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Margaret Rushton

After being injured in a car accident in the mid-1980s Margaret Rushton was examined by a local consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who referred her to the Pump Rooms for treatment.

I’d been in a car accident – not a bad one – but eventually I started to have trouble with my hip, with my right side that had taken the impact of the crash. My right hip and knee and ankle, but most of all my shoulder. And because I was a teacher I’d got to the point where – that was really what drove me to go to the doctor’s because I got to a point where I couldn’t raise my arm to write on the board. I saw...Michael Tansey [consultant orthopaedic surgeon] who very swiftly dispatched me to the Pump Rooms. Slightly scary experience in that he pulled my arm up and down and then the supreme medical test, he undid, he curled his lapel forward and took out of the back of it a very long pin, about an inch and three-quarters, two inches long and said, ‘This won’t hurt’ and he poked it at various points on my arm and my shoulder, ‘Mm’ he said, ‘you need some physiotherapy’.

I went once a week for a long time, probably for six or eight weeks. The interesting things was, you know, went along and met Miss Golland [Anne Golland, superintendent physiotherapist] for the first time and we had a little discussion and so on in one of those dark marble rooms and she said for your first appointment I want you to bring your husband with you and I will show him how to manipulate your shoulder so that in between treatments if you needed to, if it became very painful, he would know, but he’ll have to have a lesson on the skeleton first. And she had a skeleton dangling from a frame. And so the next time I went, Jim went with me and he had a biology lesson and was then instructed how to manipulate my shoulder to get it in the right position to enable me to lift my arm properly.

So what sort of treatments were you given down there?

Well I had some heat treatment. A lot of it was just TLC, you know, used to sort of go in between assembly and playtime at school, or lunchtime or something. She was very good about that, fitting me at a time when it wouldn’t cut across lessons, which was a great help because obviously, you know, there would have had to have been cover at school and that could have made it difficult. But no, it was lovely and warm and it was always warm and pleasant. Slightly sort of steamy, you know, you could hear sort of things whirring around and there was, it had sort of a moist atmosphere, but I suppose that must have been from the heat of the hydrotherapy pools, really. But you know, it was all in little cubicles and I can remember walking round one of the hydrotherapy pools. It seemed quite small and it had a ramp that went down and there were often people on sort of adapted wheelchairs being wheeled into the water and then the people who worked with them in their black costumes, their black bathing costumes...– the treatment was mostly manipulation and Miss Golland, just by rotating my ankle and my knee and my hip diagnosed incipient arthritis. She turned out to be absolutely right.

Was Miss Golland the only person who treated you?

Yes. Yes, I just used to see her. She did once call in a colleague to hold my shoulders down while she pulled my leg, you know, traction style. I remember her saying, ‘Could you come and hold my patient down’ and I did wonder what was going to happen at that point. But no, I really enjoyed going there. Not just because it was a very comfortable experience, it was the whole thing, it was the whole package.

And also, each time that I saw Miss Golland she gave me some, she would do some manipulation and then she would tell me a little exercise to do before the next time to back up what she’d been doing. Because her plan was to correct what was wrong, but to rebuild the muscle to ensure that it continued to work effectively.

And was the treatment effective?

Yes, absolutely. I mean not miraculously, not instantaneously, but over a period, yes, it did what it said on the tin, basically. Miss Golland explained to me that it would take time to rebuild the muscles and to straighten me out, as it were. But yeah, I didn’t have to go back and although I have got arthritis in this shoulder and it can be painful, but I’ve got total movement in it back.