Tuesday, September 08, 2015

THE BEING AND THE BECOMING-X

One day the big doctor, the old goat, came to the ward. A number of other persons were around him. The young doctor and nurse were there too.

"Well, nurse," asked the goat - he was prancing on his hind legs - "What is your report? He has been here a month."

"Well, sir, said the nurse, "he gives us no trouble. He is taking food by himself and talks, sometimes to himself. He has occasional bouts of laughter without cause. He is very helpful in the wards and seems to know a lot about medical work. He is no danger to himself or others: usually he is very kind to other patients. Only sometimes his replies to questions are silly, sir."

"How is he sleeping," he asked.
"Alright, sir. No sedatives required. Only last night's report says that he moaned and groaned a bit, as if he had a nightmare," replied the nurse.

"Now, doctor, what are your observations?" asked the big man.

"I think, sir, that he has a lot of thinking disturbance. No think, he says. And he is hallucinated - begging your pardon, sir - he is as hallucinated as a coot, "replied the doctor.

"And what is a coot, doctor? Let us not be frivolous. Do you know what a coot is and what its hallucinations are like? You don't. Then let us talk about things we know. I have often told you - (and here the owl was flaunting a peacock tail in full display) - that psychiatry is not poetry nor a comedy. Let us stick to what we know. What do you know?" He asked. 

"I think that he is as batty as nuts in a belfry, sir, replied the young doctor.

The nurse giggled and winked behind the owl. She was preening her feathers. 

"You are beyond repair, doctor. Why on earth they have sent you up for psychiatry, I do not see. Perhaps, you did not know medicine, surgery, E.N.T. or eye or anything else. What are your interests, doctor, besides present company - (here, he inclined his head towards the nurse.) - What do you mean by a belfry, doctor?"
"Well, sir, it is like anything else fried - fish-fry, chicken-fry, belfry-fried bells, sir." answered the young cock.

"You are testing my patience. You are crazy, doctor. God knows I have enough trouble coping with patients without having to add trainees to the list. May be you remember that I have to write your confidential report?" said the chief.

"Then I hope you keep it confidential, sir. You ask me for my opinion and you go off the rocker when I give it!" Retorted the young one.

"You are impertinent, doctor. Let us have no more antics. What do we do now? What do you think of his prognosis? What do you think will happen to him," the big man asked.

"You ought to know first of all what is going to happen to you," I butted in, "Maybe a spot of hospital and some bandages," I saw the owl fall off some steps and needing splints and all that.

"I am not talking to you, Thimmy. Pray talk only when asked to do so. Now, doctor, what is his prognosis?" repeated the chief.

"He will live long, sir, and ever happy afterwards," answered the young doctor.

"Oh, stop it, doctor. I have have had enough of this. You may see me in my office," growled the big man. A growling tiger was smashing the bars of its cage.

"Why, sir, I have nothing private, so to say," demurred the young doctor.

"Oh, hang it! You are very young, doctor, and you will yet learn. - (Now there was a solicitous cow, with a tiger writhing within.) - your case sheets are good, you are intelligent; why do you suddenly play the fool? I hope you are not getting infected by this work. I have known it to happen. Maybe you need a holiday."

The young doctor, a puppy wagging its tail, said, "Thank you, sir, what do we do with him. He is not a text-book case. He has a lot of concern and affection for others and that doesn't look like schizophrenia, sir. Moreover, many of his answers seem to have a deep meaning, somehow. I sometimes think we are nuts and not he."

"That's always possible, of course. But he does not know his own name and he is not earning his bread and butter. He is getting better, you say. Well, Mister Thimmy, you have improved a lot. Are you still seeing things and whatnot? The big doctor asked me.

"Yes, sir, I see them; only they keep changing shapes: owls, dogs, tigers, humans, snakes, and what not!" I said.

"Where are they?" asked the big doctor.

"Excuse me, but they are inside you all. Last night a whole cart-load of them were dumped inside me." (I remembered how I got them. Some time during the night Thimmy came with a huge bag like a postman, and dumped it inside me: "That's it, your baggage, all sorted and labelled, though the way they kept bumping, I can't guarantee against mix up. Master and I managed them for a while - sorting, labelling, feeding, bridling and timing - but after all it's your menagerie, you know. What do you say?" 

It was very rude of him and just like him: First to dump things without permission, and then asking me to say something, even before I had time to look at the baggage. I was being tossed about, things kicking, growling, biting and scratching!

Thimmy went on stretching himself and yawning. "Of course, there is nothing for you to say. It is your baggage. You left it at Master's door-step or they went there because you didn't care for them, poor things. All you did was prattle about names and imposters. Now you are doing fine with this no think, pure see, hear and do business. Just add pure take care of things to the list. That, too, you seem to have learnt. I must now let you play with your buddies," and he vanished, his tail flourishing an umbrella.) - "Now, here is a calf in my leg and a wolf in my belly and they growl and yelp and keep changing shape. What to do with them, I do not know," I said.

"God knows, man. What to do with them! Take them to the ZOO, of course! hah, hah," laughed the big man.

And with many echoes of hahas, bow-wows and heehaws, cackles and crowings they left the ward. 

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