7. Hospitalized With Boils
About the fifth or sixth week I noticed two sore, reddened spots on my lower right shin. By the next day they were well developed boils. I had never had a boil before and wasn’t sure how to deal with them. They became increasingly painful over the next day or so as I became aware of more than a dozen painful bumps rising on my buttocks. It was difficult to find a way to sit that made the pain tolerable.
After a few days I decided the situation required a visit to sickbay. I didn’t want to go to the CC with my problem so I waited until he had left in the evening and requested from the RCPO a “walking chit” that would allow me to go on my own to sickbay. After checking my inflamed buttocks he complied.
My case was judged severe enough that I was hospitalized in the infirmary for a few days. Every two hours I had to go into an anteroom and fill a large pan with the hottest water I could stand and sit in it for at least 15 minutes. By the second day of sitzbaths the boils began to pop. I was worried about being away from the company too long and getting “set back” — transferred to another company a week or two behind 309.
In a few days the boils had all drained, leaving deep craters in the skin of my buttocks. The doctor assured me those would fill in over the next few weeks. He couldn’t explain why I had suddenly broken out with boils, with no prior history of that affliction. He theorized it might be a combination of the sweating recruits did in the San Diego summer heat and humidity (surprisingly, it would get quite chilly at night) and the emotional stress of boot camp. That stress was relieved considerably when I returned to the barracks and, to my surprise and delight, the CC didn’t have me set back. The idea of extending one’s time in boot camp had very little appeal.