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Don Bennett's War

Chapter 35 - Penicillin & Aix


The next month was spent building up my- strength enough to be moved further to the rear. The unpleasant part of this period was the sleepless nights, the continuous penicillin shots, and the constant pain in my arm. One night about a half hour after a penicillin shot, a big group of welts rose on the back of my neck. The nurse called in the doctor who said it was hives caused by the penicillin, so he ordered my shots temporarily stopped.

I can well remember the many sleepless nights spent in that hospital. We would get our penicillin shot at 9:00 p.m., then the nurse would give us sleeping pills. I would then sleep for a couple hours until our 12:00 penicillin shot. From then till morning I would sleep very little. If I did fall off to sleep, I would soon be awakened by the low talk of the guys in traction splints across the aisle who got less sleep than I did.

About January 23rd my cast was replaced by a new one. My old one smelled so bad by then that other guys complained about it. The drainage from my elbow had soaked through the cast and was turning green.

During January some of the guys from our ward were taken out and flown to England, some were sent by train to Cherbourg to be sent back to US by boat, and on January 26 it was my turn. I was loaded on a train and headed south. I was put in a compartment with a couple other guys and had the lower berth because I could not climb up to the upper. We went down to southern France via the same route we came north on through Dijon, Lyon and down to Aix, about 15 miles north of Marseille. We were then driven over to the 43rd Gen'l Hospital, a former sanitarium just a few miles from where we bivouacked when we first came to France.

By this time I could walk around pretty good and I began to get a little enjoyment out of life again. In the afternoon, a Negro Sergeant and I would walk around the hospital enjoying the sunshine and sometimes talk to the German POW's about the war and their home and our homes. One day we saw a dog pulling something out of the ground, and upon investigating, we saw that it was a child's leg cut off at the hip. We reported it, but never found out the reason it was there. We would always stop in at the recreational hall where they had a few books to read, and where the Red Cross sold us cocoa and doughnuts.

I made the rounds of the wards looking for Lundeen but could not find him. I did not yet know that he was dead.

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