I thought for a few seconds and told her "No! - it was an exciting time and a fun time!" She looked at me oddly so I explained that those guys had an irrepressible sense of humour, they were mischievous and practical jokers - it kept them going in terrible circumstances. I still remember the WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends) bringing in 1.5 litre bottles of coke which they had loosened the screw caps, emptied out a cupful (250mls) and replaced it with Bourbon and then screwed the caps back on. It was always a 'fun night' in the TV lounge after the Charge Sister had gone home (I reckoned she knew but was not about to interfere) drinking Bourbon and coke and joking and laughing. Some of those guys could not hold a glass to their mouth so we (the nurses) used to straw feed them their drinks. There was a primitive movie theatrette at that hospital but, strangely, it had poor disabled access so the guy who was a triple amputee (both legs, one below knee the other above knee and an arm above elbow) could not comfortably sit through a movie in a wheelchair. One of the WAGS was convinced to bring in a London Pram carriage which they put him in, wheeled him down and tipped it upright on the stair well of the theatrette so he was sitting upright and could view the move in reasonable comfort.
The nurse laughed and said agreed that it would have been a real experience.
CRGH Multi Building, viewed from the west across Brays Bay
CRGH Showing the 'new' Emergency Department added since my days.
View is from the "10" end ward and shows the "20" end wing as well.
Three wards to a level, 110, 120, 130 and going up to the 6th level 610, 620, 630 with the Operating Rooms on the roof level (see previous image)
I wondered where some of those guys were now. I knew the whereabouts of at least two of them - the triple amputee who went on to complete an Army career as a supply NCO and the flail injury who is now an Aboriginal Rights activist and a prominent official of the Vietnam Veterans Association - but I've lost track of the rest.
In 1966 Jean Debelle was 26 and working as a
newspaper journalist for the Adelaide Advertiser
when she volunteered to work for the Red Cross
in the Vietnam War as a welfare worker with the troops.
Jean spent a year caring for wounded ANZAC troops
(from June 1966 until June 1967) in Vung Tau, Vietnam.