One hundred years ago today, April 5, 1918, Jay was discharged from the Columbus Barracks Post Hospital.
In his letter of April 2, he wrote, ‘My trouble was my lungs and cold.’ It is very likely that it was Spanish Influenza that sickened him. If so, it possibly saved his life. People who had contracted the flu in the first wave early in 1918 had become immune to the disease and escaped getting sick when the subsequent, much more deadly strain swept across the world later in the year.
If Jay had, in fact, contracted influenza, the ward he would have been in would probably have looked like this:
When the influenza returned in the fall, hospital flu wards were bigger and more crowded, sometimes the size of gymnasiums: