CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/286
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date16 March 1919
Extent3 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence, to her relatives, regarding change in weather, which has been springlike; she is looking for a chance to limit her work to one hospital as she has little chance to rest with 24 patients; she has heard that Soeur St. Paulin had been wary of her having heard rumours of her character, probably connected with the Taillefer incident, but now thinks that her character and work are admirable; she has had no problems working alongside nuns, admiring their dedication and appreciating their tolerance of her religious views; she thinks less of priests; she is hoping now to work entirely at the 201, having proved her worth as a masseuse; the doctors take no interest in massage; she does not want to abandon the patients at the Hôpital Général, but will wait until they are ready to be evacuated, taking on no new ones there; 'There are curious and very interesting cases on wh. I am experimenting suggestion, and seeing good results very soon. Mahieu's right leg was pierced by a ball which evidently burned partially the sciatic nerve. The leg has shrivelled and the toes were crumpled. The latter are straightening nicely and even the ligaments of the big toe are yielding, but no individual movements were forthcoming. I told Mahieu to concentrate all his attention for five minutes at a time on his little toes and to imagine that he moved them, working the sound foot equally while thinking of his weak foot. Muscles relaxed and as I did walking movements in bed he gained more pushing power in his heel ... I saw the mind was busy sending messages down to the leg, for there were tiny nervous impulses responding to my vibrations'; she has also been working on letting him walk before she really feels he is ready, so as to build up his confidence; he is even more talkative now; 'of course it is a case of nerve weakness. No such cantrips could be allowed with muscles in the process of healing'; she is doing similar work on another man with nerve damage in the hip; 'another medical case has been given me - a withered leg as the result of the Spanish influenza. Previous rheumatism, wet feet while working in the fields, and subsequent wettings had predisposed the leg to such a condition'; case of an 'innocent', Louis, at the hospital who helps to clean instruments but talks of operations as if he were the surgeon, and has a particular weakness for decorations; description of him; the soldiers make up decorations for him and write citations; she is treating an Arab and a Madagascar boy at present, both good-humoured. [Letter breaks off without signature]
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