I am also a former patient of the Cresson State TB Sanatorium,
"Class of 1949/1951." It was an experience that changed me forever in many ways.
I was 21yrs old in December 1949 when I contracted pneumonia complicated by Empyema and was being treated in the Altoona,
Pa. Hospital. When I was at the Altoona Hospital I threw that one and only positive TB test. I was transferred from the hospital to Cresson San. There were two of us in the sanatorium at that time
that had Empyema, an older gentleman who later died and me.
Empyema is a collection of pus in the space between the lung and the inside of the chest wall (pleural space). It is caused by an infection that spreads from the lung, which leads to a buildup
of pus in the pleural space. There can be a pint or more of infected fluid, which
puts pressure on the lungs. Symptoms include chest pain, dry cough, excessive
sweating, fever, shortness of breath and weight loss, similar to symptoms of TB. The
treatment is to cure the infection and remove the collection of pus from the lung, usually by putting a chest tube in place
to completely drain the pus.)
A Dr. Borland took an interest in my case. Being aspirated (removal by suction of fluid in the lungs) 16 times, every time passing out, it was decided
that a tube would be entered in my chest walls to allow a continuous drainage and medical treatment. I carried this tube,
attached to a water bottle when in bed, for 6 months. Finally the treatments
by Dr. Borland were successful. After being
in the sanatorium for 18 month, drinking gallons of milk, days of bed rest, and always praying, I was discharged and regained
my full health.
There were friends and professionals that I will never
forget. Dr. Borland, a nurse, Ruth Waite, who was everybody's Sweetheart, and
patient friends, Frank Bedois, I believe from Windber, Pa and especially "Jonsey" who entertained the entire ward.
Chuck, your website brought back many memories both
good and bad. They say "War is Hell," but so is TB. I am now 82 years old, my wife and I are both retired bankers. We
live in Sebring, Fla. Your idea of a reunion is great and we would look
forward to attending and helping in any way we can. Keep It going.