A Farewell to Arms Chapter 15
The doctor takes out many splinters and inspects his legs. He wants him to have an x-ray. The x-ray doctor asks him several questions to keep in his 'scrapbook' of the war, such as how many Austrians he had killed. He lies. He finds this practice odd, if not morbid. Catherine tries to show the x-rays to Fred but he just wants her to get into bed with him. Fred is more interested in sex than his own well-being. Multiple doctors enter the room. Fred muses:
"I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend you to a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success. These were such doctors." Chapter 15, pg. 95
He is cynical about the doctors as he is about war. The legs look bad, but there is no infection and they are relatively clean. The doctors confuse the legs looking at the x-rays. They tell him that he will have to wait to be operated on until the projectiles are encased in the knee. This will be several months. The doctors leave. Fred calls the house doctor back in and explains that he can't be in bed for six months. He doesn't want to be operated on by the other doctor because he is just a first captain. The doctor is impressed because he thinks that Fred wants to go back to the front. Fred does not say that he wants to go back to war, just that he doesn't want to be in bed all that time; he doesn't want to be useless. The doctor assures him that he will be able to move around plenty, but Fred is not happy with this. He offers him a drink, but the doctor doesn't drink. He does say that he will bring in another doctor for a second opinion. Dr. Valentini comes in two hours later and talks in a crazy manner. . He has a drink and says he will bring Fred better cognac when he operates the next day. Dr. Valentini is a major. Fred trusts him because of his rank and because he gives him an answer that he wants to hear.