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anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

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together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Marine and The Cure: by Frank Fox

Frank Fox

It doesn't hurt to include a little humor from the days during the Vietnam conflict.

I remember when we were stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corp Air Station in 1967-68, we had this Marine who wanted out of the Marine Corp -- and he most definitely didn't want to go to Vietnam.

He would go to the library, look through some medical books, and then show up at sick bay, trying to convince the Doc that he had some exotic malady.  Doc easily saw through it and showed him where he was just fine. 

One night when I was was on duty in the emergency room, I heard someone running up the sidewalk. A Marine came in the front door, sat down on the stairs to the clinic and he was gulping large breaths of air. I recognized him right away from the stories the other Corpsman had passed along.  

At first, he wouldn't answer any of my questions about what was wrong with him (this time). Then finally, he told me he had seen a ghost in the barracks squad bay the last two nights in a row. 

Well, I took him back to the emergency room, told him to relax and I would be right back.  I said we had a new drug just for that and I would get it for him. 

In Corpsman school, the nurses would watch to see if we were paying attention when we practiced giving each other shots in class. 

When it was necessary to reconstitute an injectable medication (some came in powder form), we were taught to use sterile saline, since sterile saline doesn't hurt when injected.  We were to inject the sterile saline into the powder, shake it, then we could inject the patient.  (This isn't done as often these days). 

Anyway, the fun-loving Nurses would mix vials of sterile saline in with vials of sterile water, just to see if we were paying attention and reading labels. Sterile saline doesn't hurt when injected, but sterile water will hurt like the blazes. 

So in class every now and again, you would hear someone holler, and the Nurse would admonish us all about not reading labels. 

So anyhow, I figured if I could make his visit uncomfortable enough, we would stop seeing him and his list of symptoms as often -- some of which were female-related, if you catch my drift.  (This was no rocket scientist).

I woke up the duty MD and told him what I wanted to do. He said, "But Frank, that will be painful."  I smiled and he caught on to me and said, "Don't make it too painful."  I told him I would give him 1/2 cc ... in each arm. 

So I went back to my Marine and told him this was a specific new drug for people who see ghosts. I gave him the first injection and he started to wiggle against the needle a bit. "Damn Doc, is it supposed to hurt like that?" 

I said, "Unfortunately, yes. Just rest a bit and then I will give you the other injection."  His eyes dilated in anticipation. 

Ten minutes later, I came back.  He said, "I think it's working, Doc." 

I said, "Okay, that's good.  But I still need to give you the other shot for good measure, you know, to lessen the likelihood of a recurrence." 

After the second injection, I had him rest a moment to let it all sink in.  Then I turned him loose, and said, "I think that will do it. Come back in, if it happens again." 

That was the end of his visits to our medical facility.  He was cured.

Frank Fox
Combat Medic
Sea/Air Rescue
US Navy with USMC
August 1964 – August 1970 (6 years 1 month)

More Articles by Frank Fox:

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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  1. Great story, Frank. It reminds me of an Air Med flight in Iowa I had one afternoon. A young high-schooler had 'passed out', no known eitiology, but the little ER called for the helicopter, so we launched. The flight RN quickly diagnosed the girl's 'Status-Fake-itis.' and took appropriate measures. He got out the biggest damn needle I ever saw, the thing looked like a knitting needle, and attached it to a hypodermic, then aimed it at our patient's right butt cheek...and she magically awoke. Amazing!

  2. When I went to boot camp on Aug 17, 1965, I was in Plt #361 at Parris Island, and Cpl Frank Kurtz was our Jr. drill instructor.

    Well after a week or so, there was this one recruit that kept wetting the bed at night. When Frank Kurtz discovered it, Frank was smart enough to see this recruit was just trying to get out of the Corps.

    Well this recruit's bunky was a green beret who left the army to join the marine corps. Let me tell you, he would have kicked the shit out of three men! This guy was a body builder.

    So Frank put him on the bottom bunk and told him loudly that if this recruit pisses at nite and it comes down on him, he was to kick the living shit out of him.

    Well guess what -- this recruit was "cured". Hahaha!
    Allen J. Folk

  3. Thank you both for your comments, I bet there are many more. That's why doctors surround themselves with talented assistants. They may not ethically be able to do it, but it is like referring the patient to a specialist.

    FB Fox Jr.


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