My First Liberty in Thailand
On my first Liberty trip to Udorn, I made the rounds per the advice of a couple of guys that had been there before. First stop was to check in at the Sir Udorn for a room and to drop off my ditty bag. Next was a ride over to Erma’s Bath and Massage, and then to a few bars, one in particular just down the street from the hotel called the Champagne Room. I had received good advice on these things, but no one had told me not to drink the water…
Later as I was going to bed in my room, I was thirsty, and upon failing to find a glass in the bathroom, I cupped my hand under the faucet and got a drink of water. A couple hours later, I awoke in a sweat and absolutely DYING of thirst, so back to the bathroom I went and drank…and drank…and drank some more. Satisfied, I again retired to the bed.
After that, I just remember bits and pieces of the next couple of days. I remember during the night, the “lady” with me was putting cold towels on my face and chest. Next, I remember being at the front gate of the Air Force base at Udorn. It was daylight, but don’t know what time. My next memory is being in a bed in a medical ward, puking over the side-rail.
The next day, my fever broke and I learned that I had come into the hospital with dysentery from the water. I had high fevers and my system was trying to clean itself out from both ends. The Air Force medics in the hospital didn’t like having to clean up after me (and under me) but I have very little recollection of that. They had put me in a bed with side rails and at one time even had to restrain me because I was flopping around so much.
Later that day, two aircrew officers came into the ward and inquired if I was L/Cpl Bliss because I had been reported as UA when I didn’t come back from liberty on time. They received word that I was in the hospital, so they flew up to check on me.
You would think that having to be cleaned up by medics would be as bad as it gets as far as embarrassment, but not so! About my third or fourth day in the ward, we had a visitor. Laurel Schaefer, Miss America - 1972, came into the ward with her entourage, talking with all the men there. Most were combat wounded that had been brought to Udorn for treatment and recovery. My embarrassment came as a result of a question she asked me. As she was sitting on the edge of my bed, looking me up and down and seeing no bandages like the others had, she finally asked, “And why are you in the hospital?”
Tell me, how would YOU tell Miss America, that you had a bad case of diarrhea?