It sometimes pays to know a tap dancer

... told me I was bleeding badly...

… told me I was bleeding badly…

I was sitting here in front of my computer staring at a blank screen thinking about a time in my life where knowing somebody at the right place really made a difference in my life. I thought about my earlier life and my time with the railroad. I thought about my early schooling and came up with nothing. I thought about my time in the Army and again I nearly came up blank but suddenly it popped into my head. That time I had been wounded in battle in Korea and evacuated to a hospital in Taegu. I’d been treated first at the battle front where medic stopped me and told me I was bleeding badly and he applied some bandages to slow down the bleeding. He instructed me to go back to the aide station. From there I was examined and treated just a bit and instructed to go with another medic to a waiting train and I was evacuated by train. In Taegu a doctor examined me and did something but I know not what and told to get some rest and heal. I got up as instructed for meals, walking to the mess hall, and it became really difficult for me to walk I had such pain.

I had been laying on my cot wondering if I could make it to the mess hall when a medic came up to my bed and said, “Fettig, good to see you man. Remember me?” I looked and this guy looked familiar but I could not place him. “He stood by cot and did a shulfle with his feet.” and right then I recognized him as a dancer from the entertainment group I had played drums with on our ship coming overseas. We talked for a few seconds and he said, “How you doing?” I told him that I had a real problem with pain and could hardly walk any longer. He checked the chart and said, “It says you just have a few scochi (small) wounds on your butt and they are healing. They plan to ship you back to the front tomorrow.” I explailned to him that I thought my hemorrhoids had been torn up and he said, “I’ll have a doctor take a look at you.” Well the doctor took one look and told me to lie down on a liter face down and within a few minutes I was carried on board a plane and flown to Kobe, Japan for immediate surgery.

I remember praying with thanks that I was getting out of Korea alive. It was a bad time and many of my fellow G.I. came home in body bags. After nearly seven weeks in hospitals I was sent to Hokkaido, Japan where my outfit had been removed to from Korea. Talk about a friend in need. I remember how that dancer and I had rehearsed together with some special breaks in the music that enabled him to show off his wonderful talents just a bit better. That show went really well. And he remembered me and my name and he took the time to listen to me and get me the necessary attention and I could say that he probably saved my life. Those who were sent back on the line were in impossible fighting situations and our whole outfit was then declared “combat inefficient” from so many casualties. No matter what you are doing or where you go it never hurts to make new friends. You never know when one of them just might save your life.

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