2

This is a continuation of:

Where I made a request for deciphering phrases on my Great Great Grandmothers case notes.

Case notes extract 3

Seems weaker. Brandy resumed last evening. Slept only 1 hour last night ??? Paraldehyde.

Still restless and noisy. Pleading for her life to be spared. Requires Paraldehyde nightly. Slept 10 hours last night after Paraldehyde ???.

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    That last one may be a specific medical abbreviation. I found something very similar on page 11 of a Report on the working of the Ranchi Indian Mental Hospital, Kanke, in Bihar and Orissa – sempaiscuba Aug 15 '19 at 9:36
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    the missing word is despite; the abbreviation is probably a measure (volume/mass/number) and a note on the application, e.g. "3 i V" could mean 3ml (or whatever measure) intravenously. O for orally, a for aspiration (gaseous) etc. You'll hopefully put the whole thing online if is transcribed fully? Together with pictures of the text and some context that would be very interesting. – loonquawl Aug 15 '19 at 10:14
  • @loonquawl At the moment I only have the digital images in my private Ancestry tree of the three pages. They make for interesting reading. I am not home yet and need to collate the answers provided so far and ask my additional queries. Everyone has been most helpful. – Andrew Truckle Aug 15 '19 at 11:29
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    Note forum.antiquebottles-glass.com/discussion/121/… for another interpretation of 3iV : 4 ounces in pharma-speak. – loonquawl Aug 15 '19 at 13:16
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    I suspect the last one is probably the abbreviation for a pharmacological dram, (1⁄8 of an apothecary's ounce), followed by an 'i' indicating the quantity 1 (i.e. "1 dram"), followed by another abbreviation (it seems unlikely that it's a 'v', since it doesn't match the form of the letter 'v' elsewhere in the extract), which may indicate the method of administration. – sempaiscuba Aug 16 '19 at 11:02
1

Seems weaker. Brandy resumed last evening. Slept only 1 hour last night despite Paraldehyde.

Still restless and noisy. Pleading for her life to be spared. Requires Paraldehyde nightly. Slept 10 hours last night after Paraldehyde ℨi (?).


The final 'word' looks to be the abbreviation for a pharmacological dram (), (1⁄8 of an apothecary's ounce), followed by an 'i' indicating the quantity 1 (i.e. "1 dram"), followed by another abbreviation.

It is possible that the last letter is a 'v', making the final word ℨiv, or "4 drams". However, this seems unlikely since the symbol doesn't match the form of the letter 'v' as it appears elsewhere in the extract. It is possible it may be a symbol to indicate the method of administration.


As the Wikipedia article notes, Paraldehyde

"... was regularly given at bedtime in psychiatric hospitals and geriatric wards up to the 1970s."

Although Paraldehyde could be (and still is) given per rectum as an enema, a dose of 1 dram seems much less than suggested doses I have found while searching (see, for example the 1938 Analytical Cyclopedia Practical Medicine). It seems more likely in this case that the medicine was administered orally, where a dose in the range ½ - 2 drams before bed seems to have been quite common.


If the last symbol does represent the method of administration, I suppose it is possible - with the eye of faith - to read

unknown symbol

as either as stylised version of "Po" to mean Per or (oral administration) or similarly as a stylised version of"Pr" Per rectum to mean a rectal enema. (Personally, I don't find either reading particularly convincing, but it's worth mentioning.)

In any event, I haven't been able to find that symbol listed in any (more-or-less) contemporary medical texts.


As a next step, I would check to see if the same symbol / letter appears elsewhere in the document, in which case the context might give you a clue as to its meaning.

  • Thanks. One think to bear in mind is that this document has notes from different nurses but in these instances they are the same person I think. I will look for other instance. If found should I attach to this question? – Andrew Truckle Aug 17 '19 at 5:40
  • Notice that at the end of the entry for Nov 15 there is also some text. This looks similar. See? I think the last letter is actually cut off due to the binding. But can you see it in the image? We have omitted it from our text. – Andrew Truckle Aug 17 '19 at 7:40
  • I dd see the Nov 15 entry. It appears to be in pretty much the same context as the Nov 19 entry, which does suggest that the symbol/letter is intentional, but doesn't actually get us any nearer its meaning. – sempaiscuba Aug 17 '19 at 9:56

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