Come With Me To Admissions.

That’s what the doctor, a USAF Captain, told the Sweaty Young Man after evaluating his lab work, revealing he had infectious hepatitis. He asked the doctor if he could run home and get a few things, with a resounding no being the answer, as he was now considered highly infectious to others.

Great, just great!

So many questions and the young doctor was very patient in answering them. The big question was, how long would he have to be here? The answer, as long as it takes for the lab results to show the various indicators are in the proper ranges, with bilirubin being one of the top indicators. Perhaps a month, maybe longer. The sweaty young man…he was not pleased. He went through the admissions process and was escorted to the fourth floor, to the end of the hall and into the Yellow Room, where he met his seven new roommates for the next month.

It all began the night before, while on duty as a Security Policeman. He was working the graveyard shift at Town Patrol, which was from 2a.m. until 10a.m., and he went on base to refuel his M-151 jeep-like vehicle and stop by the in-flight kitchen for some box-bennies. These were small, rectangular boxes which contained a sandwich, apple, milk carton and a few other little items that were available to all flight crews and those without access to a dining hall. While waiting for the boxed meals, the NCO working the counter in the brightly lit flourescent kitchen area looked at the sweaty young man and asked if he felt okay. He replied that he felt alright, but why would he ask? They didn’t know each other, this was the first time they had met. The NCO said, that the SYM looked kind of yellowish and he had seen this before with a friend that had hepatitis. The sweaty young man thanked him, but cast off the health alert, he felt alright, except for a few things. Then, later that morning, while on a domestic disturbance call, he was asked by his partner if he felt alright because he sure looked yellowish.

Okay, he thought, what’s going on here? What, he asked, do you mean? His partner said look in the mirror, now that the Sun is coming up, and you will see your skin is looking yellow and your eyes are kind of brownish. So he looked into the wall mirror and it was true. After they returned to the office, he informed everyone to stay away from him and that at the end of the shift he was going to the hospital to get checked out.

So there he was, lying in a hospital bed, in a room with a group of men of all ages, ranks, races and creeds. There was an older gentleman, he appeared to be nearly seventy years of age, but was informed he was actually in his forties and he had chronic hepatitis. He was a civilian contractor for the DoD and built highways and bridges in Vietnam, but he wouldn’t quit drinking and he had so many bouts with hepatitis that he clearly was on the path to an early end. He was a built-in case study as to why they should take better care of themselves, especially after watching them run a biopsy needle into his liver that appeared to be about six feet in length, but that might have been an embellishment on the part of the SYM.

He wanted to get home as soon as possible, so he asked advice and listened intently to anyone that could enlighten him on how to accomplish that goal. There was no medicine, they said, only time, as the liver needs to heal. Therefore, only two things would ameliorate his illness, plenty of good food and bed rest. The only problem was, nothing tasted right, which he had begun to notice a few days before he came to the hospital. Even his Kool cigarettes tasted nasty, now that he thought about it, which it didn’t matter anymore, as they couldn’t smoke in the hospital anyway. So he tried to eat, but he couldn’t eat much and the medics always made a note on his chart about how much he consumed and they drew blood each morning before 5a.m., which he thought very rude.

The first few days and he wasn’t doing very well, he felt worse, he couldn’t eat, his lab tests got worse and then he realized he hadn’t passed a stool in almost a week. No wonder he felt terrible! So he told a medic, who told the doctor, who told a nurse, who brought him a very cold tiny football and instructed him to insert this object into his exhaust pipe.

Really? Okay, then.

Not long after that, the tiny football had done it’s job and the sweaty young man felt much better, not the least being his state of mind, as he had never experienced anything like this. His appetite improved and soon he was making heavy, dark cirlces around the next days menu items, to indicate double portions. They brought he and his roomies three full meals each day and three high protein, high carbo snacks each day, and soon that wasn’t enough. He would request at least six large Baby Ruth candy bars each day and at night after the last snack had been delivered, he and his roomies would order buckets of chicken and pizza from the NCO club. He definitely had his appetite back, and then some. Everything tasted better, and yet…strangely, he still didn’t have a desire to smoke, even though he had only stopped because they tasted terrible and now his sense of taste had recovered, but he had no desire for them…how odd!

Now his days in the hospital were numbered, as his lab results showed steady improvement, but he had settled into a routine and he wasn’t ready to leave just yet. Besides the scheduled and unscheduled meals, they had their wheelchair balancing activities in the morning, where they would rock back on the big wheels and remain balanced there and roll that way, without using the little wheels in the front. If one did have to touch down with the front wheels, they were timed out for the day, as the others kept clocking time until there was one left standing. Sometimes these contests would have to be delayed by mutual agreement, as no one was going down and they all were waiting for the book mobile anyway.

Ah, the book mobile. The SYM was able to enjoy his desire to read without distraction now and he was reading, on average, three books of moderate size each day. In addition, his doctor was a huge sci-fi buff himself and brought him some of his personal collection to read. Once, he looked through a small stack of books his doctor had dropped off while he was asleep and one caught his eye. It was the classic “Stranger In A Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein and when he looked inside the front cover, it was a first edition. The sweaty young man felt a tear form at the corner of his eye and treated this book with the reverence it deserved, and out of respect for a man that would entrust him with it.

After about a month had passed he was informed he was cured and could return home, but would be on non-duty status for two weeks until he regained his strength. He had mixed feelings about leaving, as he had actually made the best of the situation and had gotten quite comfortable. He was looking forward to seeing his friends and colleagues, his apartment and motorcycle, and visiting some of his favorite restaurants and watering holes. As he packed up his few personal belongings, in the back of the bottom drawer, behind some candy bars and magazines, there was a nearly full pack of Kool cigarettes and his old Zippo. How strange to see them! He had actually forgotten all about them, but he popped them into his shirt pocket, as before. After catching the bus to the Main Gate he hopped into a jeepney, for the four mile ride to his compound and out of a reflexive motion, he lit up a stale Kool cigarette.

Why? He couldn’t give an answer, it was something he did….without thinking.

50 Responses

  1. 😉

  2. 😆
    Hey, bud.

  3. Heh. You coulda skipped the torture of stopping again completely, but I hear it builds character.

  4. I was at a seminar learning how to mix and apply a specialized epoxy coating and a Mexican gentleman there had golden skin and eyes (the whites of the eyes, that is). I wonder if he ever received treatment.

  5. Uhh…Swampie, #3, it was the subplot.
    /shakes headx3

    As for #4, when someone’s eyes develop that brown/yellow tinge, instead of white, it means somethings going on with their liver…could be an alcoholic.

  6. You got that right. The refreshments at the company-provided lunch were beer, garbage cans filled with ice and beer, the better to induce us to buy equipment. That golden gentleman was drinking all day and showed nary a sign.

    /I stuck with Diet Coke.

  7. #5 N2L, sorry, I had to pull your grouchy ol’ leg about the obvious.

  8. That sweaty young man be up late tonight.

  9. Yes…fitfully so. Not sleepy when I should be, and wakes up all sweaty when he does sleep.

  10. Sounds like manopause.

  11. Good stuff again N2L. the first post was of SYM in a hurry and impatient but in this you make tedium almost ,sound like fun.

    BTW I loved Phillip Hose-Farmer – almost forgotten now but cutting edge sci-fi at the time – especially his Riverworld trilogy. Did you ever read any of his?

  12. Hey vimto.
    I never read any of the River World series, but read something of his a number of years ago.
    I was a huge scifi buff in my early twenties, and thought Heinlein and Asimov were the greatest. Not trying to start any kind of controversy, I’ve heard all the arguments before, about who was the greatest and why, but for me it was the two I mentioned already.

  13. No problem with your choice. What did you think of I Robot film? I thought the first 2/3rds were gripping but it faded then. A ripping yarn for any genre.

  14. I have never seen it…don’t know why, work and family I guess.

  15. I wouldn’t have seen it but my daughter kind of thinks the star is cute. Anyway it ain’t great but a good bit of enterainment for 2 hours.

  16. Well, I need to get motivated, and get some things done today, eventhough I would rather go back to bed, and wake up with no memory of having ever smoked a cig.

  17. Sounds like a S.F. story if ever there was one.

  18. Henh…actually, the SYM running through the mysteriously lit tunnel, at LAX, was the scifi story.

  19. Mmm…I recal old vimto was disorientated at that point, (I seem to remember). But i always assume other people live in the real world and it’s me who lives in some other universe.

  20. Hey John…hate to tell you this at this late date….but I took good care of your 3 girlfirends while you were heal’in……
    Town Patrol 26 out……….

  21. Bob C. Are you the one they call “cur dog”?

  22. Wuh oh, does Miz Bob know about this?

    /Gathering blackmail material to supplement meager salary….

  23. So that’s what happened!
    /mustang sally…hah…better slow yo’…

  24. SANG it, N2L!

  25. That’s ol’granpabob, folks. He’s probably back to playing Call Of DutyII, and just wanted to drop a noogie on me.

  26. Ah yes, familiar with all of the buttons to push

  27. Oooh, that reminds me, the incubating grandchild is ‘nother boy.

  28. How long before the oven timer goes off, Swamps?

  29. Well, (grin), her birthday and lil’ bug stomper’s birthday are both in May, and the doc has asked her to go ahead and put her C-section on the schedule since this ‘un is shaping up to be a big boy, too. They may end up having the same birthday, just 3 years apart.

  30. So I guess a simple May was out of the question?

  31. Hey Nuke and Swampwoman…….I’m here and I’m talk’in……

  32. Hey, Bob C! Watch how many words you use because ol’ grouchy apparently has a limit on how many he wants to read.

  33. Man! Ya’all should’a seen these three little jewels……

  34. Trixie, Doxy, and who was the third one?

  35. Yeah…no extemporaneous stem-winders please, at least not in response to a simple question.

  36. Heh. Consider me flouncing back to work.

  37. Yeah, ol’Bob was the only one to come visit me while I was in the yellow room, and he even brought my radio/cassette player, and some cassettes. He did stay well back from me though. As I recall, he did bring ol’Sally to see me, and they both stayed back about 30ft.
    So Bob, did y’all take the scenic route back down to Field St., or did you go to Del Rosario compound first?

  38. I cant remember the third ones name but that was probly her least asset….I was most impressed by her training………

  39. So Bob, if you got any photos……

  40. Hey Bob.
    While you are here, refresh my memory on the date when you went CONUS. I was thinking about telling the tale of when I took a week’s leave to party with you, before you went home, and we did they three day bender, before you started hallucinating, and got all Quixotic and s**t.

  41. Actually, we did pass by Fields Avenue rather quickly on the way to Del Rosario Compound. Later that evening, we visited a club called the Madison….rather dehydrated I might add…….

  42. Henh…I’m the one with the pic’s. I just need to scan them, do a little cleanup with photoshop on them, before I can show them.
    You see, we worked Town Patrol. We not only knew all the club, hotel, and restaurant owners, and their staff’s, but we also had curfew passes, and had the run of the town. We knew when a certain club got a new employee, before nearly anyone else. It gave us an advantage over about 15,000 other would be Romeo’s.

  43. No2….that was quite a 3 day’r…about all I can remember is pushing all the balls off the pool table ’cause they were in the way….

  44. Hey nuke, I even have a pic of the woman that gave me hepatitis. It was a crime scene photo, and I even scrubbed good with phisoderm after we loaded her body on the gurney, but obviously not good enough.

  45. Hate it when that happens. Heh

  46. Sounds like SwampMan’s duty when he was in Germany patrolling the bars and brothels.

    /Is that a teenager’s dream job or what?

  47. I remember much more than that, but don’t want to ruin it. Don’t worry, I’ll make it safe enough so even your all grown-up boy, the Del Rosario water-bug will enjoy reading it.

  48. No2……was that the filipina maid that died in the john? Geez……how do I still remember that…..I can’t recall what I had for lunch..

  49. Hey, we were just a couple of good ol’boys, doing our jobs, and minding our own. We worked hard, and partied just as hard.
    We could be standing around, having a cup of coffee, swapping jokes, and in an instant be diving into a situation involving life or death, or an a**-whuppin’.

  50. Yeah, that was her. I still have a copy of the report, and the alert photographers prints. My partner on that incident, New___, was useless when we walked into the bedroom, and he saw his first dead body. I had to literally force him outside, and told him to just stand in the yard with the radio and communicate with the desk.
    Later that morning, after the paperwork was done, we went to the Shanghai to eat. New___ couldn’t eat and he was all bummed-out because of that poor womans death, and he chastised me for eating a big ol’slab of Lasagna. I told him it wasn’t me that got carried out. I’m okay, but that poor ol’girl, bless her heart, she’s dead. His lights came on when I explained it to him, and he became a pretty good cop.

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