got it out of the way but there you go.
As I would have said to her at the time, if I'd not been such a pushover at that age, it wasn't my fault and if Robert hadn't caught chicken pox then he would have got it at some point through his childhood and her husband still would have caught it himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 11:23 
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Oh dear, poor you, Ruby! Whatever Jem might have said :roll:, it's virtually impossible to stop these things from spreading. By the time Joey realises about the chicken pox in Barbara , Stephen's already back at his school and has spread it round there.

The start of term's always a nightmare for germs being passed round even if it's just coughs and colds - "freshers' flu" type things. Is there any mention of health certificates - the ones which Irene in Malory Towers is always forgetting/losing - in the CS books? There's a vague reference in Barbara to a new girl having a "medical certificate", but that sounds more like some sort of certification of her own health that anything to do with not having been in contact with contagious diseases.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 13:38 
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There's a bit in Gay re collection of health/medical (can't remember which) at the beginning of term.. I'd assumed they were what we (girl's grammar school 1960s) referred to as dog licences which said we hadn't had or been in contact with anything infectious/contagious in the holidays.

The attitude to childhood infections was different when immunisations weren't available. Every few years, when herd immunity dropped there'd be an epidemic of whatever and all (or most of) those susceptible would get it. At that point the whatever usually went through the family as children tended to be nearer in age than they are now when two children five or six years apart doesn't seem to be unusual (no reliable birth control in those days).

My mother had mumps when she was a student - as a result none of us ever succumbed. I suspect sub-clinical (modified by maternal antobody) early in life. I didn't even succumb in the epidemics when I was doing A-levels and again during finals. I'd be rotten Chalet School girl.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 14:07 
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When I was a kid we still had an isolation hospital nearby: it closed in 1993. Polio was rare when I was growing up because children were routinely vaccinated by then, but, a generation earlier, doctor would send children with polio there. There were a lot of outbreaks in the 1950s, when my parents were kids, so it would've been a very topical subject when EBD mentioned it, more so than TB which was on the wane in the West by then.

The San seems to've served all sorts of purposes during the Swiss years but there's no mention of it having an infectious diseases unit - it can't have done, because the school took in local kids who got scarlet fever in Trials - so Phil would have had to go away to hospital somewhere. Interlaken's only a small town, so it's possible the nearest place would have been in Berne. I don't know how often, if at all, Joey and Jack would have been allowed to visit, and they'd have had the logistical problems of getting there and back when they had their work to do and other children to look after. I know it doesn't really fit with a school series, but it would have been an interesting storyline.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 14:24 
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Alison H wrote:
The San seems to've served all sorts of purposes during the Swiss years but there's no mention of it having an infectious diseases unit - it can't have done, because the school took in local kids who got scarlet fever in Trials - so Phil would have had to go away to hospital somewhere. Interlaken's only a small town, so it's possible the nearest place would have been in Berne. I don't know how often, if at all, Joey and Jack would have been allowed to visit, and they'd have had the logistical problems of getting there and back when they had their work to do and other children to look after. I know it doesn't really fit with a school series, but it would have been an interesting storyline.

I think it could have been worked into the school stories, since Phil had sisters at the school, so we could have seen the second hand impact on them - their concern for their little sister and how that affected their work and relationships with other students, eg Con more distracted than ever, Margot bad tempered, Len less patient than usual, etc. Or there could have been some kind of crisis where one of them desperately wanted to go home and ask Mamma for advice, but either didn't want to stress her out all the more or knew she wouldn't be there as she'd be visiting Phil in hospital, etc. Or maybe we could have been shown them noticing how tired and worried she looked, not like their usual jolly Mamma at all. There could have been ways of showing how the stress was affecting Joey without detracting too much from the school focus.

As it is, the series really does feel disjointed at this point, with such a major event taking place off-screen, as it were, and only referred to in retrospect as if it's something we should all know about rather than as a new piece of information we've not heard about before.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 17:37 
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We had to arrive back at boarding school in the '50s armed with a duly signed health certificate stating no contact with contagious/infectious diseases for a specified period. I can't remember if a parent signed it or if we had to trek to the doctor for a signature.

EB makes a big thing about health certificates; I think it's in the St Clare's books where one girl, Irene I believe, is always forgetting or losing hers and Matron threatens to make her mother pin it to her vest when she leaves home.

In theory we were not allowed to join the other pupils if we arrived without the certificate.....

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2012, 21:51 
Llywela wrote:
As it is, the series really does feel disjointed at this point, with such a major event taking place off-screen, as it were, and only referred to in retrospect as if it's something we should all know about rather than as a new piece of information we've not heard about before.


Gosh ... now I'm beginning to wonder if there is, somewhere in some dark, dusty attic, hidden and forgotten perhaps in a large, heavy wooden case such as the one into which Joey fell and became stuck, a manuscript with this story in it. One which was supposed to have been published, but mysterious happening resulted in its disappearance and perhaps a hushing-up of its existance ... but then somehow a reference to its contents slipped in (those poor editors again!) to a later publication - Barbara.

And Ruby - what a horrible thing to go through. Poor you. Several times in my own life people have believed completely wrong things about me - what I've apparently said or done and haven't - and haven't com eto me ot ask for the truth of the matter, and it's resulted in the people who've believed the things ending the friendship, and still (as far as I know) even now, think that what they think is true. It's horribly hard to swallow, isn't it?

Although ... there's some good advice somewhere which says, 'forgetting the past ... ' and I find this helpful sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2012, 09:37 
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Thank you Julieanne, yes it is hard to swallow. I try to comfort myself with the thought that those sorts of people were never real friends to begin with but it's not always easy.


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2012, 13:36 
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I'm sorry too Rubygates. It is hard.

My Dad never allowed us to be immunised as a kid because he believe the diseases were more or less erradicated. I ended up with measles twice, mumps and chicken pox. The only immunisation I ever had as a kid was tetnus and rubella. My older sister never caught chicken pox and must have had a natural immunity as she survivevd my younger sister and I with it and 3 of her children having it.

And I agree it would have been good seeing the triplets and Joey face the potential of losing a sister/daughter

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2012, 16:43 
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Some of us do seem to have natural immunity. I caught measles, german measles and whooping cough as a child (no immunisation in those days!) but never caught mumps or chicken pox, even tho I slept with sister who had both. My daugher then got chicken pox later and still no sign in me, though I presume that teaching also gave me a great deal of immunity in adult life. On the other hand, catching TB as an adult was a bolt from the blue, :roll: so I suppose it's swings and roundabouts in the end. Some you win, some you lose.

Just to add, my daugher was never allowed to be vaccinated against measles etc as a baby as she is adopted and they couldn't take the risk she might have been allergic to albumin. Funnily enough, that was the one thing she never caught.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2012, 16:58 
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And childhood infections are currently in the news with an upsurge in measles, notably in the age group in which some didn't have the MMR vaccine. But then measles has apparently been so scarce of recent years that there is a now popular belief that it is trivial and doesn't matter!

MaryR wrote:
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Some of us do seem to have natural immunity.


Or at least resistance. I went to school during a number of epidemics (this was largely pre vaccinations) and appeared to catch none of them. While it's possible that I may have immunity to measles from my mother (who had it very badly as a child), I must have had at least sub-clinical chicken pox as a child to have had shingles as an adult - but unlike most cases that was at a minimal level too.


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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2012, 19:58 
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Noreen wrote:
And childhood infections are currently in the news with an upsurge in measles, notably in the age group in which some didn't have the MMR vaccine. But then measles has apparently been so scarce of recent years that there is a now popular belief that it is trivial and doesn't matter!

A dangerous belief! I have a cousin who contracted measles when he was a toddler, late '90s - it went to his lungs and he almost died, he had to have part of his lung removed in the end. It was years before he was fully fit again. Measles can be a killer.

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 Post subject: Re: Phil Maynard's polio
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2012, 20:27 
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Indeed, Llywela. And he was fortunate, really - I had an older colleague whose daughter had died of measles during WW2.


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