Measles

I never remember my dreams, but last night, I woke up at 2.30am in a state of panic and fear. I’d had a nightmare, only this time, I remembered it vividly. I have no idea where it came from; I hadn’t been talking to anyone about my experience, and it wasn’t in my mind yesterday. I’m left wondering why I would remember this now. As I wrote this, I was shaking, recalling every detail as if it were yesterday. These are my memories of that time.

I remember when I was five.
and only very small
I got measles and constant nosebleeds
and had to go into hospital

It was called ‘The German Hospital’
It treated contagious infections
I was scared and wanted my teddy bear
At five, I needed affection

But it turned out to be a prison
and I was shut up all day in a cot
and when Mummy and Daddy left me there
I was only a little tot

Hardly anyone came to see me
I was in total isolation
Even the nurses who came every few hours
just gave me nasty medication

I couldn’t get out of the cot
though I’d stand there and call and cried
Surrounded by four solid walls
and trapped in there, inside

And I added my own tooth marks
to those that were there before
on the cot rail, in utter despair
hoping someone would walk through the door

Not another child did I see
the whole time I was in there
Mummy and Daddy didn’t visit much
and nobody seemed to care

Not even an ounce of kindness
did I get in that awful place
and I stood for  hours, rocking my cot
with tears streaming down my face.


50 thoughts on “Measles

  1. That sounds like a nightmare place. You are safe now. Maybe that’s why the memory came out. You can release it gently and let go. Breathe.

    1. It really was a terrifying place for a young child to be. I’m glad I managed to write this piece; it’s given me some relief. Yes, I will breathe. I am not there anymore. Thanks for your support as always.

      I was writing a reply to your post on triggers last night when my computer crashed and I lost it. I will rewrite it this afternoon and add it to your post. Xx 🌼💜

      1. Keep reminding yourself that you are safe now and that you are quietly re-engineering your life, your thoughts and feelings. This little mantra can be very powerful!

      2. Indeed,positive mantras are very powerful! Select a few which resonate with you to keep reminding yourself!

  2. While one could argue for a better bedside manor, the isolation was unfortunately necessary to prevent spread. But I can also understand the fear and feelings of abandon, not to mention the discomfort and pain. I am sorry you had to go through that.

    1. Thanks, Brian. I did feel frightened, very alone and abandoned. I had nothing to do and nothing to play with – just left alone for hours at an end. I don’t think hospitals would get away with that these days. Thanks for caring.

    1. Thank you so much, Scarlett. I think you are right. It was strange that it came out of the blue like that. It was upsetting at the time and I was a bit ‘wobbly’ writing it. How are you doing these days? I haven’t seen you on WP much for ages. Hugs coming back for you, too. Xx 💕

  3. Aww, a horrible experience. On top of it, what a horrible nightmare to wake up from. I’m glad writing this has given you some peace. I know for me writing out the experience would help keep it from haunting me in the future. Sending peaceful thoughts Ellie!

    1. Thanks, Brian. It was horrible and quite distressing at the time, although I’m okay now I’ve written this – like you, it helps me to process what’s in my mind when I write. Thank you for the peaceful thoughts – they’re much appreciated.

  4. I taught myself to watch my dreams as if sitting in a theatre watching a movie. If I don’t like the movie I can get up and leave. But lately I have been having more nightmares where I am on the screen, not sitting in the audience. Some are experiences from early in life, some seem to have no basis in my past but are just horror films.
    When I have them I can wake up literslly shaking, as I did in the dream I told you about with the seal hunt. The thing is, once I calm myself down, I know I am safe. None of these things can harm me. And some of the nightmares from my past can help me to understand some things that I do now that I did not know why I did them, or feelings I did not understand.
    I agree with Tamara and others, you are in a safer place now, where you can look back and see the things that you have forgotten ever happened. You are getting stronger every day. That is the main message. You are healing. It just so happens you have more things to heal from than you were allowing yourself to know. Your mind will not give you anything you are not strong enough to handle. Stay strong, Ellie! And tjough you may be alone inside your head, you atr not alone in the world. We are all there beside you, cheering for you.

    1. That’s a really interesting concept, J, being able to watch your dreams like being in a theatre. I wonder why that has changed to you now seeing yourself on the screen rather than in the audience. It must be frightening waking up from horror ‘films’, memories or experiences. I remember you talking about the seal hunt dream. That was terrifying. I think I would have reacted similarly had that been me. I never watch TV or cinema horror films – I can’t cope with their awfulness of them, even if they’re not real.

      When I had that dream about the hospital last night, I woke feeling frightened and somewhat shocked. I’d completely forgotten about that experience until I dreamt about it. I understand there is a message and that my mind and body felt able to cope with and process it now. I’m glad I could write about it this morning. Now that it is out in the open, so to speak, I don’t feel the fear anymore. Both you and Tamara always have such good advice, and that helps me to see what’s really occurring in my mind. I’m very grateful to both of you for your support and understanding.

      I am beginning to recognise that I am slowly healing, although I know I still have good and bad days, but then, don’t we all? I generally feel in a safer place now. I think my writing is changing gradually as I am changing, too 💜💕.

      1. 💜💙💜💙💜
        I don’t do horror films either. When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s what they called horror films were mostly disguised comedies. We lwughed through them they were so clearly not horror. But then came Jaws,The Exorcist, The Shining, etc, none of which I saw, and horror changed. In my mind there is enough horror in life, I don’t need to have anyone show me what goes on in their minds. But having said that, I did write a horror novel once, which I never intended to try to publish, because I needed to get something out of me. It worked, and Inever tri3d again.
        From the time I first came to your blog, which isn’t really that long ago, I have seen changes in you and your writing. Keep up the good work, Ellie.

      2. I don’t remember the horror films from the 50s or even the 60s, but I wasn’t born until 1957. I don’t think my parents had a TV, to begin with anyway. I totally agree with you – there is more than enough horror in this world without adding to it. I only remember one horror film I saw when I was with a boyfriend, later to become a husband and then divorced. I must have been about 16-17 then. My ex insisted that we went to see The Chainsaw Massacre, which was horrific and frightening. I hated it but he loved it. That was the only horror I’ve ever watched, and I don’t intend to watch anymore – not a single one. I can’t bear suspense either, so won’t watch any films that include that. I don’t really watch much TV at all these days. I spend much of my time writing in taking part in my new activities. Much more enjoyable. I’m glad your horror novel helped you to express what you needed to get out.

        Thank you for noticing the change in me lately. It’s not been that long, I know, but I think it’s long enough to have got to know me. I’m working hard to improve my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. I will keep at it. It helps enormously to have friends including all my blogging friends, who have been here for me throughout all my tough stuff as well as the more positive parts of my life. Thank you for being one of those special and appreciated people, J. X 💜💙💚💙💜

      3. My pleasure, Ellie. People helped me in the past. I have been paying it forward for over 50 years now. I learned that phrase from an old truck driver who gave me a ride, and I never fotgot it. So when you are ready, I hope you will pay it forward too. 🤎💛🤎💛🤎

      4. Thank you, J. We have that phrase over here now, too. I guess it came over from your part of the world. I think, here, we more often say, “one good turn deserves another.” I already do my best to pay it forward whenever I get the opportunity. I’m a great believer in that 😊. X 💜💛💚💛💜

      5. One good turn does deserve another, but that suggests the good coming back to the good-doer. To pay it forward does not require that someone need have done a good deed.
        Semantics, maybe, but I see it as expressing clarity. Peace. 😇

      6. Yes, you are quite right, J. I hadn’t thought of it like that. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ve had a people help me over my life, which is why I try to pay it forward when I can. 😊💜

  5. How traumatizing. That must have been awful. Different times back then. When Eli was in the hospital as a little guy, they added an extra bed and I stayed with him. I got sick as crap from living in a hospital for three days, but he didn’t feel abandoned. It’s interesting that you dreamed about that. I guess you’re not over the experience yet. I can usually figure out what triggered dreams, but not always. Sometimes they just materialize out of the dark.

    1. It was dreadfully traumatic, Jeff. It was very different back then. I’m not even sure when measles vaccinations were first given, but I don’t think I’d had it. I’m glad you were able to stay with Eli all the time. My son was in hospital for a relatively minor operation when he was 18 months. Although I wasn’t allowed to sleep next to him, the nursery doubled up as a sleeping area for any parents staying. It was communal. The nurses were good because they would wake us if our children became distressed. There was just a chair next to Tom’s bed.

      I have no idea what triggered that nightmare. Given that I’ve often said that I don’t dream (I know everyone does, but some don’t remember them), it was strange to be thrown back into the memories of that time. I found writing about it very cathartic, and I am feeling much better today. It must all be part of the healing process. Thanks for commenting, Jeff. It’s appreciated.

  6. Oh my goodness, what a heartbreaking nightmare. And what an experience. I’d like to think things have improved in hospitals, where adults are vulnerable let alone little children, who don’t even fully understand what’s happening. Was it measles that you had? I hope the feeling that nobody cared wasn’t true and that your parents did care, but maybe weren’t allowed to visit. I think our subconscious mind stores and feels things all the time that we’re not aware of, and sometimes the mind poking those memories pushes them into our dreams in an effort to get them out to be dealt with. I just don’t know how you’re supposed to “deal” with experiences like this and the feelings it created then and that will still linger with you now. I don’t know for my own experiences either how to “process” things.

    Sending lots of love and hoping you have a nightmare and dream-free weekend of blissful sleep! xx

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and understanding, Caz. I had a bad case of measles (I don’t there were vaccines for this back then) and I’d also had the added complication of having bad nosebleeds. I doubt very much that children or adults would be treated like that these days. People would be horrified. I do believe I had that nightmare for a reason. Perhaps, it was to enable me to begin to accept what happened at that time and start to heal from it. I found writing my poem very cathartic. I think it will linger for a while, but then, it will hopefully fade. Thank you very much for your much-appreciated love. I did have a good night’s sleep last night with no more nightmares. The odd thing was that I never remember my dreams. I’ve always said that I don’t dream, but I’ve been told everybody does even if we can’t remember them. Love to you, too. Hugs Xx 🌼💕

  7. As difficult as this was, I applaud you, for someplace in your unconscious be ready to allow some terrifying things to enter, so you can heal deeper. I’m sorry for those horrible first dreams and nightmares you experienced and that cot. That’s terrifying.

    1. Thank you so much, Cindy. I really do appreciate your kind words. It was a terrifying thing to go through as a small child. I’m sure hospitals wouldn’t treat little ones like that these days. I am 65 now, so this would have been 60 years ago. I didn’t have it in my mind until I had that nightmare the night before last. I don’t know what triggered it off. I’m glad I was able to write this poem as I found it cathartic to do. I’m feeling okay today, so I think I’m finally beginning to heal. It was kind of you to comment – that’s much appreciated. X 💕

  8. You have been given a great gift with this dream. You can now wrap arms of love around your inner child and tell her how sorry she is you went through that.. I very much relate to it and I am so glad you got to share it in a poem, as someone said you are now releasing it, you don’t need to distance from that inner child, just understand and love her..

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Deborah. I found writing this poem very cathartic and as you and others have said it was part of my healing and I am accepting that now. I do find it difficult to visualise my inner child, though, although I know she is there somewhere. I’m sorry, in a way that you can relate to my poem – it sounds like you’ve been in a dark place in your life, too, and I wish you well and am sending love. Xx 💕

  9. What a horrendous thing to do to a child. But that child is grownup now. She survived.
    “Barely,” I hear you say, Ellie.
    Stop! She survived! And that memory is not today even if it feels like it is: a little tough love. Don’t drink my meds, but this is what resulted after reading this incredibly 2-part piece: lovely words/horrid memory.
    Please be well, dear one. You are loved. Remember!

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Selma. Yes, it was an appalling thing to put a child through. Thank goodness hospitals don’t treat young children like that anymore, even if they are isolated because of an infectious disease. Yes, I survived, thank goodness. It was just a nightmare just before I wrote this, but I am fine today. Thank you for your love. I will remember your words. Thank you for them. Xx 💖🌼💖

  10. I was fortunate in that I only ever had a short stay in a hospital as a child and my parents came in regularly. I would imagine that your experience must have been deeply traumatic and I’m not surprised your subconscious revisits it sometimes.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mick. Having had such a vivid nightmare just before I wrote this, I’m hoping it won’t reoccur. I felt better for writing it. It was a very traumatic time, though.

      How are you? Hope you are well.

  11. “Not even an ounce of kindness
    did I get in that awful place
    and I stood for  hours, rocking my cot
    with tears streaming down my face.”

    Hello Ellie, I care for you. That must have been scary. I don’t usually get nightmares, and I don’t know when I do what I end up doing. Really. I rarely remember them. I have enjoyed reading some comments up this post. Interesting perspectives. Thank God we’re writers; we can write our dreams and experiences down and self-analyze them as children of our brain. Love and hug.

    PS: I got your sweet message. Slowly drafting a feedback. Thank you for your remarkable patience.

    1. Thank you so much, Thompson. It was terrifying when it happened and when I had the nightmare. Thankfully, having written about it here, the horror of it has faded a bit. Thank you for caring. Take your time replying – no worries – I’m not going anywhere. I agree; we have the advantage of being writers, to be able to express these things. I’m so very grateful to you and everyone here for all the wonderful and loving support and care that I’m shown when I write. It means the world to me. Love to you and hugs X 💜

    1. It was terrifying at the time and the memory of it in my nightmare was frightening, too. In a way, that’s been a positive thing as it’s allowed me to deal with my feelings by exploring them in my writing. Thank you for the sweet offer of a hug even if you got the measles from little Ellie (I wouldn’t want you to catch it, though 💕). Thank you for the thought, though. Much love to you Xx 💖

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