Ask a 1950s-Era Army Doctor

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — As part of our efforts to provide world class services for readers, Duffel Blog offers expert medical advice from Dr. David Bombay. This eminent physician retired from the Army Medical Corps as a colonel in 1959 and is still as sharp as any sawbones in the Veterans Administration. He may not be competitive in the civilian market but we get him free of charge, much like the military medical system.

I’m a female soldier with four tours in Afghanistan and a Bronze Star for Valor. Now I suffer from PTSD, joint pain, and skin rashes. Army doctors say I’m imagining my symptoms of that they're “female problems.” Could they be right?

Dr. B says: Those quacks are wrong; your issues are legitimate. Your ailments are also in the special category we used to call “problems you shouldn’t even have” because combat is no place for WACs like you! That Bronze Star must be a fluke. You’re supposed to stay in the rear echelons and help out with the Bob Hope USO show. For now, ensure all your docs are men, because they understand women's issues best. Then ask your husband to deal with them man to man and you’ll get some answers.

I want to improve my running stamina and performance. Any medical suggestions?

Dr. B says: Try switching your brand of cigarettes. Ignore those dumbass crackpot studies saying smoking is bad for you. They’re from the same bunch of god damn hippies who lost the Vietnam War! Doctors of my era knew that many brands of cigarettes enhance physical performance. I still start the day with a couple of unfiltered Camels. They really get the old heart pumping, and I can feel the improved oxygen flow in my one remaining lung! For an energy boost, try a big dip of Copenhagen in your lip while running. That’ll do it.

I entered Tripler Army Medical Center for an appendectomy and the surgeon mistakenly removed my spleen. What should I do?

Dr. B says: You should be grateful for getting two medical procedure for free, that’s what. Don't question your doctors! Do you understand medical diagnosis, Mister Doesn’t-Even-Own-a-Lab-Coat? Are you certain that your spleen didn’t need removal? Unless you’ve got a diploma from the Medical University of Grenada on your wall, like me, stop complaining. Start appreciating that the hands of every military surgeon have been touched by God. You’re welcome.

Watch for the next installment in this series, “Creative writing tips from an intelligence analyst.”