In the late 70s I ended up in the Balboa Naval Hospital after suffering a burst appendix. Getting there was an adventure onto it's self. During recovery I was placed in a large open bay with beds spaced about every ten feet. I was the only patient on active duty in this ward, the rest of the patients about twenty or so, were veterans, all older than myself. I was known as the kid. All of us were recovering from surgery involving our midsections or groins. Several times each day the nurses would have us hold our pillows and cough several times for reasons that now escape me. The pain of coughing is quite vivid though. The real torture was a self inflicted variety, laughter. We started telling jokes. Eventually. just saying, "Did you hear the one about..." would bring about uncontrolled laughter mixed with moans of pure pain. None of us died, but it was touch and go a few times.