1952 Urgent Request

Letter from a medical colleague to Rossie.

"6th July, 1952

My dear Rossie,

Could you send me at your earliest convenience or even earlier, a U shaped glass cannula of the type used for insertion into the radial artery at arrteriotomy, and with it the information about source of supply - or did we have them specially made or blown for us.  Don’t tell me you get them from Young’s!  I have just spent a particularly blasphemous day showing Mr. Calvert and the anaesthetist here how to do an arrteriotomy.  The result was a resounding success in that the pressure stayed at 80 throughout, the brain shrank away and pratically fell down the foramen magnum, and the angioma which was the subject of attack was removed with comparative ease, but what I could not tell you about the type of needles polythene tubes and cannula that should not be used would be not worth printing (not to mention unprintable).  Thanking you, as they say, in anticipation, because we have another very similar one to do shortly.

I haven’t a great deal of exciting news for you.  I have an even harder job here to get started at 0930 than I had with you.  After an immense amount of chivvying I got under way last Friday at 10 a.m. but half an hour later is about the usual mark.  However hey tell me that persistent dripping wears away a theatre sister, so I intend to drip.  My principal difficulty here is that when I get a mask on no one knows what the hell I am saying.  As I understand them equally well, mild confusion frequently results.  Even my pantomimic hand gestures are imperfectly understood.  Who, by the way makes the long angled forceps for the Chief.  I am struggling away meanwhile with a pair of things initially designed for packing ears and I don’t like it.

In general there is loads of work to be done here.  Compared with Edinburgh so far, more heads and less backs.  I like the people very much and life is pleasant if busy.

My regards to sister Yule and such of the girls and boys as may be left.  My special salutations to yourself.

                                Yours persistently,

I saw your hemispherectomy the other day.  He is improving.  Tell Mr. Gillingham I shall be reporting about him in due course."