CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/284
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date2 March 1919
Extent3 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence, to her relatives, regarding being alone in the annexe as the nun has gone out and she has seen the exit of the last infirmiers and Anamites from the garret; the Anamites were sent from the Seminaire to replace the demobilised infirmiers, but have been a problem because of their dishonesty and laziness; manoeuvres to obtain the place at the Hôpital Général, with recommendations from Dr. Rigal, successor to Dr. Mollin; the decision now comes before the Commission, in a few days' time; officially they are to move from the annexe to the 201 with all their equipment, but she does not wish to move twice and the annexe must be staffed until everything is gone; there is no rush, as Mme. Clerc, the president, has influenza; she has one or two massage cases at the 201 and is glad to maintain contact there; it is run by Soeur St. Paulin who rules with a rod of iron and a system of favouritism based on attendance at Mass and subservience to her; her habit involves long silk loops which Amelia wishes to snip off; method of getting one's own way in the face of her rule; she is treating Masset who has a wound about 12 inches long which refused to heal until massaged; 'he told me how some of the doctors at the front mourned over the lack of masseuses to hasten their cases and rid the wounds of suppuration. They do not exist in France in sufficient numbers or proficiency'; she hopes to stay on as she can see already what the aftermath of all the suffering will be; case of a negro with four immense wounds in his hip and a long drainage tube passed through it; 'at present I have men who have life in them, but that's about all'; one of them, Streff, is 'pleased to feel the stagnant blood beginning to circulate'; she is at first practising indirect massage, working on trunk and limbs to allow them to take the strain after hips have been removed; Dr. Molin seems to have been a very good surgeon; the patients miss him; 'He was the chief surgeon of the hospitals at Lyon before the war and has gone back as a civilian to his former post. It is a mistake to liberate these doctors, for accidents are constantly occurring at the front'; trains of wounded continue to arrive, and one is expected from Strasbourg where many were injured in 'a revolution which took place there when the German marines were called in to quell the riots at the time of the armistice'; 'the lines of trenches are creating a toll of dead and wounded amongst those who have to work there. Grenades and shells burst when disturbed'; the Hôpital Général may keep its military section open for another year; she is pleased to have the opportunity to stay on and learn so much; Miss Bennett had hoped for the visit of a friend from England but passport restrictions have not yet been relaxed, so it seems unlikely that she and Aunt and Uncle would be able to go home yet, anyway, unless Uncle goes to the Assembly; if they can come to France for the summer, they could travel via Genoa to Marseilles, then to Valence; many refugees will have gone north by then and apartment prices will be lower; dates have already gone down in price; daylight saving time has begun; she is taking the day off apart from two blood poisoning cases; daily routine now between the three hospitals; to all intents and purposes the annexe is closed, and she is looking forward to finding pleasant accommodation at the Hôpital Général, as the whole surgical section overlooks the Rhône, Crussol, and the Ardèche; Dr. Rigal seems pleasant so far; she has heard that in large centres there are masseuses officially attached to the Faculty of Medicine; the state is likely to keep some special hospitals open for five years for 'old wounds, fistulas and such like' to be given free treatment; some military pensions are temporary, depending on this treatment; 'in the case of lesions of the nerves two years may be counted on before they become fairly normal'; visit and letter from Martin; meeting with Dispan, a patient from Chambéry. [Letter breaks off without signature]
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