Oral History

David Wood

David Wood - Two points in time

Interviewers:Mr. D. J. Wood

Interviewed: Mr. D. J. Wood

I have been interviewing and recording the facts about people's lives since 1984 and thought it was now about time I told you something about myself.

Ever Been Had

I did my National Service in Cyprus when I was eighteen nearly nineteen. I joined the army in the Leicestershire Regiment, the first 6 weeks was training at Glen Parva Barracks, and then a bit of leave, and off to Cyprus for the next two years. I did not take any local leave while out there; I saved it up so I could come home at Christmas. I had to pay the airfare but the army got me to Nicosia airport on an army lorry. The plane was just for army personal and their families. At that time the airport was only a small place. When I was about to board the plane, I noticed a young married pad [Soldier's wife] with a small baby and a carrier cot. She was having a hard time trying to carry everything a baby needs. So I offered to help carry the cot etc, while she carried the baby. The plane was not full so the cot was put across a seat and the baby put into it to sleep.

When we reached London, I offered to carry the cot, as I had only a small bag. We both moved to the Customs area to have our bags checked. I went up and put the cot by the wall and then went to have my bags check. Then I waited for the young mum to clear customs, and then I helped her to the Taxi Rank. The cot was put into the taxi and the baby was put in to it. The young mum turned to me and said “Thank you for all your help I don’t think I could have managed without it.” Then turned to say “Do you smoke” and I said “I did” she lifted the mattress by the babies feet and pulled out a 200 pack of cigarettes and gave them to me, with a thank you, she drove away in the taxi. My chin hit the floor, I could not believe it, the whole of the carrier cot bottom was filled with army issue cigarettes, the mattress was only about half inch thick, there must have been thousands of cigarettes and I had just brought them through Customs.

Oh my leg

I was walking across some damp grass to the car, when I slipped; on falling to the ground I broke my leg, both bones below my knee and bones in my ankle. The Accident happened whilst I was on Holiday at Old Cotmore Farm Caravan Park, Stokenham Devon on the 24th June 1994 at approximately 4 pm. An Ambulance was called, which took about 1½ hours to arrive, it had to come across the ferry, I was taken to Torbay Hospital A & E Unit when I was admitted to Warrington Ward with fractures to my left leg. At this point I was informed that an operation would be necessary and I would be in hospital for several days. I was told a pin & plate would be necessary to repair the fractures on Friday evening, on Saturday this was changed to manipulation under anaesthetic, which took place on Saturday afternoon, and I was returned to the ward with my leg in plaster from groin to toes. On Sunday morning I was told by the Houseman who did the manipulation that he had tried his best but was unable to get the bones in a satisfactory position, particularly the ankle and if I didn't want to be 'crippled' it would be necessary for another operation to pin & plate the leg. This could be done at Torbay or I could be transferred to a hospital near my home. I decided to be transferred home and he said transport arrangements could be made, and my wife would take car & caravan home, my wife came into hospital on Monday and checked Re: transport arrangements and was told it would be difficult to arrange this. The Consultant then told me that a pin and plate was not necessary and further manipulation in a few weeks' time would enable the bone to be placed correctly and I could be discharged, on Tuesday after seeing the Physio. I was discharged walking with a very heavy plaster, on elbow crutches. My wife transported me back to the caravan site in the back of our car, which was too small to rest my leg comfortably.

We then arranged for my son to collect me in his larger car and my wife drove the car and caravan home. I was in continual pain and had a very painful journey home. I had been told by the Torbay Hospital it was not urgent to make arrangements to go to the fracture clinic at Leicester Royal Infirmary as my bones needed to "get sticky" before another manipulation, and this could be done within the next 6 weeks. I was in so much pain and my plaster was so heavy I could not move without assistance and made an appointment to see my own Doctor the day after returning home. After seeing the X-rays he immediately sent me to Leicester Royal Infirmary fracture clinic where I was admitted to hospital. I was told I was in so much pain because the fracture was moving. The next day I had an operation to insert a "nail" pin & plate & a screw in my 3 fractures. This necessitated my kneecap being moved to one side to allow the insertion of the "nail". I was in hospital for 1 week, discharged home on crutches, and was non-weight bearing for approximately 12 weeks, remaining on crutches until 16 weeks after the operation then walking with 2 sticks, progressing to 1 stick. Leicester Royal Infirmary discharged me on 19th December 1994. I am still experiencing a lot of swelling to my ankle and lower leg especially towards the end of the day and my walking is limited. I have had 6 weeks Physio. The "nail" pin & plate can remain in place unless any infection or adverse re-action occurs, when they will be removed, hopefully never.