Back again

August 11, 2010

Green Book 3

Two months after my father was discharged from Roberts Hospital he was admitted again due to a second bout of dysentery. This time, however, his stay was relatively short, from April 8 until April 21, though he would remain on a restricted diet until June.

Once again he recorded his condition and diet on a daily basis and included a number of notes on the causes and treatment of dysentery, as illustrated.

On his last day in hospital his diet was as follows.  As was often the case, the attention to detail blended the descriptive with the sarcastic.

21st April, 1943

Breakfast at 9 am

White rice

Brown rice

White rice and tomato stew

1/2 pint tea (no milk or sugar)


White rice boiled

Peanut rissole

Togay soup (no Togay)

No tea

Green Book 3, p.13

Roberts Hospital patient

August 10, 2010

My father worked in Roberts Hospital but was also a patient there on at least two occassions.  On November 9, 1942 he was admitted with fairly acute forms of pellagra, a vitamin deficiency disease, and tinea cruris, a skin fungal disease otherwise known in Singapore as ‘Dhobi Itch.’   He would remain in hospital for almost three months before being discharged on February 5, 1943.  During this time he kept an almost daily record of his condition, diet and medications.  Many of the entries are too personal to be quoted here but I have selected a few from the weeks leading up to and following his discharge.  A more extensive account of his Christmas Day, 1942 appears in an earlier post.

10th January

Acriflavine painted on – not on gauze.  There is no sign of Tinea or Diphtheria. Pulse remains around 64.

19th January

Marmite replaced by 1/2 pint rice polishings.  Can now walk several hundred yards with no effect on heart.

February 5

Released from hospital.  Still rather weak on legs but otherwise quite OK.  Head swims after standing for half an hour or so.

13th February

1 week’s special diet.  Weight 9st. 8lbs. without boots. Feeling well except for rheumatic or sprained feeling in ankle joints & in neck.  The ankle feels as though it would give way when bearing weight of body. Cannot walk without stooping.

6th March

1 week’s light duty.  Off special diets. Weight 10 st. 0lbs.

Book D, pp. 13-14