I've just been glancing through Dr. Macklin's journal and came across this thought-provoking entry written on August 2, 1916...
"It is hard to realize one's position her, living in a smoky, dirty, ramshackle little hut with only just sufficient room to cram us all in: drinking out of a common pot with people suffering from dental caries, etc., and living in close proximity to a man with a large discharging abscess - a horrible existence, but yet, we are pretty happy and our hut is a mansion to us, being our only shelter from the inclement weather on Elephant Island."
Dr. Macklin and the rest of the group are in an almost-hopeless situation. As far as they know, Shackleton is long overdue to rescue them. They have no idea that Shackleton made it to a whaling station in South Georgia and has made three attempts, so far, to rescue them. Despite all that, and their wretched surroundings, according to Dr. Macklin, they're "pretty happy." That comment is a remarkable testament to Shackleton and second-in-command Frank Wild's extraordinary leadership.
In this entry, Dr. Macklin refers to navigating officer Hubert Hudson's "abscess." As they left the ice in early April, a tent pole had fallen on Hudson and eventually became a 'football size abscess' on Hudson's hip.