After my big foot hit the booby trap, Doc Hall bandaged me up and off I went by chopper with two other Marines that also were hit by shrapnel. I went to Dong Ha where I had my initial surgery on the wounds and by the end of the day; I was headed to Phu Bai via C-130. I had more surgery on the wounds and was put into a full leg cast with little openings for dressing changes. Here is how I described by wounds in my little medical book, “shrapnel in left lower thigh, shrapnel laceration of lateral malleous, shrapnel in middle of foot, thru and thru shrapnel wound near middle toe”. They estimated the grenade went off about two to three inches away from my ankle. It was not pleasant.
My little medical journal says that the next day was “uneventful, Pain bearable with slight drainage of wounds”. “Possibly will have dressing changed tomorrow”. After my surgery on the 13th is when we discovered that, I was allergic to pain medicine. I began taking many aspirin, which did not give me a problem. Changing dressings and debridement of wounds was not a pleasant experience without pain medicine. They gave me a large dose of Thorazine so I did not care what they were doing. It still hurt but I did not care.
In my little book, it states “as of 1200 hours 19 Oct. 67, I have received 26.4 million units of Pro-Pen and 11 grams of Streptomycin. Guess they were not taking and chances in my getting an infection. A lot of the skin was blasted off the top of my foot so the Doctor used something he was experimenting with for wound granulation. Sugar and Basitracin mixed and packed on top of the wound. This kept the wound moist and helped to reduce infection. This is a precursor to the modern day wet dressing. Alternatively, maybe it was a form of maggot therapy to get the maggots to eat the dead tissue. I was swatting flies that were constantly landing on my foot.
The healing process was slow and not progressing as fast as the medical staff had hoped. About the middle of November, I was flown down to
They shipped me off to Guam via the
I was on
When we rolled in the next morning, the Chief on Duty said I was late and AWOL. All the Marines in unison said, “We told him but he wouldn’t listen”. They all had big grins on their faces as they walked off leaving me there. I was scared for the next couple of days that I was going to get a Court Martial or something. I never heard anymore about that so I figured the Marines had taken care of everything. It is just as the bumper sticker says, “The Navy has Hospitalmen, Marines have Corpsmen”. Semper Fi.