"Let's go!" Susie was determined and pulled my blanket away, wanting to assist me getting up. "Can you stand up? How is your skull doing?!"
"A little dizzy, but I'm doing well." I had to hold myself to the supporting post of the tent to find my balance.
"I don't want to fall asleep and then wake up, tomorrow morning, comfortable at home in our beds and everything was just a dream. Come on, let's rush for adventures!"
No sooner said than done! We carefully slipped out of the tent after we made sure, that the whole camp was asleep. In the tent beside us, one or more candles were apparently flickering . So, was this Houlihan's tent?! Well, well, she had a nightly visitor?! In the building where the hospital was, the lights were on as well. Probably in post-OP.
It was not so easy to find one's way around in the dark. Finally we found orientation and soon discovered the famous signpost. Awestruck we stood in front of it. Susie insisted on touching the post, just to check if we were not dreaming.
"I'd really like to nail our 'Munich' on it," I fooled around.
"Are you nuts, not in the middle of the night. And by the way, what becomes of our alibi if you were to do it?!"
Now we noticed the tent directly behind the signpost. Oh wow, the legendary Swamp!!!
A horrible snoring came from inside the Swamp.
"That must be Winchester," I assumed.
"My Charles doesn't snore," Susan said angry. "Maybe it's your Hawkeye!"
"Sure, of course, it is Charley! They even have an episode where he does it!"
"Yeah, but your Hawkeye is a sleep-walker," Susie recalled an episode.
"Hey, do you know, who am I missing?" I said. "Have you seen Radar anywhere?!"
"That's right," Susie confirmed. "I haven't seen him roam around. Do you think he is still here, or is Klinger already the pen-pusher?!"
"I don't think so," I knew that when Klinger became company-clerk, he gave up his section 8 tries. "Come on, there is only one way to find out.....!"
"What! Now?! In the middle of the night?"
"Of course! Right now we can poke around undisturbed!" I was totally determined. "And maybe we'll be able to find out in Potter's office, just what they are planning to do with us. Do you remember where the entrance to Potter's office is?!"
We discovered the Bulletin Board and quickly thereafter found the entrance to the office. And finally also found Radar! He was peaceful asleep in his bed, hugging his teddy bear tight.
"Oh look!" Susie said enchanted. "He is so sweet!"
"Who, Radar or the bear?" I whispered with a warning finger to be more low voiced.
" Radar of course!" Susie was crazy about him. "He's so lovely when he snuggles his bear."
"Hey, control yourself !" Sure Radar was cute, asleep like a little child.
"Tomorrow morning at breakfast, I will try to become friends with him", Susie decided. "How was it now..... 'Ahhh, Bach'!"
"Come on, let's go", I urged before Radar was awakened by Susan's fit of enthusiasm.
By now, we had been one week in our "Fantasy-comedy". No signs so far that the alarm clock would ring anytime soon. Susie and I were enjoying our adventures in our favorite TV-series more and more. We settled down very well in the work routines and nobody directly asked us where we came from anymore, 'cause they were grateful for any helping hands.
We also got through our first proof of medical efficiency. A few days after our mysterious arrival, a lot of casualties came from the front. I was assigned to assist the nurses and went to work surprisingly calm. Susan was assigned to the medics and proved to be a good X-ray assistant.
I was about to make my grand entrance and I stepped Major Winchester mighty hard on his ego:
First a nurse and then Dr. Winchester had been trying several times to stick a needle into a patient, but on this seriously wounded person ,there was not a vein to be found. As Winchester, very ill-humored stuck the needle in for the fourth time, I joined in, in the ambitious hope of hitting a vein at the back of the hand. I wished I'd had the "equipment" of my time available. But at the first attempt the needle laid perfect. I sent the obviously hurt Major a forgiving smile, as the plasma dropped into the patient. Soon I got a nickname: "Master of the needle" and I thereafter had to start dozens of IV's.
Susan held some X-rays under Dr. Pierce's nose, while he, together with Winchester, was trying to save a solider with a severe head wound. The poor guy wouldn't make it into OR anymore, so they, in a sheer medieval way, burred a hole in his skull there in pre-OP.
"He would have bigger chances with a CT or a nuclear spin", Susie said low-voiced to me as I attached an intravenous to this very patient. Blood spattered on us from Pierce's and Winchester's operation.
"Thank God, there is no HIV or Hepatitis C here at this time", I muttered as I wiped the blood off my face. Susie wanted to clean up the blood spattered Hawkeye as well, when he looked up from his patient: "What are you both talking about?! What is a CT or a nuclear-what.....?! Is there a better way to save this poor kid?!"
Oh, he had heard it after all! Charles also drew his attention to us and cut in:
"Hepatitis C? I've never heard of such a version! What does these three letters mean?!"
Oh shit, this blunder again! These diseases will not appear before the eighties. Respectively, they will be discovered in the early nineties and these high-tech diagnostic possibilities we had mentioned in front of Pierce and Winchester, would first be worked out years later.
Lucky for us, all the surgeons had to scrub for OR, and saved us from the embarrassing situation.
I was also condemned into OR. Fortunately I had done my apprenticeship at an urology practice and for training I had also assisted at the operating table at smaller operations. Even though I wasn't a trained nurse, they needed any hands they could get.
So naturally, I was very nervous, when I, dressed in surgical scrubs, stepped into the busy OR. Houlihan right away commanded: "Lieutenant, you will assist Captain Pierce! Over there, please!"
My heart made a somersault and stepping to Pierce's operating table made me even more nervous.
I started sweating in the rubber gloves, specially as Pierce's incredible blue eyes looked provokingly over the edge of his surgical mask at me: "Be hold my eyes?! Isn't these the lovely eyes of my mysterious patient, who personally starts an IV so beautiful. Now show me, if you have the same skilled hands here........ later I'll show you my skilled hands in the linen room !"
My thoughts were only on the gaping and bloody abdominal wound in front of me and my hands filled with warm and clotted blood inside. I tried to breath normal through my mask and sent a fast and fervent prayer to heaven, that this wouldn't make me sick. I swallowed hard and muttered into my mask: "Good gracious! The biggest operation I've ever assisted at was an orchidectomy," hoping my mumble couldn't be heard!
Judging Hawkeye's dirty look, he must nevertheless have heard it and accepted the "show of balls", the excision of testicle, as my absolutely innocent challenge and for that he wooed me proverbial until Hot Lips loud and clear stopped his courtship.
Without getting sick, I got through my very first belly and was spellbound by Pierce's highly gifted hands, and it was definitely a great pleasure to assist him and it soon dawned to me, that I had never done anything else but to hold forceps, give clamps, dab and do suction.
For endless hours, like somnambulism, patients came and went off the stretchers under our hands. No human fate anymore, just mere flesh and blood, which had to be patched up quickly. How could anyone take this insanity day in and day out?! I'd lost every sense of time and somehow we got through it. Despite an enormous fatigue, I felt incredibly proud to have been a helping part in this "meatball surgery". In the course of my professional life, I've worked with some different, crazy and chaotic doctors, but today's experience was beyond all comparison to dreams and nightmares.
Exhausted and with stiff backs, we stood at the wash basins and peeled off our dirty surgical scrubs, as Hawkeye, for appreciation, patted my shoulders: "For just a little urology assistant, you are highly talented! You did very well! You are hereby hired!"
"Thank you," I smiled at him. "It's been a great honor to assist you!"
"May I invite you over for a drink in the Swamp later?"
I smiled even more at him. At last! Since my arrival, I had hoped for any occasion to see the legendary tent from inside. And on top of that to be invited by Hawkeye himself was definitely the best of all opportunities.
After a dreadful dinner, the door to the Swamp was gallant opened to me. Hawkeye first threw a lot of dirty laundry under his bed and prepared the sleeping-bag over his rumpled cot to be able to offer me a seat. The moment I entered the tent, I first noticed the still, standing on a little table between the two cots. I now became aware of BJ who was laying on his bed reading a letter.
"Wow, this is the legendary Swamp!" I said, almost devoutingly.
"Yeah, mythical and fabulous, in stereo and in Technicolor," Hawkeye promptly replied.
"Wow, I'm impressed. It's exactly like I always imagined it," I gushed. What a great moment!
Before I could have a look around in this den of vice, Pierce offered me a drink. BJ rose from his bed. He was a little taller than Hawkeye and had to stoop a little more to pass through the doorway. He wanted to check on a patient. I could have sworn, that there had just been a secret exchange of looks between them. What a sly dog! I wouldn't fall for Hawkeye Pierce!
First we chatted about my former job in urology and how I managed these "meatball-surgery" sessions, as Hawkeye suddenly recalled, after having poured me the third Martini, that a few days ago I was personally his patient. Now he wanted to examine me once more, 'cause he hadn't had time till now and he reached for his khaki medical bag with the red cross on it.
"I assure you, I'm okay! I am perfectly all right again". I tried to get rid of him. "If this has to be done, why not wait until tomorrow??"
But he had already taken the plugs of the stethoscope in his ears and fingered at my neck-line: "I just want to listen to your pump again. Got to make sure it's not beating so fast anymore."
That's unfair, I thought ironical, it would start beating fast again, if he continued in this manner.... The situation seemed to be coming off its hinges. Was it to blame on the alcohol, my exhaustion or was it simply the fact that he had now his soft and tender finger at my throat? I succumbed to his charm and gave up all resistance. I was no longer aware of the mess surrounding me.
"I'm worried about your pulse rate! I think we should prescribe the kiss of life treatment," I heard him mutter and instantly, I felt his tender lips on mine and his kiss overwhelmed me - one of those kinds, where you don't want to put up a fight......