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Communiqué No. 25 by Paul Rowntree
sent from London during the first WW2 blitz
25 Mary’s Ward
Have been quite content the last two days to lie down all day and doze all the time. In fact it was rather complicated because the dozy periods were full of dreams and thoughts ( mostly of early life – Junior House etc) and also I would dream that there were nurses and other people in the room when there weren’t.
Not of course that that mattered at all but the doze world seemed at times as real and really conscious. Its rather pleasant in a way lying almost asleep with the brain freewheeling along most amusing paths that you wouldn’t stop and consider. I thought (what I’ve never thought before) that E.J.William’s odourless and yellow hair ointment which cost him a lot when he was in the J.H. was probably, olive oil. Also this rather feeble poem arrived in semi sleep.
Nursing Auxiliary - should be put in a pillory
Red Cross Nurse - far worse
But a nurse from Barts - Doesn’t mind the ffarts ( I don’t think she’d like Farts)
Thursday the headache went but the temperature remained and I wasn’t very energetic.
(Your letter has just arrived)
Friday the temp. went down and I looked better but all day I had “stomach pains”. I’d been three days without “going” and Thursday night had cascara. I think it was the cascara and the barium that were the cause of the trouble.
(Another pause for a bed pan blitz – they seem to expect us to have flat bottoms)
Things started Friday (yesterday) the first lot of coffee covered Barium – the last of several just the coffee cream.
I didn’t feel like eating but did try some marmite and a little jelly but it was nauseating and I later vomited it all.
So with the stomach pain relieved by shifting or sitting up and letting wind, it was a little depressing.
The rash came on yesterday. I have missed a sore throat and the glands aren’t tender.
They are all enlarged including the ones in the mesentery of the guts which might have counted for some of the stomach aches.
In spite of everything fitting in with a diagnosis of glandular fever the blood count (the proportion of white cells) isn’t typical but they are doing an other one.
Incidentally if it is G. F. I get a +ve Wasserman in ( I think) the 2nd and 3rd weeks. So that the diagnosis isn’t certain yet and I remain an interesting case.
Glandular Fever though fairly common is a short lived (though uncomfortable) disease which may recur rapidly (3-5 weeks) if convalescence is not respected. It’s rather vague and as no one knows what causes it and how long the incubation period it, it is difficult to pin it down.
It is thought to be due to some virus.
For exams it is a very useful disease to have because it there is no question on it - it can be discussed as a possible diagnosis to several symptoms or signs, pyrexia, sore throat, rash, enlargement of the lymph glands.
Needless to say Gwendoline has been spoiling me. Yesterday she arrived with ………..