|I must have dozed off. Someone was holding my hand.
I opened my eyes and saw a big smile and a pair of deep blue eyes
looking at me. I said, "Hold my other hand. It hurts, too."
The pretty nurse said, "I'm not holding your hand; I'm taking
your pulse." She started to put me through the procedures that
all new patients go through. I must have been quite a sight to behold.
I hadn't shaved in several weeks and hadn't brushed my teeth in
quite a while. When I looked at my teeth in a mirror, they were
black! The nurse said I must check my valuables, so I emptied all
my pockets. I put everything in a pile beside me: my wallet with
its contents, K-rations, cigarettes, toilet paper, gum, can opener,
a leather thong I used to tie up my raincoat, a can of powdered
coffee, some dirty oily rags I had been using as handkerchiefs,
and a pair of binoculars I still had around my neck.
. . .
Naturally, I couldn't smell myself, but I imagine
the nurse could detect a distinctive barnyard aroma about me.
Nevertheless, she was an understanding American gal and didn't
make any comments. I was wearing a field jacket, fatigue shirt,
fatigue pants, OD (Olive Drab) pants, two OD shirts, two wool
undershirts, wool drawers, cotton shorts, and a cotton undershirt.
All of them, particularly my underclothes, were black as the night
and almost stiff enough to stand up by themselves. My cotton shorts
still had a hole in them where a piece of shrapnel had come through
them several weeks earlier. There was still dried blood on them.