Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hospice: A History


So you know that part in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the man goes through town shouting “Bring out your dead!” And then John Cleese brings out the guy who insists he's NOT dead? Seriously... it's good stuff. You should go watch it to get in the mood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh8mNjeuyV4

Turns out this scene isn't so far from accurate. During the Black Plague people not only threw their dead out... they were throwing out their dying... they didn't want to be exposed, couldn't take care... so they would take their sickly out in the streets and leave them with the dead to be picked up (and burned, I think)... ah yes... fact checking says buried at first, but as the bodies got to be too many for the living to handle, they began burning...

But what of those who could whimper, “I'm not dead”? Turns out THIS was the origins of hospice. Really and for true.

Kindly nuns decided these people who'd been cast out deserved comfort and care as they died and took them in to provide what they could. (probably NOT like the Castle Anthrax, though... dressing... undressing... knitting exciting underwear...)

I found this very cool... sad that people would turn people out, but when I think about how needy most people were at the time, and the very real risk of a sick person exposing the rest of the family... I guess I get that. But it makes the kindness of those women that much more heroic, too. I'm sure they knew the risk they were taking.

I ALSO though, love that Monty Python is a go-to source for historical accuracy. I mean really... isn't that a huge bonus?


11 comments:

Old Kitty said...

I love that "I'm not dead yet" clip! Sometimes you gotta laugh or you'll cry!

Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's a huge bonus!
And maybe it WAS like the Castle Anthrax...

Teresa Coltrin@Journaling Woman said...

Wisdom comes from the best (and sometimes odd) places.

I'll take laughing over crying anytime.

T

Jan Morrison said...

Ya! Monty Python as a source of information! Everything I know about the Spanish Inquisition I learned there. And let's not forget the British crime world - "Then we nailed his head to the floor." Think that was the Piranah Brothers. Or one of them. Yep, they are my go-to source of info too. That and Classic Comics of course.

Tina said...

But it's just a flesh wound! LOL. Love me some Monty Python.
I also love history, so I enjoyed this Tarty version of the origins of hospice. You go girl! You can make any topic fun.
http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/

D.V. Sheppard said...

Just knew I could count on Monty Python. Great post :)

Helena said...

Hurray for Monty Python and the nuns! And the "I'm not dead yet" scene is also in the Spamalot musical -- very funny.

anna Sonata said...

Nice article, thanks for sharing.

Anna @ rental mobil

Caryn Caldwell said...

Wow! That's really cool. I never knew that. I've long admired hospice, but I had no idea what its roots were.

Cherie Reich said...

Great clip! And although it's sad, I could see throwing someone out if they had a terrible contagious disease. Of course, if they get better, they can come back. :)

LTM said...

omg, that might be the most over-quoted movie in my house. Next to Three Amigos and Princess Bride. :D

But ugh, I'm so sorry you've been going through such a tough grieving period. ((huge hugs)) to you. Your aunt would appreciate your rememberence of her, and I know she's in a better place. <3 love you~