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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Why I'm called Bedbug

    I was christened Stuart or Stu. about 6 years ago I was rechristened Bedbug because I spent 24 hours of every day in bed. I used to dream about being able to forget about work and just stay in bed. My dream came true. Just goes to show you should be careful what you wish for.
    I served almost 9 years in the RAN as a Fang Bosun. (Dentistry) I served mostof my time on HMAS Sydney which was also referred to as The Vung Tau Ferry. Because during the Vietnam conflict (It wasn't a war so they said) we ferried battalions of Army personnel to Vung Tau and bought back those who had done their time. I prefer to think of them as the ones who didn't try to worm their way out of it.

    Whilst at anchor we parked right in the outflow of a large river. It was traditionally the time to take on salt water and distill it for pottable water. Unknown to us The US marines used the river in patrol boats which absolutely bristled with guns of every type. But they had a problem, Snipers tied themselves in trees on the riverbanks and killed many Americans. So as is usual with the US they decided to go big time and ruin the hiding places these snipers used and they dumped 10s of thousands of gallons of Agent Orange, agent Blue and a few other coloured agents on the riverbanks. In no time the banks were devoid of all greenery and snipers found they were too visable and ceased shooting Americans.

    This was all done during the monsoon months and the rain quickly washed all these agents into the river and on the outgoing tide came straight at Our home away from home. We took on this concoction of salt and coloured agents and instead of distilling it the salt was removed but the agents actually got enhanced. This poison satin our fresh water tanks whilst we drank it, washed in it and ate food cooked in it.

    Some 20 years later the Navy and Army discovered the now paid off personnel were coming down with many weird and not too wonderful diseases. Cancer was the main one. We are aware of only 2 Dental personnel who are still alive. I'm one of them. But I didn't escape. I won myself an unusual problem which involved my bodies immune system deciding to attack itself. At first I was diagnosed as having piles. It was then changed to colitis and then to Crohnes disease. After years of massive doses of steroids 3 times a day it was decided to remove my complete colon and any other diseased tissue. After a 6 1/2 hour operation in which I almost heard a bucket hit the wall I woke up after 4 days to find I was rigged with a neat and tidy little bag which has become a part of me. 12 months later I underwent exmination to see if they had caught the problem. They hadn't and so what remained at the lower end was removed. This led to a bad infection and an open wound for 10 months. During this time the infection reached my spinal area and the rest is history. I have 5 vertebrae completely stuffed and impossible to repair. So I spent another 8 years in bed with my only time out was in an ambulance to travel a 350k round trip for various tests and scans. I was told that was it, I would spend the rest of my life in bed.

    To save my sanity I taught myself how to repair digital cameras and gave them away to school kids. That stopped when they started demanding a minimum of 6 mpixel cameras. I then purchased a hundred or so helicopters and gave them away to worthy kids but found I was expected to be on 24 hour call and supply spare parts, batteries and new helicopters if they smashed theirs. I still have about 40 brand new in the box helicopters from 3 footers to mini types. I want to sell them on Ebay but I can't get to them to take photos and my wife has just had a full knee replacement so they sit downstairs. I then designed a massive workbench which rolled across my bed and had a slight variable tilt which I could use as a workbench. Unfortnately I ended up building the workbench into the wall by storing all the pro type helicopters I was building and about a year ago I also started building Pro speed boats. Starting with stripped hulls from Ebay and later buying brand new ones in and building them from scratch. The only thing I couldn't do was the fibre glassing as the fumes would have finished me off.

    Now I'm into woodwork for the boats and seriously thinking about doing some woodwork to earn some money to buy boat parts. By the way, if anyone has any old hulls, boat parts or anything they no longer use please put a price on it and let me know. I will pay freight and any costs plus pay for the parts if I have the money and If I don't I get my pension every 2nd thursday. If you have a boat which needs rebuilding I would be more than happy to get her running for you but I will have to charge for any parts used.

    So that's my story, not the prettiest story told but there are many worse off than me. Oh! I almost forgot. I'm going to tell the specialist and my own Doctor to shove their diagnosis. I will be walking around by next Christmas. Maybe not in the straightest line but I'll get there. I've already started and although it takes me a full week to recover from a few hours of intense pain I will get there because I hate this bed and I want to try my boats out.

    Kind regards and best wishes to all Bedbug (Stu)

    My worbench with audio gear for Internet radio. Plus my only male nurse, from Zimbabwe.

    One of my Pro helis an Align Trex 450

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  3. #2
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    Jan 2010
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    Plenty, Melbourne.
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    Wow Stu, great story, a true inspiration. Nothing more I can say really.

  4. #3
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    Feb 2003
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    Sydney (north of The Harbour), NSW, Oz
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    Welcome welcome welcome

    you are an inspiration

    BTW, my son would be interested in one of your choppers
    regards from Sydney

    ian

  5. #4
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    Jul 2005
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    Victoria
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    Welcome Stu. A very touching story and an inspiration you are.The chopper looks sensational

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Faulconbridge, Lower Blue Mountains
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    G'Day Stu,
    Welcome to a top forum.
    I cracked the "Fang Bosun" at Nirimba in the shin [white sock when red] in an apprentice vs officers hockey game in 1972.
    He got the last laugh when he had to remove my wisdom teeth the following week.
    Thanks for your story.
    A chippy last week was on the forum from Melbourne looking to restorte a speed boat from memory.
    Hang in there cobber.
    Cheers, Crowie

  7. #6
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    Feb 2008
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    Northern Sydney
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    Hi Bedbug,

    What a story... Very inspirational.

    My father was a ships electrician doing transport duty to and from Vietnam as well. I forgot the ships name, but I'll check with him.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    belgrave
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    Amazing story!
    anne-maria.
    T
    ea Lady

    (White with none)
    Follow my little workshop/gallery on facebook. things of clay and wood.

  9. #8
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    Feb 2008
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    Northern Sydney
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    Hi,

    Just chatted to Dad and he was on the Sydney (with some time on the Anzac) from 1965 or so until about 1969 when he transferred to the Onslow Sub (the one at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney). He did about 15 trips to Vietnam and back, though some were flights, but most were on the ships. He asked if you remember the 'stick' that the commander used to poke/annoy people with which was a leather bound telescope that periodically got turfed over the side of the ship by some soul who had been poked one time too many...

    He said he only visited the dentist once on the Sydney and that was fairly routine. Dunno if it was you, but cool if it was

    Cheers,
    Dave

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Narrabri NW, NSW
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    Smile Wow!

    That's my only comment, WoW! I'm really touched by your comments guys. I'm not used to threads with nothing but nice comments. There always seems to one out of step. And what a small world we live in. So many ties to the old Sydney. She was second hand from The RN and wasn't designed for our weather so every day was a sauna. I wish I could remember everyone who walked into that surgery door but there were so many and I mostly saw inside the faces or the top of a talking head if his mouth wasn't full of cotton wool and instruments. I wasn't ever the most popular person on board but it was amazing how many extra cans of beer I was given to "manipulate" the annual dental checkups. Not that I ever took a bribe I do have ethics Hic!.

    From memory I was the only person in the entire Dental division of the entire RAN who had a beard. The face mask sort of got in the way though. I've had it for 44 years now and only shave it off once when my ex wife said she was going to cut off her long hair. I said "if you do I'll shave my beard off so she did and so did I. Then she went to the hairdressers and I went to the bathroom.

    I also served on the Anzac when I made up the travelling dental team. The Perth, Hobart, Fluffy Duck (The Swan) I won't go into why it was called that. Plus a few others I can't recall. I was on the Sydney when they paid her off. Decommisioned to serve humanity as razor blades. She was a real bucket of rusty old bolts but had a long life and a very useful one right up to the end. I pais myself off not much later. I treated a nice young lady (WRAN) who we found out the day after she had syphillis. I had to have blood checks for months after that. Every lunch time a few of us got together for a game of Volleyball. I did a flying save, hit the ball and landed in the scrub which was full of old rose bushes. My hands and arms were a bit punctured and that's what worried the sick bay. I had treated a syphillis case with very small puncture wounds all over my hands. That was back in the days of not wearing gloves and anyway I wasn't bleeding in fact I'd almost forgotten about the rose bushes. The doc said different and reckoned if anyone could catch it it would be me. Cheerful chappy he was. But I beat the odds and came through as clear. That scared the hell out of me and I never looked inside another mouth ever since.

    I'm afraid I don't recall a skipper who poked people with his telescope or anything else if it comes to that. I don't even recall anyone carrying a telescope. I led a pretty sheltered life and a very envious one at times. If we docked or anchored in any foreign port I was gone and not seen until we were about to sail. People treated me rather carefully for no other reason than I could pull their dental records and call them up for an examination. They reckoned the more they left me alone the more I'd do the same to them. It wasn't warranted of course. I'd never do anything like that. No, I mean it.

    Nirimba a cold and miserable place that was. Luckily I only spent a month there. It was that or freeze. Bloody awful TV reception so there wasn't much more than drinking to do. I'd had a lot of practice but only on Friday and Saturday nights. I didn't like to breath all over the patients the next morning although I assure you I got breathed all over and strangely enough by women. They were the ones who mixd their booze with garlic. It's the most sickening smell first thing in the morning. I've actually cancelled appointments as soon as they sat in the chair because of that. What really worried me was the fact that some ignorant sailor probably played tonsil tennis with her all night.

    As for the helis, Unless the young son has had plenty of experience any heli with only 2 blades would be well and truly too much. They are the hardest thing to fly. Actually getting them into the air is the easiest bit. It's getting them down which hurts the pocket and pride. I'd advise a coaxial for a learner. They are just as much fun but much easier to fly and land. And the bonus of being a heck of a lot cheaper. If you give me some info as to his age I can make a few suggestions. I have them for the 6 year olds up to adult The coaxial by the way is the 4 bladed helis 2 over 2. They don't suffer from tail rotor problems and are easy to hover. I fly a baby one around my bedroom. I even have one which he can fly and you can shoot it down with a ray gun. Hit him 3 times and he lands if he wants to or not. Some of them are quite large too. Plus the really good ones work on 2.4 ghz and are quality right through. Some of them are a mass of flashing LEDs and some even have rotors which light up. But I'd have to check what is actually there. Obviously as with all things the better the quality the better the heli but I start mine at $14.95 and they are the babies for indoors and they step up to a 3 footer which really looks and flies like the pro ones. The only difference being you can't do stunts with a coaxial. It's up, down, left right and forward. No loops etc. The stunts can take ages to attain and usually after you've let a few kiss the deck.

    Well, once again thanks guys for the nice comments, I certainly won't forget this thread in fact my wife just said to print it out. So I might just do that.

    Here's hoping we run into each other again and hopefully I know a lot more about woodworking by then.

    Good health to you all, Stu, Bedbug

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Narrabri NW, NSW
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    Default Have you ever had one of THOSE days?

    Before I go any further I must apologize to Tea Lady. I referred to everyone as guys. I know it's cool to call both male and females "Guys" today but I'm ald fashioned and therefore not cool. So sorry Ms. Tea Lady.

    Now, today has been one of the weirdest day I've had for many years. Nothing has gone wrong and I mean nothing. First off I paid for a new router from Bunnings and they gave me a special deal on a set of 24 Tungsten bits plus a diamond sharpener for the bits. Then I completely forgot about a feeler bid I put on a router a few nights ago and this morning I won it for $26.87 including carrying case and 20 bits. The router had only been used twice. So now I have a router to build into a bench and one to use a lettering template gadget for making signs from Roger who virtually gave it away plus freight. Then Helen sent me a nice collection of blades I was expecting to pay $70.00 for but she charged me only $28.00 Then to cap it off a massive box almost big enough to hold a body turned up and packed inside was a massive adio controlled aircraft Compliments of a Chinese company I spend a lot of money with. It's got everyting except the transmitter and receiver. Both of which I have well covered. It was a prize the company picks at random from it's stock and then picks a customer at random to send it to. Usually the prizes are a bit mundane but heck a full plane with 3 spare batteries worth about $100 plus the plane at about $200.00. Then I have such a great welcome on the forums Oh! and a good friend decided not to let me know he put $50.00 into my account because I repaired something for him. I did it because he was a friend and then he pays me.

    Boy, what a day and I can only get out of bed one side. So I don't know what happened but I won't complain. It's not Christmas is it ??

    May you all have a day like mine tomorrow. Stu

  12. #11
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    Sep 2010
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    Mallala S.A.
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    Stu.
    I am a viet vet and can understand from where you are coming from. What happened to you on the Sydney is similar to what happened in my unit. We used to use the water trailer from the kitchen to mix our anti mozzi sprays in. After use just take it back with water in and all used for cooking. Now we find out it is a very cancer causing mixture we made. Just wating my time now. It will happen like it has to many of my old buddies. All I can say F@@k the pollies.

  13. #12
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    Sorry Cookie, in more ways than one. I thought the thread had died a natural and never returned. So I missed your post. I honestly have a tear in my eyes mate. You bought back the day I found out why my body was attacking itself. I was led up the garden path with my problem. I was told that no way was it attributed to my service and missed out on 5 years of proper medical attention and had to have my wife do my job to survive. Now it's common knowledge it was Agent Orange which got me. I got the desease and then found out why. You meanwhile have to sit and wait to see when and what will happen. Maybe nothing will happen but the odds sure aren't on your side are they?

    I don't know what I can say mate except that nothing has happened yet and the longer you go with nothing happening is another day you should be happy about. But how do you enjoy that niggling fear that something could suddenly happen? It didn't happen that way for me so I can't say how I'd take it. I feel sorry about the Ambos who get spat on or covered in blood from an Aids patient. How do they put up with that incubation period before they know they're safe or not. I used to be an Ambo after I left the Navy but Aids wasn't an issue back then.

    Keep yer' chin up mate. The longer nothing happens the more chance that nothing will. All I can say to warn you about is if you start suffering from skin rashes for no reason. Or any prolonged internal pains or unusual bleeding. My original symptoms. But it seems everyone is different. All but two of us suffered rapid onset cancer in many varied places. My mate and I have been subjected to so many different scans and not a sign of cancer. So we drew a different card. No cancer but something bad all the same.

    But I'm fighting back by starting my woodwork shop which is growing every day. Not just in gadgets but in my mind as well. I'm not even sure I will be any good and it's all a waste of time and money. But luckily time is something I have enough of at the moment. One thing I did find out was that I found it better to talk about it. That's if you can find someone to talk to. If you ever want a chat mate, give me a PM and we can arrange something.

    The best of luck mate, I hope everything turns out OK. Be grateful for every day nothing happens.

    Sincerely Stu

  14. #13
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    Default truth

    Lost a mate of mine. 39 years old, a grunt..... from a simple mole near his eye. He used to talk about being sprayed with the stuff while on patrol.
    Left 2 kids.
    The truth is out there now, but like all wars, with all return soldiers or sailors or airman, the focus is elsewhere when the war passes.
    I think however that Anzac Day is rekindling a community spirit that leaves the politicians outside the loop, and even though some try to capitalize by visiting foreign destinations, there is a spirit of goodwill that pervades.
    God Bless mate and all the best. You will receive a great deal of support here.
    Greg

  15. #14
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    Wow Stu what a story and read amazing glad your sticking to it head down bum up.

    Hum No a bloke who lives up your way and does patient transport old Don he lives down at Coona.

    I believe there is a post on the forum just recently that Narribri now has a Men's Shed time for a V8 under that bed and shed or is thats shred some wood

    Now a few ex-vets who came across Agent Orange most are still around one it has him do silly things now and then so he has himself checked in.

    Pitty old Russ moved away he was old Naval Engineer use to fix those water filtration systems.

    Maybe old Simonatra on th pen forum side might have been on of your fangless mates

  16. #15
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    Bedbug. Thanks for your reply. I did live like there was no tomorrow till I found my 3rd wife. We all need a bloody good woman to wake us up and piont in the right direction. Keep up your good work Stu and I think of all the Vets from all forces in all conflicts. May they have a better life than we got dealt.
    Cookie

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