APRIL 4, 1942
NEW YORK, Friday—Yesterday afternoon I drove over to the Brooklyn Naval Hospital with Mrs. Allen Russell, whose husband is also a patient there at the present time. After a very few minutes with our son, Franklin, Jr., the head of the hospital, Captain Robertson, and Commander O'Connor came to take me through a few of the surgical wards.
There were a great many appendicitis cases and most of them seemed to be recovering comfortably. The boys from the Coast Guard Cutter Alexander Hamilton, who have spent weeks in a hospital in Iceland, after being so badly burned, were lined up and I shuddered at the thought of the pain they must have lived through. On the whole, in spite of the scars which I suppose are almost inevitable, the modern treatment of burns seems to make it possible for people to obtain full use of the injured parts with a minimum of disfigurement.
I again saw the young man who was hurt on our first destroyer that was hit off Iceland, and he seemed to be coming along very well. The boy next to him is facing a pretty serious handicap, too, but both are young and we have learned so much about the use of artificial limbs these days that I feel sure both of them are going to be able to lead useful and normal lives. The great majority of people will never even notice that they carry the mark of war constantly with them.
All the boys I saw are getting every possible care, but at best a hospital is a dreary place. If you feel well enough, you read or play cards, you may have a visitor but you rarely are able to enjoy much privacy: you share your visitors with the whole ward. Hospital food becomes monotonous and all the annoyances of being ill at home are intensified.
I never go through any hospital without wishing that Providence had endowed me with some gift which might be used to entertain groups of convalescents even for a few minutes, for it does not seem to be much of a contribution just to walk through aisles speaking a few words to the boys here and there.
I went back after making the rounds and spent a little more time with Franklin, Jr., and returned home to keep three or four appointments. In the evening, a meeting of the executive committee of the International Student Service was held at my house. The resignation of the general secretary of the International Student Service, Mr. Joseph Lash, who will soon be in the Army, was accepted with great regret and a real sense of loss to the organization.