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Donald F. Rodawig Papers: Transcripts - MS 1048
September 3, 1943
Received a lot of back mail written between August 6 and August 14th including letters from Terry and Lydia Meehan from the tone of Terry's letter they have been terribly busy at the hospital and have been unable to get a nite nurse - this is quite unfortunate for now above all times it is next to impossible to get nurses - they are all in the army - Don't mention it but am surprised that some of them haven't joined the army for the salaries are much higher than we are paying - Imagine Phil is taking the course of least resistance and letting the nurses run the whole affair. Col Wells is back from his trip and he came over with a bottle of American Rye Whiskey the first that I have had since leaving the states. Enjoyed Don's letters and I do hope that he is behaving better and is assuming the responsibility that he should - I wouldn't give him so many privileges with the car if he hasn't been doing his part - What about a job for him during the school year - do you suppose that he could manage the farm next year? With a little help and advice from Dad? It would be a wonderful way for him to start to college with his own money - All My Love Dearest Roddy
9/6/43 52nd Station Hospital
We have entered a very interesting phase of surgical work dealing with war wounds, the early treatment of which is an early debridement (cutting away devitalized tissue) sulfanilamide not the application of plaster of paris casts to immobilize the part not making any attempt to close the skin [-----] and letting the wound graduate from the bottom up. - There is a period about two weeks after the injury when the skin edges can be closed and will save the soldier many weeks of hospitalization - This is known as secondary closure of wounds. to date this has not been tried but our results have been very encouraging and we are lucky to have a part in the early experimental work. Our fracture service is very active and I think I have seen possibly every type of fracture known and have had an opportunity to see various forms of treatment that has been tried in other hospitals - These are the things Dearest that keep my mind occupied during our separation and I am glad to have a part and to know that perhaps my services are worth while in a small way - I can see now that the last world war did make a lot of great American surgeons and that we will also contribute in many advancements in the field of medicine I will write soon about this.
All my Love,
52nd Station Hospital
at the corner of our hospital is an Arabian Mosque with a high wall around it but from an upper hospital window we can see what is going on inside - The mosque could not be moved when the hospital was built so it was constructed around it. It is a small building and at certain times of the day the Muslims come. face Mecca and pray. At this time the women unveil. A few days ago we saw a woman unveil pray and as she was leaving a man probably a representative of the church who collects alms, felt the womans breast, kissed it; and then left, so many strange customs that is hard to write about but will be able to describe in detail when I get home - This month is holy month and the Arabs do not touch food or drink from sun up until sun down and there are weird celebrations going on all day long. - the meaning of which I haven't determined. We have been truly busy again and in my letter yesterday tried to explain some what the nature of our work now - Yesterday was labor day and I suppose as usual the Park season officially closes, and the children will be at their school work again. Time certainly passes rapidly - I would like for you to write some of your plans for the winter - Love to you dearest. Roddy.
September 14, 1943
We are getting many changes in our organization. Capt ? our chaplain went with an evacuation Hospital being replaced by Lt McGonigle - Capt Fishman was sent to an Engineer outfit and being replaced by Capt Dec. and I think I told you that Lt Livins was transferred out and replaced by Capt W. Carney who is now Chief of the dental service in the place of Capt Feinstein. I believe it is the policy to replace men who have been in the field with younger men in fixed organizations - after all it is only fair some of them have not been in contact with medical problems for some time. We have had 2 rainy days and rather cold ones at that so we all are wondering about changing back to our woolen O.D.s Am wondering if you like any of the things I sent to you, they are probably quite valueless except as keep sakes. Would you like to have a hassock for a large foot rest - they seem to have many nice designs - give me the color you would like and I will get one for you. I am still haggling for the saddle - the price is $90.00 and it doesn't seem to be worth that much to me - Perhaps will get a better price and send it to you at Xmas All My Love Roddy
Sept 16, 1943
Haven't received any mail for several days and of course am anxiously awaiting some news from home for that is the only stimulus that seems to be of any value to me. I understand that Betty has written and asked for a separation from Graham and of course this has almost crushed the boy - don't mention this to any one. If I am not supposed to know - he is a captain now. I guess that I am stymied and no hope for getting promoted - should have remained in the states and I would have been sure to have got it - I am a little disappointed for your sake for from the outside it would appear that I haven't been a good officer but I assure you that I have been doing my best and have thought that my work is more important than the promotion but it seems that there will be no vacancies since they are being filled by men of higher grade regardless of their qualifications. Don't worry honey! The war will be over some day. With Love Roddy
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