Jan Croot shares her experience of life with a skin disease
- By: Jan Croot
It is 1958. I'm lying in bed, in the dark, in a four bed dormitory in an institution. The four of us are plotting in whispers about how we will capture Nurse Sharpe and chain her up and run away. To stop us scratching we are spreadeagled, tied with bandages at the wrists and ankles to the tubular steel of our bed frames. We are all 7 years old.
When my mum first brought me here, I was taken off to have a bath and told my mum would be waiting to say goodbye when I'd finished. I looked and looked afterwards but she had gone. They had sent her away on the pretext that emotional partings are not beneficial.
The particular building I am in is one of several on a large estate. Each building houses children with the same kind of illness, so there is an “asthma house,”