Try this on, just for the fun of it.
Your son or daughter, perhaps it’s your spouse, or even you. Nah, let’s say it isn’t your child or your spouse. Let’s say it’s you.
Your symptoms are a progressive pallor, a high rate of increasing weakness, extreme fatigue, and an ominous sense of growing depression. You’ve been seeing Dr. Hubs for several years, and, if there has been any noticeable change in your condition, it has gotten worse.
Prior to Dr. Hubs you had undergone numerous tests and were seen by a team of specialists from the Mayo Clinic. But as soon as Dr. Hubs was appointed to your case, he dismissed the specialists and declared you were in imminent risk of being fatally infected by outside pathogens. He thereupon decreed you needed immediate invasive surgery. It seemed to go well for a while. And you were reassured when Dr. Hubs, all dressed up in surgical scrubs, was escorted into the OR, where he announced you were cured.
But somehow you just didn’t seem to be getting better. You wanted to believe Dr. Hubs. You even did believe what Dr. Hubs told you, for a while. Yet, every time you saw him, he prescribed the same therapy: leeches, to free your system of the excess waste you’re generating. And every time you saw him, he said the same thing, “It’s tough, I won’t deny that. But we’re making genuine progress, and if we quit the leeches prematurely . . . Well, it’d be kal-lam-it-tousillly.”
You can almost hear Death knocking on the door. In fact, Death is knocking on the door. Knock, knock, knock.
Well, as things turn out, you’re not going to get better for a while, and Dr. Hubs tells you he is retiring. He also tells you that Dr. Nicmac is waiting to take over your care.
You learn that Dr. Nickmac is an older, (way, way older!) experienced fellow. Your first emotion is one of hope. But then you learn that Dr. Nicmac graduated near the very bottom of his class. Indeed, you discover that the only reason he wasn’t dropped from the program was because, first his grandfather, then his father graduated from the school, and both went on to great honors, and the school hoped against every indication that Dr. Nicmac would follow in their footsteps.
You also learn that during his internship, Dr. Nicmac knocked two of his patients off the operating table, got a third one tangled up in the IV line, and saw his 23d patient not survive the procedure. Nonetheless, you read that Dr. Nicmac never gave up. The word out is that he had spunk, so much spunk that a number of his colleagues have kept their distance from him for fear of setting him off on some expletive-riven tirade.
The first time Dr. Nicmac came by to see you was while you were still under the care of Dr. Hubs. Dr. Nicmac stopped in, took a look at your chart hanging over the end of the bed, and softly said, “I see, I see.”
Your eyes widen in hope. “What is it Doc? Will I be cured soon?”
“Oh no. That’s not what I was mumbling about. As far as your treatments, we’ve got to stay on the same course. In fact, what I’m going to do is increase the bleeding a little, hopefully to speed things up. No, what I was talking about was I can see. Did you notice that when I first walked in I was stumbling. That’s because I couldn’t see a thing. But then, all of a sudden . . . I can see!
“Truth is, and I want to tell you straight, because that’s what I’ve been doing lately, ‘straight talking.’ As I was saying, I don’t really know much about your case or your symptoms. In fact, I don’t really know that much about medicine. But you know, that’s never stopped me before. Heh, heh.”
You’re beginning to feel hopeless. Nothing about your condition is improving. So you decide to investigate whether there is another doctor available. You hear about this Dr. Omaba; finished first in his class, even wrote a number of articles for the school’s society. Upon graduation, he was sought by the most prestigious institutions in the land. He could have been rich beyond the wildest dreams. Rather than that, however, he elected to open free clinics on the south side of Chicago, in the poorest of poor neighborhoods. All Illinois sang praises of him.
With that in mind you decide to tell your family that you’re seriously thinking of putting yourself in Dr. Omaba’s hands. You’re getting worse by the day. You know you’ve been almost bled dry by the treatments Dr. Hubs recommended, and Dr. Nicmac is counseling more of the same. You don’t think either ever really had your best interests at heart. You don’t think they really ever bothered to listen to you. You’re feeling angry. Nope. Change that: you’re ticked off, bitterly ticked off.
But when your family hears what you’re thinking of doing, they respond with disbelief. “Dr. Hubs was such a reg-u-lur guy; even went on a lot of sabbaticals to clear brush from his ranch. An’ Dr. Nicmac is . . . Wull, mehbe he ain’t the brahtess bulb in the tulip patch, but . . . Jeeze, he’s got spurience yeh know.” Then your family bends low to whisper in your ear, “Ain’t sayin’ weez prej’dissed nor nuthin,’ budge yih notice . . . Thet Dr. Omaba’s a blackun. An’ whut’s worst: he’s uppity. One o’ them eleetiss kind. Claimed you wuz bitter an’ all.”
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