I had not been long in my new and comfortable surroundings when the Doctor returned. He spoke to his assistants who accompanied him, the bedclothes were turned up from the bottom of the bed and someone held my leg firmly. The Doctor spoke to me, but he having no English and I no Spanish, we could not communicate. I think he was trying to tell me that he must do something to my leg. I felt the stitches go in and before stitching, the wound being washed. Eventually the wound was bandaged and I could relax.
Gaspar, an English speaking steward pointed to the head of the bed, "There is a bell-push, if you need me, ring." Gaspar had volunteered to stay awake all night to look after those of us who had been picked up.
It was soon after the Doctor had gone that I dozed off and the reaction set in. I think that the comfort of the hour released the fears of the days that had gone before. Every relaxation that closed my eyes, awoke my mind and I fought back to consciousness. In the days that had passed, to sleep too long was to die. How often in the night I woke and rang for Gaspar I do not know. The night was as other nights, a thing to drag oneself through.
With the new day came another visit from the Doctor, I was still only allowed small sips of water, on his instructions. I think I was slowly recovering a little strength for I was able to look about me a little more.
I could not sit up, it was agony to move and so I just lay there and during this time I had a visitor, a lady of some apparent authority; I later learned that she was a French Countess. She wanted a coin as a souvenir; I was unable to help her on that score.
The Doctor's staff brought me my jacket and from the pocket drew my wallet, he laid upon the bed the photos which were now salt stained around the edges. There was one of Vera, "Sus Myer," (your woman), "Yes, that was my wife." How long had I been married? "Not long, about three months." "Aiee-ee," the ejaculation of Spanish sorrow for the young wife.
Then she turned to the photograph of my father in boxing kit, "Who was this?" "My father," "Sus Padre, El boxeo, una champien," and then she saw one of me as a gymnast, "Ah el gymnastica, mye fuerte!!"
The entry of the Doctor scattered the visitors like chaff, I was to be allowed rest and quiet. The Doctor was right, I felt exhausted after my attempts to keep pace with their bright questions.
I was later visited by the stewardess who was by me when the Britannia was shelled. She made a fuss of me, saying that I had helped her aboard the Britannia when I had advised her to stay down when we were under fire.
It was an eventful and tiring first day aboard the Cabo, I was to pay the price of my mental activity in the nights that followed.
Information later gave me to understand that the Cabo was fourteen days out from Tenerife. I did not count these days, the first day had a certain clarity but the following days were filled with sleep and delirium. My temperature rose and with it came a return to the raft. I remember waking at times to turn bewildered eyes around the cabin and wonder at the change in the raft.
In these days I can remember no pain from the leg, it was no part of me and I was grateful. I was not to know until later that gangrene had set in; I think that subconsciously I had already accepted the fact that the leg was forfeit. I wanted only to give the rest of myself some peace and God only knows what I would have given for one long restful night.
I remember waking once in the dim lit cabin to find the Doctor, Gaspar and a stewardess at my bedside. Had I cried out or had Gaspar, worried at my appearance, called the Doctor? I was beyond caring; I fell off into oblivion to awake again later and see Gaspar by the side of my bed, nodding off in the chair.
How long the time of being but half myself lasted I do not know, I remember odd times when the Doctor gave me an injection and a blur of mixed minor events.
The day the Cabo drew near to Tenerife was the day I came nearer to normality. This day too had its milestone, I was allowed to suck an orange, but Gaspar, ever vigilant, on Doctor's orders, would not allow me to bite the fruit. Apparently to eat, even now, was a danger to me.
When the Doctor came in he had me propped up a little on pillows, this was indeed an improvement. I asked for a handkerchief and the Doctor wanted to know what I required. On my request being granted, I blew my nose which felt stuffy. I regretted the action, the handkerchief filled with blood and I could feel the warm trickle down my chin and on to the bedclothes. The Doctor immediately applied ice to the bridge of my nose, cool cloths were placed at the nape of my neck and I was laid flat on the bed again. I was kept quiet for the next few hours. The Doctor's concern over my nosebleed was flattering but also worrying, luckily the incident ended well; there was no repetition of a similar nature.
It seemed but soon after this event that there was a stir and bustle along the ship's passageways, eventually into the cabin came a party of brown-uniformed men. I realised that they were Spanish Army stretcher bearers. I was loaded on to a stretcher and carried along the companionways, to end up among a row of stretchers on the quayside. I lay there, wondering what next, when suddenly the canopy which covered the stretcher was lifted, a girl's voice asked me in English, "Are you alright?" I was so surprised that I hesitated to reply. The canopy was lowered and not long after we were aboard ambulances and winding our way along a devious route to somewhere.