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Hazel

My name is Hazel, I was born mid-1945, and now am 78. I am the eldest of 6 children.


I have no memory of having had Pink Disease, only stories from my mother, who is deceased, so I have to rely on my memory of what Mum told me.

I was 9 months old when I contracted the disease, and was Ill for about 9 months.


About the time I contracted the disease, my Mum became pregnant with my 1st sister, so I imagine that it would not been very easy for her.


My hands and feet went pink, and I used to just lay in my cot all the time, I was so listless. I asked my aunt who is still living, of what she knew, and she says she remembers me being in hospital. Mum told me, I used to have to be fed raw liver sandwiches as part of my treatment. I was also having frequent injections, and I started screaming as soon as I saw anyone dressed in white.


One evening, my parents both salted the pea soup, and it was so salty that they couldn’t eat it, but I ate all of mine, and came back for more. That was the turning point of my recovery. 

At some point during my illness, my Mum gave birth to my sister, but with my being so ill all focus on me, my sister was neglected. It has been reported that an Aunty came to take my sister with her, to give Mum a break, when she arrived, she found the baby with a dirty nappy full of maggots.


Mum never did catch up, she went from a neat, clean, well-dressed teenager (she was 19 when she fell pregnant with me), to a frazzled lady who ran a rather dirty house. Washing piled up, floors weren’t swept and much more.  My Mum did the best she could under very trying conditions.


I developed a cough, and my parents had me to many doctors to get a diagnosis, I had many chest X-rays, but there were no answers. It was not until I was 18, that I was given the diagnosis that I had bronchiectasis.

At age 7, I had my tonsils and adenoids removed under general anaesthetic, under the smelly chloroform mask, I remember trying to fight the mask off, that was on my 7th birthday.


At age 10, I went into Pinjarra hospital and had several teeth removed under general anaesthetic.


When I was 17, I contracted hepatitis A, and spent 3 months in hospital, including my 18th birthday. It was during this stay in hospital that I finally got a diagnosis on my cough as being bronchiectasis.


I married when I was 24, but we couldn’t fall pregnant. We were fortunate to be able to adopt a wonderful son and daughter.
Our marriage lasted 26 years, then we divorced.


I have few teeth left.
 

I had my gallbladder removed in year 2000, after surgery, the surgeon advised me that he noticed that my liver is badly scarred, I believe this was caused by the hepatitis.


In 2018, I noticed that hearing was greatly impaired, tests confirmed that I am completely deaf in my right ear. Subsequent tests diagnosed an acoustic neuroma…a benign tumour in my head, which presses on the acoustic nerve. The hearing loss is permanent. My balance is affected, and I have numbness in my right cheek.

I have had radiotherapy to shrink the neuroma, with great success.


I have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and will now be on medication for that for the rest of my life.
 

I suffer side effects to many medications.
 

I have had more illness, and more time in hospital than my 5 siblings combined.
 

I recently had covid, more severely than any other member of my family.

 

I am beat deaf, which means that I have difficulty in clapping in time to music or chants, as a result, when I go line dancing I cannot hear when it is time to start dancing, and I have to follow others.
 

I am notorious for getting lost, I have a very poor sense of direction, thank goodness for google maps.


I also am a poor judge of distance/space. I have to stop my car and open my gate to leave my property, and it is quite often that I stop the car well away from the gate, and I rarely can park straight in a parking bay.

How many of my illnesses and setbacks are related to pink disease, I have no way of knowing, however, I consider it worthwhile mentioning, as others might identify with them.


My theory is that Pink Disease weakened my body, and caused me to be more susceptible to illness than others.
 

I am, however, grateful, I could have been born with a number of complaints much worse than sensitivity to mercury.

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