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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 93 / 185

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Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice

87

treatment, or to “chase cure” as it was called. Chasing cure consisted of rest, fresh air,

good food, and fighting the impulse to cough. Sapergia spoke of how odd such a

treatment seems in 2005:

Before they had antibiotics, your attitude was considered to be critical if you wanted to get cured, so you had to “chase cure.” This meant you had to follow all the directions--eat the six meals a day, drink the cups of cream and eat the huge lumps of butter they were forcing down you, and do it cheerfully, and freeze at night. Now that effective drugs exist, this rather moralistic view seems strange and archaic. (interview)

At the time Old Crocks is set, if “chasing cure” wasn't enough, surgeons would employ

various methods of collapsing an infected lung in hopes it would stop the spread of the

disease.67

Within Old Crocks there are many layers of isolation. Medically, Fort San was

a hospital isolation camp where infected individuals were sent to prevent spreading

tuberculosis. Geographically, Fort San was away from major centres of population,

nestled into the Qu'Appelle Valley approximately 100 kilometres from Regina. This

isolation bred self-sufficiency. “The Fort” had its own radio station, patient newspaper,

bandstand, staff curling rink, dairy, gardens, and power-plant. Old Crocks character

Nurse Rainbow comments on the unusual bounty the sanatorium enjoys, especially

considering the rest of the province is still in the grip of the Great Depression.

Economically, this surplus in the midst of famine adds to the sense of isolation already

surrounding the Fort San of Old Crocks. Socially, Fort San was a place of sickness and

therefore shunned by those who didn't have to be near it, for work, treatment, or to visit

family. Later “Sans” in Canada would be built closer to population centres in an effort

67 For more on-line history of Fort San and the treatment of TB in Canada, one can go to www.lung.ca/tb/tbhistory

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