I was about 10 or 11 and we (Edwin and John) were playing up at the top of Links Street near to the High Street and a little bit before the Heyweights – there were a few houses that had little passages between the houses separating them. I remember that we were trying to climb up on top of the dividing walls (they had coping stones on the top of them).
I was quite chunky at that age and when I put my arms across the stone trying to pull myself up on top, I dislodged one of the coping stones which fell on top of me. The stones were quite heavy and I remember it took quite a bit of time for me to push it off.
When I tried to run from where the damaged wall was, I didn’t feel great – instead of being able to run, every time I put my right leg forward I sank down to the ground. It is obvious to me now that I had injured myself and that I should have had a consultation to see what the problem was. With hindsight I’m sure that that was the time when I developed a hernia – however, after a few weeks everything appeared to heal and I felt ok.
Not long after, whilst playing football on the links, I received a cut on my right shin, caused by a broken bottle that had been embedded in our football pitch. It was quite deep and visible and looking back it was quite a serious flesh wound.
A couple of days later I fainted at assembly in Primary School – the cut on my shin had turned sceptic and caused me to collapse. It was diagnosed that I had “blood poisoning” or “septicaemia”. When the doctor visited me at home, he found a lump in my groin confirming the cut had gone sceptic. During his visit he also found that I had a Hernia. Unfortunately for me, circumstances meant that for the next twelve years my hernia was not repaired.
I’m sure if my Dad had still been alive he would have looked after me and if need be, he would have taken me to the Hospital. We did ask old Uncle Johnny, who lived not far from us in Downie Place to take me, sadly just before I was to go to the hospital he passed away too. We couldn’t find anyone else to take me to my hospital appointments, so we just let it be!!
Over the next few years there were times when I’d wake up with my swollen hernia making my stomach sore and in turn me being grumpy. I’d often tell my mum what was wrong, but she would have none of it. She was a stickler for work and wouldn’t have any of what she would consider as my nonsense. I just had to go to work, no excuses. I had to squeeze my hernia/ stomach and eventually it would reduce. I don’t blame my Mum and maybe if my Dad had lived, things would’ve been different- lads and lassies spring to mind.