Skip to comments.A Real Hero
Posted on 02/25/2008 3:52:04 AM PST by 60Gunner
He was sick, sick, sick.
I inherited him at the change of shift. He was completely with it, but his body was failing him fast.
The offgoing nurse offhandedly reported that the patient was a bomber pilot because his wife of nearly sixty years had mentioned it. (Sixty years! Can you imagine being married that long?)
This man was the only person I had at the beginning of my shift. I signed off on the report and, after reviewing the chart, went into the room to introduce myself as the oncoming nurse.
The patient was asleep, so I spoke with his wife. She informed me that the man was a B-24 "Liberator" pilot. I informed her that I was an amateur World War 2 aviation historian, and she brightened visibly.
"Are you familiar with the B-24 forces that flew out of North Africa in 1943?"
I answered excitedly, "Are you telling me that your husband served in that theater?"
"Yes, I am. He was there."
Something in our conversation awakened the patient, who asked his wife who was there.
"It's your nurse. Do you know that he knows what you did?"
The man raised himself up from the stretcher. "What makes you say that?"
I approached him and said one word: "Ploesti."
My patient looked me straight in the eye for a moment, and then he began to cry.
"Oh, sir!" I said. "I am sorry that I have said something to hurt you!"
"It's not you," he said. "I lost so many friends that day..." he said, his voice trailing away.
"Sir, you are one of my heroes. I have read so much about your friends, and of you. I can't tell you how honored I am to serve you."
The patient looked at me as if I was joking.
"I mean it. I've read abut the Ploesti run."
"What do you know?" He asked.
So I shared all that I had read about the B-24 raid on the German oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, over the years. He filled in the gaps. He was my only patient for more than an hour. And what an hour! The stories he told- I must have seemed like a child at his feet, listening wide-eyed to his accounts of the hardships and terror he and his friends encountered during one of the most horrific parts of the war.
I was finally told by the charge nurse that I had another patient coming in- a young man who got drunk and hit his head, and who was belligerent and combative. I stood up from the bedside and excused myself. The patient took my hand and thanked me.
"How can you thank me after all you have done for me?"
He took my hand in his big paw, and answered simply, "You remember."
Meeting a REAL hero ping!
Thanks for posting, 60Gunner. What happened to this gentleman?
Blurry very blurry.Thanks for posting gunner.
I just finished reading a book called, “Bomber Pilot” by Philip Ardery, where he gives a first-hand description of that raid and others from North Africa and also raids over Germany from England. Very good book.
My dad was a side gunner flying first out of Tunisia then Italy. Not on the Ploesti raid though.
Can you add me to your ping list? Sniffle, Thanks, Sniffle
My 19 yo daughter is starting school soon to be an ER nurse. It makes me proud.
That's all we ever want.
Thanks for posting. From the sounds of your history, you probably have lots of stories from your own experiences and those told to you by hero patients. God Bless You in all you do and please write more.
Thanks for the ping Sarge. *Sniff*
A few years ago, I was asked to drive a busload of about 30 VFW members to the start of a parade. As they got off the bus dressed in old uniforms and VFW hats holding shiny M1’s, they all thanked me for driving them 3 miles in a stupid bus. I told them that I couldn’t accept their thanks cause I owe them far more.
Would you add me to your ping list please?
Yes, the REAL heros are those that have served in combat and those that still do.
And almost invariably, they will not talk about it in a boasting or bragging manner. If you ask they will tell you what it was like for them but they don't volunteer the information because many times it does bring back memories they would rather not remember all the time.
Ping to a great patriotic post by a master story teller.
If you haven’t had the privilege yet of reading 60gunner’s ER stories, you’re in for a treat.
Blurry indeed. Oh what a loss we are experiencing as these gentlemen depart us to return to our Savior, family and friends.
God Bless them.
God bless you for serving a hero. We need them now more than ever.
Another great story! Thanks! My kids tease me because I have so many old friends, but I love to listen to them and their stories.
Have you thought any more about doing your book? You really should. You’re in a position to capture these stories and memories, and you obviously have a great rapport with your patients.
I get teased alot about my overwhelming curiosity—if I was a cat I’d have long been dead! How else can you find out anything?! I hear the neatest stories because I am curious, and I enjoy listening to people.
Will you add me to your ping list, please? Thanks!
A great article for a great American, one of many. Thanks!