|Elvis laughing at his Army induction physical - I wasn't so lucky - I wasn't laughing|
Picking up where I left my story off yesterday, I now had my "papers" to join the Army. The Army recruiter supplied me with a round trip bus ticket to Philadelphia. I was to report to 401 North Broad Street in Philadelphia for my physical. I was about to embark on the scariest adventure of my young 17 years of life.
I took the bus from West Chester to the big city of Philadelphia. The first time I took a "big" trip like this by myself. I had been to Philadelphia before when I was in fifth grade for a class trip to see a Cinerama movie and the Boyd theater. I was scared to death. Butterflies in my stomach all the way.
I arrive at the gigantic building of 401 North Broad Street.
Grasping my "papers" in my hand I quickly followed instructions. Again, I don't remember to much about the sequence of events but I do remember being totally naked and told to put my toes on this broad yellow line. A phalanx of white coated "doctors" faced us with their clipboards.
Then one of the white coated "clipboard doctors" went to the end of the line and told the first man to cough. Uh oh, the "cough test." The Clipboard Doctor worked his way down the line. He got to me. He looked me up and down and then cupped my testicles in his right hand while holding his clipboard in his left hand. He told me to cough. I coughed. He told me to cough again. I coughed again. He turned around and said something to one of the other clipboard doctors. Then he told me to go over to a nearby paper covered gurney and lie on it. I was naked. The paper was cold. People were walking around. I was naked, lying face up on a "table", exposed for all to see. And everybody was walking around. Clipboard doctors, uniformed Army personnel, white uninformed WOMEN nurses and just plain civilians. They might as well put me and the gurney out on Broad Street.
|I ended up on The Table - Naked, ready to be groped, prodded and squeezed in full view of everyone.|
The "doctor" continued down the line, cupping balls and asking the cuppee to cough. Everyone else "passed"........except me. Talk about butterflies. Now I was actually getting sick. What was the matter with me?
Several of the "doctors" came over to where I was lying face up NAKED on the gurney. More poking, cupping and coughing. They mumbled something among themselves, and wrote something on my papers and told me to report to a certain desk. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS THE MATTER WITH ME. NO ONE TOLD ME.
I reported to the desk I was told to report to. The secretary looked at my papers, marked something on it and told me to take them to my doctor.
I left the building with my legs shaking. I thought I was going to die. I really did. I had no idea what was the matter with me. NO ONE TOLD ME. I looked at my papers and couldn't make sense of it. I thought I was going to die.
I took the bus home and gave the papers to my Mother. She looked at them and made an appointment with our doctor. Thus began a series of events which almost cost me my young life.
Contagion Ward, Chester County Hospital.