Today I have something important to tell you, my love. I beg you, though, please do not be frightened if the news is not so favorable. Alright. On Monday the 23rd of February 1942, I went again (for the second time) to the doctor because of my stomach problems and reported myself as sick.
Last Saturday, we went on a big march with our packs. As you know, my feet are just fine, so the exertion from the marching did not affect my legs. After we returned, we received two hours of bed rest, which was plenty of time to get rid of the tiredness in our feet. But it was worse with my stomach. The weight on my waistbelt put too much pressure on my stomach and caused me to have exceedingly bad pains that became so much worse after the march that I could not get out of bed after the allotted rest period. The pains continued unabated into Sunday. On Monday the doctor told me he believed it was a recurrence of my stomach ulcer and instructed me to go to the radiology center located in a military hospital about thirty kilometers from here. On Monday evening I was sent on my way and arrived at my destination around 10 pm. Since I hadn’t the slightest idea of where I was going, it took quite a toll on me to find the way. With the help of the remnants of the French from my school days I was able to ask around and finally reach my destination late in the night. Unfortunately it came out that their x-ray machine was not set up for stomach x-rays and that the relevant medical specialist wasn’t even there. So on Tuesday evening I traveled as ordered to a naval hospital even further away. On Tuesday evening around 11:30 I arrived there.
The accomodations in this naval hospital are really “French.” One can hardly believe that in a naval hospital situated in the largest wartime harbor in France, the sick rooms do not even have running water! The Germans will have to deal with that after the occupation. Today I was finally x-rayed by the doctor on duty and please do not be alarmed by the positive result: “Stomach ulcer on the inner stomach wall through the formation of a pea-sized hole.” So that’s how it looks now. Today I went back to my troop and tomorrow I’ll report to the doctor again. And that’s as much as I know.
For the first time, I am realizing the value of your proper cooking. It was right of you to evaluate your dishes according to vitamins, carbohydrates, starches and protein. The food here is very bad for sensitive stomachs. My darling little wife, please do not worry too much about me, things aren’t too bad. The damage has been determined and has to be remedied now. I’m guessing that the troop doctor will write me up as only capable of office duty and will send me to a hospital for recuperation. The treatment will take, by my estimation, at least four weeks. I will not allow myself to be operated on. I assume that the doctor will write to Brest tomorrow and that I will have to go there next Tuesday evening. On Wednesday namely the next sick train goes from here to Paris. I assume I will be on it. These are of course only assumptions, though. It’s possible that the doctor will arrange for my release from duty. This is, however, unlikely. You can inform my boss of this if you would like to and if you have the time. I personally will not write him about this. I’ll leave that to you. Until you receive more mail from me, I would ask you not to send any more letters to me here, since they will certainly not reach me. You do not need to be concerned, everything will get better.
I send you my love and many kisses, and to the children as well