The Field Hospital
I spent a not unpleasant week there. The patient in the next bed had a gaping shrapnel wound in his leg. The most seriously wounded were flown straight out to Japan or the Philippines.
They had female nurses who came round and massaged our backs every evening. Christmas Eve a medic produced a bottle of bourbon. I dislike bourbon and for that matter rye whiskey also. Christmas day John came round with a flask of brandy which helped. We also had a visit from Vietnamese school girls who gave each of their wounded allies a Vietnamese doll in the traditional Ao Dai. I didn't try to disillusion the young girl in front of me. All very sweet. Better than the woman from one of the agencies that provided succour to the wounded trying to give me some razor blades.
I always had a problem with my beard with Americans. They associated beards with hippies. This was the 1960,s. I with outdoor living. We had all worn them in the out islands in the Bahamas. The Royal Navy was not exactly hippy, although in the British army only pioneer sergeants could wear them.
We were covered by all sorts of medical insurance, Blue Cross, Blue Shield. etc. and still being young were not unduly worried about health. Anyway there was always a cold beer or a pipe of tobacco which cured most things. Being scared to death by real danger also helped. An American fellow I worked with had explained it to me when I arrived. When the mortars come in you're on the ground trying to dig a hole with your hands. In the morning you’re glad to be alive without a care in the world.