Yossarian is in the hospital in a "fog of insensibility" as a result of the knife attack. He seems to be in an operating room. It isn't clear whether his perceptions are factual or if the "fog" causes delusion or distortion. The scene could even be a drug-induced dream. Doctors debate appropriate treatment; one of them says he wants to operate because he has never operated before. He asks which instrument is a scalpel. A clerk says there can be no operation until he officially admits Yossarian. A fat, gruff Colonel insists that the clerk can't admit Yossarian until the Colonel clears him. Whatever the level of reality, military procedure is functioning as usual. The doctors apparently apply ether, a popular anesthetic of the time; Yossarian is unconscious. When he comes to, Yossarian is woozy and still in a fog. He thinks that a thin, mean stranger is near him saying, "We've got your pal, buddy.
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