Monday, September 21, 1942
Newlywed or not, my father intended to join the Army and get sent overseas. But this early in the war, he was considered too old. So, he joined the Veterans Administration and began lobbying for a transfer — an effort that was ultimately successful, but I’m getting ahead of the story. Still, he felt very lucky to get a post in a Veterans Administration hospital near Chicago where he was one of 80 doctors caring for 1700 patients.
As he explained in an undated letter to my mother, this meant not only being at the hospital during the day but also taking his turn On Duty.
“Therefore, 2 doctors stay on duty 24 hours to cover the hospital from 4:30 to 8 AM and it goes in alphabetical order – that means that about every 40 days each one of us has to sleep here overnight and tonight is my turn – which is a good thing, because now I won’t have to be O.D. again until the end of September at least.
So far tonight I’ve been lucky – it’s 9 PM and I’ve had only 7 emergency admissions.. and only a few calls to see patients on wards – I hope the rest of the night is quiet so I can have plenty of time to think of you & us. It’s going to be wonderful – I mean us together – wait and see.
And what kind of flowers do you like so I can have some in the room – and chocolate – chocolate-covered cherries, of course, and, oh, a hundred things.
Just got a hurry-up call for a catheterization. You hurry up, too, dear.”
It was nearing the end of September when his On Duty turn would be come up again. Meanwhile, plans for the trip back East were growing urgent and complicated.