“They can't remove that,” Parham said. “Every year I have to do [an] MRI, a sonogram or an x-ray to make sure that that one piece next to my spine is encapsulated with fat and muscle. And it hasn't moved.”
For a brief moment after the explosion, Parham continued falling in and out of consciousness. Once Parham gained his senses, he was able to muster enough strength to drag one of his buddies who had lost his legs to a rice paddy for safety, under fire all the while. After their arrival to safety, a few of his comrades called for help.
“They called a medivac,” Parham said. “But they didn't want to come in there, so our commander, Colonel Herbert Ray, saw that we were in trouble and he commanded the helicopter pilot to come down and land.”
The soldier Parham aided was terribly injured. Parham recalls having to take his shirt off and cover the soldier's face to soak up some of the bleeding because he was so marred. But Parham was also in dire straights.
“The surgeon said that if I had been another five minutes late, I wouldn't have made it because the waste from the large intestines was leaking into my system,” Parham said.
Parham underwent several hours of surgery. After the pieces of shrapnel were removed, the surgeon had to reconstruct his large intestine as best as possible. To this day, Parham deals with the repercussions of this wound.
“I can't tell you the number of surgeries I have had since then,” Parham said.
The soldier Parham saved recovered, but he was sent home because of the severity his wounds; however, Parham's injury was not enough to send him home.
“Of all the bad luck, my injury was said to be an injury that I could probably recover from and go back to duty,” Parham said. “So they sent me to Cam Rahn Bay. I spent two months in Cam Rahn Bay recovering, doing exercises, doing therapy [and] being cleaned up everyday. After two months, our unit was so short – we just couldn't get enough replacements – they decided that we [should] go back to our duty. Right after Thanksgiving, I was sent back to my unit to finish out my year's tour.”