“Hey Doc they serious about giving me a bath in this mummy cast?” Boomer's voice had a peculiar quality to it. The total body cast acted like the body of the guitar and gave a hollow resonance to his speech. When Boomer spoke, it sounded like he was talking from the inside of an empty trashcan.
“Yeah, we'll figure it out. Actually, there are a couple of things we can do. First thing that comes to mind, if it's okay with the orthopod and the neurologist, is to drill a couple of holes at select places in your cast to let some air in. We can use those holes to blow in antiseptic powder followed by flushes of compressed air. I've seen it done at the facility we were in at Subic before we shipped out here.”
“Well it doesn't sound too painful. Look, I'm starting to get a lot of room in this cast. I weighed almost 280 pounds before my injuries. I know I'm losing weight and I'm really concerned about muscle wasting. I used to be an athlete you know Doc.”
“Football, wrestling and track. I was hoping for a football scholarship when Uncle Sam decided I should go to Vietnam and get my ass blown up.” Boomer didn't sound angry, just frustrated and impatient.
“You know Boomer, we really don't know what your true physical status is. The X-rays, the lack of pain, your intact bladder and bowels and your stable vital signs don't befit someone who should be in a total body cast. And I understand you were blown 50-feet in the air by an incoming mortar round or whatever the hell it was. Documentation of your case leaves a lot of questions unanswered.”
“I appreciate your being with me right from the start in my medical situation Doc.”
“Look Boomer as part of my job I have to ask you this. I won’t write anything in your chart. Were you into drugs like marijuana, narcotics or cocaine?”
“Jeez Doc, never. Most I ever did was get drunk a couple of times with some of the other guys, you know, on leave and parties and shit like that.”
“It's okay Boomer. Your drug screen test came out kosher. And don't call me Doc. That title is reserved for Dr. Norman and your other specialists who’ll begin to see you tomorrow. My name is Ike, remember?”
Kaplan walked back to the chart rack to review the other patients recently assigned to him by Sparrow. He still wondered about the look from LT Zettler’s face. He would have to check on her as well as LT. Sparrow. Kaplan looked forward to meeting Agent Adam Stokely. He had to identify Agents already in place at Queens Naval Hospital and move as fast as he could to become part of the team. Working alone in Vietnam and within the medical corps network for almost a year demanded a return to working with others he could trust.
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