A New Old Friend

“Good morning, Mr. Sikowitz”

“Morning Karen, how are you?”

“Well I could really use a massage right now, but I settled for a sixteen hour shift instead, but enough about me, what can I do for you today?”

“Last night after dinner, I had a rapid heart rate and I was really thirsty, both of which are signs of Cholera”

“Cholera? That’s incredibly rare Mr. Sikowitz and requires extensive tests, are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure, I’ve researched the symptoms”

“But you were also sure you had Rubella last week, remember?”

“I had a tender lymph nodes and muscle pain, what else could it have been?”

“Have you been keeping a diary like we talked about a few weeks ago?”

“Yes, but I still think it’s possible the doctor could have missed something, maybe you should double check for Rubella again while I’m here”

“I can assure you that you don’t have Rubella, but I’ll check you in for Cholera testing”

“Thank you Karen, is Dr. Kind on call today?”

“No, he took some overtime last week and so it’s Dr. McKinley”

“Dr. McKinley? Isn’t there anyone else that can see me?”

“I’m sorry, if it’s today you want to be seen it’ll have to be Dr.McKinley, we’re swamped”

“I see, I can’t risk the wait and so I’ll take a seat”

“Another nurse will be along shortly to direct you to your bed, nice seeing you again Mr. Sikowitz”

The hospital room is a dull shade of off-white and the cotton sheets are stiff. There is no decoration at all apart from the limp curtain that separates his bed from the three others and yet Paul felt at home. Just one foot in the door and he is as relaxed as he would be in a hotel.

“Oh joy of joys, Mr. Sikowitz you’ve joined us yet again and what imaginary disease is it this time my good man?” said Dr. McKinley

“This time he thinks he has Cholera,” informed Nrs. Karen

“Your hair got longer… and I don’t appreciate your tone Karen,” retorted Mr. Sikowitz

“Alright, lets give him a full workup,” instructs Dr. McKinley

“Okay Mr. Sikowitz you know the drill,” said Nrs. Karen

“Here are my vitals, here is my urine sample and you can start timing… now. So, how are the family, is your brother still causing trouble?” muffled Mr. Sikowitz, as he put a thermometer into his mouth.

Although Dr. McKinley had been practising medicine for years now, he still had the same passion for it as he did in first year of medical school. A lot of people found him arrogant, stubborn and incessantly harsh but those who knew him best knew that he acted out of care for his patients.

“It’s just that the man is here about one hundred times a year and it’s just that every moment in there with him, its another patient who suffers,” complained Dr. McKinley

“Well, what do you want me to do about it?” asked Nrs. Karen

“Just follow my lead… Alas Mr. Sikowitz, shockingly all of your labs have come back and they’re negative for everything,” taunted Dr. McKinley

“Really? Are you sure? Absolutely sure?” pleaded Mr. Sikowitz

“Well, you did say you had been tired recently, didn’t you Mr. Sikowitz?”

“Why, yes I did”

“And that you bruised easily?”

“Like a peach”

“For the record, I think you’re fine but if you’d like we can check your bone marrow, an extremely expensive, painful and lengthy procedure right Karen?”

“Yes”

“So what’s it going to be? Would you rather go home or have this incredibly painful operation?”

“Well, you can never be to sure I suppose, let’s do it”

Dr. McKinley’s face dropped as he turned away in silence, thinking of the hospitals wasted resources and all of the patients who were truly sick. Later on that day, Dr. McKinley checked in on Mr. Sikowitz after his operation when Nrs. Karen rushed in.

“Dr. McKinley I think you should take a look at Mr. Sikowitz’s chart,” ordered Nrs. Karen

“Why? Has he got the plague? Mr. Sikowitz you didn’t touch a rat in the seventeenth century did you?” laughed Dr. McKinley

“Just look at the damn chart”

“What is it?” hesitates Mr. Sikowitz

“You’re sick… I’m afraid you have a very rare form of cancer,” said Dr. McKinley

“Oh”

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