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Vietnam Wounds and Traumatic Experience by Bill Hatton

Julie Gardener

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Vietnam Wounds and Traumatic Experience by Bill Hatton​

Marijuana saved my sanity during two tours in Viet Nam, and it saved my life during the time I spent in the hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound in Nov 1968. Mentally, it afforded me some drastically needed relief from the stress due to the horrors I experienced in the Mekong Delta region, March to November, 1968. I was a civilian employee (category 3) working for the VN National Police in the upper Mekong Delta. I saw and experienced a lot of horrible sights and sounds, most of which were by the direct action of American and/or VN forces. The use of marijuana allowed me a respite, albeit temporary, from the constant stress in my life.

After three major operations, my condition deteriorated to where I weighed about 125 pounds (190 when I got shot). I could not eat, could not even drink a glass of water, and was sunk in a morass of pain and depression. I had 4 IVs going trying to keep me hydrated, and I was failing. A friend brought me a small bag of marijuana which I cleaned by feel in the slide-out drawer of the mobile table you get in hospitals. I smoked my first very thin joint and within a half hour, I rang for a nurse, requested a lot of fruit juice and something to eat. The nurses were so happy I showed some signs of wanting to survive that they ignored the obvious reek of marijuana smoke in the room. They told me my secret was safe and to keep on doing it. I recovered enough to get the final operation I needed and after 3 months, I returned to VN to marry and rescue my wife-to-be and get her out of that hell hole.

Source: Comments and Observations
 
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