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Chronic Diarrhea

Heroes Remember

So that’s when I took sick. I took, they call it chronic diarrhea and Major Crawford, he ended up as a brigadier I think in the end of it, Major Crawford and so anyway there was nothing they could do for me there so they took me out to Bowen Road I think hospital and I was more or less dying, there was nothing left of me. When I got up to Bowen Road Hospital and I got in bed. We were in a big ward there and as far as the doctors, the British doctors, they didn’t have too much to work with and besides that our own doctors, we had two of them and they couldn’t do too much for me. It was important that I eat, all we had was rice, burnt rice and we ate that but the minute I would eat it, it would go right through me, it wouldn’t digest at all. It would go right through and they call that chronic diarrhea. So I told the doctors right there and they took my pill away from me, my heart was starting to go on the bum and they took my pill away from me and they were dying all around me. Guys with hiccups, they couldn’t cure them and they were dying and there was nothing they could do for them, to give them to cure that and in the morning I’d ask where the guy was. “Well, he died during the night.” And they were always bringing somebody in different. Like I told the maids there, I said, “I’m not dying here, I’m gonna die in Canada. I don’t give a damn what happens, I’m dying in Canada.” So they asked me, they wanted to try something on me, opium. I said, “Do what you want.” They said, “It’s gonna put you in a different world.” I said, “Try it.” And he said, “Maybe it will do you some good.” So they started feeding me opium and sure enough I didn’t know where in the hell I was, I was in a different world altogether and they had to watch me night and day because I could’ve roamed outside and got shot. But after they did that for a while, I come out of that and then I started to eat a little bit. And what I used to do, they had vitamins there but they didn’t have too much. But what I used to do is when I got up on my feet, I was there for I don’t know how many months, and I used to get my needle there of vitamins and then I’d bee line her out there and get into some other ward and get another shot of vitamins and they knew what I was doing and then after that I came back to camp, a long while after I came back to camp, when I came back to camp nobody knew me. They all thought I was dead, you know.

Mr. Lecouffe survives a near death experience with chronic diarrhea. As a last resort, he is treated with opium and vitamin injections, which set him on the road to recovery.

Lionel Lecouffe

Lionel Lecouffe was born in Campbellton, New Brunswick on March 23, 1922. His father was a First World War veteran and his mother a war bride. Mr. Lecouffe worked on the road for food vouchers before becoming a deliveryman to Easton Bakery at $2 a day. Only seventeen and already a member of the Campbellton militia, he lied about his age to enlist with the Royal Rifles at Matapedia. Ironically, after his release from a Hong Kong hospitalization, Mr. Lecouffe found himself attached to the Winnipeg Grenadiers with whom he finished the war.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
October 10, 2000
Person Interviewed:
Lionel Lecouffe
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada

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