I didn’t know time and space afterward, drifting from one memory into the next. I felt like I was back in Bloomington most of the time, sleeping over Henry and Lorraine’s again with Janie or sometimes Molly cuddling next to me when either had a nightmare. In another dream, I was with my mother, knitting in the sitting room with her, warming ourselves before the stove and talking about Church. Then, I was in bed – my bed in the corner of the bedroom – and Clarence came in, pulling me from my fetal position and telling me to prepare for another night with him. A little while later, I was at Henry and Lorraine’s front door in the early morning hours, bleeding, screaming and begging God to make the pain stop.
I might have screamed out loud, but I could not tell if I did it in reality or not, in a dream or not. It only seemed like I was viewing my whole life before my eyes, but the nightmares of it took a liking to haunting me. It came back when I thought I had conquered the demons. But, I knew the demons were still there and coming back and forth to capture my spirit, breaking me down before the war continued to do anything else. They were just the shadows.
I soon came back to, seeing how blurry my vision was. It took a few moments to clear it, making me realize, soon enough, that I was still in the extra tent, on tent arrest, and was shivering on a cold ground, even with clothes on, bloody and ripped-up as they were in some spots.
Hawkeye had left me in a cold tent alone and went out for help, or to see if he could get some, if I remembered right. I didn’t think it would work really, when I thought about it. I didn’t have too much hope left, especially when he came back a few minutes after I woke up (without knowing how much time I had been seeing my past), empty-handed and worried still. It was minutes before he came back, for sure, but it seemed like forever to me.
“I wasn’t allowed two feet out and was arguing with the M.P. for hours while everybody else is in surgery,” he explained to me when I tried getting up again, my face showing him how curious I was about how things went.
“I didn’t hear anything,” I wheezed, trying to breathe again as I laid back down, shivering still.
Hawkeye went over to me and kneeled, feeling my forehead instead of saying anything. He shook his head sadly, as if he knew something I didn’t, as if he hear or saw something I didn’t.
Did he hear me screaming? Is he still worried? What’s going on? What’s wrong with me? Did he tell me and I forgot? Or, is he keeping something from me?
“Oh, Hawkeye, don’t worry about me,” I babbled on, trying to make small talk again as he got up and started to search the boxes around us, throwing some things this way and that and making a mess. He was like a madman on a mission to find something, so frantic was his searching.
“Hold on, Jeanie. I’ll get you out of here alive.” Hawkeye swore under his breath as he quickly found what he was looking for: blankets. He ripped the box wide open and pulled out a lot of them, coming to me with a bundle in his arms.
“Who said I was dying?” I asked as Hawkeye kneeled before me with the blankets, wrapping me in some of them. Then, on a second thought, he laid down next to me and started to wrap the rest of the blankets around the both of us.
In my delirious mind – trying hard to understand what was around me – I suddenly understood what words Hawkeye had said to me earlier, before he tried to go for help. I had an infection from my wound. He was telling that I was going to die if something was not done. And then there was me, trying to figure things out from the moment I passed out (a severe loss of blood helping me) to the moment Hawkeye wrapped the blankets around us, not helping anything by being stupid and forgetting what I had learned so long ago. I was only delaying the inevitable if I was not treated properly: namely, having some antibiotics and having the wound checked over, in case some lead got stuck in there, in case we were both wrong and I was really shot.
“Dammit, Hawkeye, why didn’t you say anything?” I tried to yell, but I couldn’t. My words sounded slurred, slow almost, as if I was drunk all over again. I couldn’t move my mouth to form more words. I couldn’t breathe and felt like I was drowning in my own body.
Hawkeye only moved closer to me, trying to keep me warm. He then reached over and piled on more blankets, but the cold was not going away.
“Shh, Jeanie, and go to sleep,” was all he said, putting his fingers through my hair, combing out the tangles. “Calm down. Everything will be ok. You’ll see. You’ll be ok…”
It was the last I remembered before blacking out again.
* * * *
The 4077th to the 43rd, Korea
Major Dean Morrison, my older brother, how I missed you!!!
Here I am, laying in Post-Op, writing this letter at last. No, I am not working a shift here with somebody, checking on the patients. No, no, I am a patient here. Otherwise, I would not be able to write this letter, even if I had the spare time. I would have had too much paperwork to fill out and men and women (well, sometimes we get them) asking for my attention here and there.
It’s a long story, Dean, but I’m ok for the time being, it being a few weeks after my ordeal and all (recovery has been really slow, sadly, mostly because of the shoulder). So, don’t worry about me. Hawkeye took good care of me! And I’m going to be fine, if I keep up on the antibiotics and be a good little girl. You can come and see me now (I am not LONGER on tent arrest) and, most certainly, you can come see Henry. He’s back in command. I am so happy about it!!!!!
Well, you know some of the story: I sassed the new doctor, Major Simmons, and he put me and Hawkeye (who did the same, it seemed) on tent arrest. He went all Army on us and got Henry transferred to Seoul with General Clayton behind him. Apparently, this was temporary, much to the dismay of Majors Simmons, Houlihan and Burns. Clayton was tired of the reports already and took the transfer in good stride (he had other plans we didn’t know about), but a couple of days later, reinstated Henry as our Commanding Officer.
However, the days in which the three Majors were in control seemed to be like a nightmare for me and Hawkeye.
What you don’t know was what happened next. I was taken to tent arrest with a dislocated shoulder. Before Hawkeye joined me in some tent with supplies (weird, since we have a room for supplies next to Post-Op, but I guess it’s full of equipment for soldiers on patrol, like Klinger, who like to sleep in there), I got drunk silly. Trapper usually filled Daddy’s old flask (which he left with Mom and she gave to me before I left for West Germany) with the swill from their still and I drank it down in one gulp, remembering it when I got bored in the tent. It made me drunk for some reason and I argued with the M.P. (who was watching me) about Frank Burns. So, because I was “under mutiny”, I was shot at twice. One shot missed me, but the other shot hit me in the right side. At first, I thought it grazed me, but I guess I was hit.
Hawkeye took care of me, I swear, Dean! Trapper threw him a bag when he heard about me being shot at and I was taken care of accordingly, as best as he could, with whatever we had. He even put my shoulder back in place, but, without a sling, it was impossible for it to heal. And trust me, Dean, having a dislocated shoulder HURTS like hell!!
It took a while, but I was ok in my own mind. However, I got an infection from the wound and it took a couple of days before I could be operated on and antibiotics given to me. In the meantime, before Henry came back and saw me and Hawkeye in such a state, our Chief Surgeon (reinstated as such while I was unconscious, I was told) bundled me up in blankets and even put his body next to me, trying to get me to ride out the fever. He also fed me if he could get the food AND wrote on paper (again, in the supplies) my progress so that he knew what he did and what results came from it. It all helped, thank God, and that was what kept me alive partially.
Henry came in and saw the mess, with General Clayton behind him, two days later. Upon seeing that two people were under tent arrest, both went to see us. Henry himself thought that Hawkeye was playing hanky-panky with me and was about to yell at him (giving him a murderous look, I swear!) when he moved the blankets aside, but then saw the truth. Hawkeye said he went pale, stuttered questions and then ordered (all in one breath) that I be worked on immediately. And here I am right now, cooperating and being a good little girl. My left arm is in a sling, to help the shoulder heal, and I’m bandaged like hell. So, I’m glad somehow that I’m right handed!
Majors Burns and Houlihan did NOT know about our conditions and only ordered the tent arrest for the both of us (the Head Nurse even had charges drawn up in my name, but dismissed them when she saw how ridiculous they were). Only Major Simmons did know everything, so they (Frank and Margaret) are off the hook because they did their duty. However, General Clayton wanted to throw the book at Simmons, but the Major pointed out that he was doing his job, BY THE BOOK he was being canned by, and claimed that he did not order my shooting. The M.P. says otherwise, of course, so nobody knows who to believe.
Tomorrow, though, there’s going to be a showdown in Henry’s office, to see what’s going on. I hope everything turns out fine and justice is served. I’ll tell you more about it later, if I can.
Dean, I’m tiring myself from writing. Please, when you get this letter, come visit me when you can. I would like to see you here and not write letters with a sore shoulder and arm, trying to hold down paper!
Oh, and before I forget, congratulations on your recent promotion to Major!!!! I can’t wait to see your golden cluster!!
Your loving sister, Jeanie
P.S. Did you have a good Thanksgiving with your men yesterday? We did! Some of the locals in the area (people we treat on occasion) gave us eggs and then killed a few chickens because we helped the villagers. We have REAL eggs and chicken for meals for while now! It was wonderful and I hope we have leftovers. I’m hungry right now thinking about it!!! Now, I have to ask Hawkeye to bring me some.