A heartwarming narrative of a deep friendship between an army doctor and a Vietnam war veteran named Led unfolds over their shared love for fishing. Through their bond, the doctor comes to realize that Led’s myriad of health issues and eccentric behaviors are symptoms of severe untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Guided by this discovery, the doctor assists Led in navigating the Veterans Administration’s systems to receive long overdue help and compensation, drastically improving his quality of life.
- The protagonist, a new Army doctor, meets Led, a tire factory worker and Vietnam war veteran, through a shared interest in fishing. Led has suffered from severe health issues, including asthma, eczema, and insomnia, along with a serious fear of crowds and elevators.
- Over their years of friendship, the doctor begins to suspect that Led’s issues are not merely physical, but deeply intertwined with his past military experience, particularly as he notices Led’s reluctance to discuss his Vietnam tour.
- This suspicion is confirmed when Led shares his Bronze Star Medal citation from Vietnam, indicating his involvement in a significant battle. He admits to having no memory of the event, suggesting the existence of suppressed traumatic memories.
- Upon this revelation, the doctor proposes that Led might have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), explaining his symptoms. Led agrees to start on antidepressant medication, resulting in significant improvements in his overall health and quality of life.
- Despite initial reluctance, Led, with the doctor’s help, applies for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration for his PTSD. He receives a 100 percent disability rating, attends a PTSD counseling group, and continues to lead a fulfilling life with his beloved wife and family.