Friday, July 13, 2012

The Clock Is Ticking

He reclines in his office with his shirt unkempt and bulging from his low riding trousers.  His cup of coffee sits on the desk, but if you look from exactly the right angle, you may imagine it floating from the bulbous pannus that abuts the blotter.  His lab coat is frayed and creased.  A stain lies below the breast pocket, the remnants of a malfunctioning pen.

His voice is confident and gruff.  The steadiness makes one sure that he is used to giving orders without apology.  He fiddles with the phone and taps his feet impatiently.  His eyes role towards the ceiling as he absentmindedly interrupts the inferior voice on the other side of the line.

He blows his stack often.  In fact, so often that his staff makes sure his blood pressure pills are awaiting at his desk every morning.  He has had a heart attack, or angioplasty, or CABG.  Even though he has survived his own health catastrophe, he still asks the drug reps to bring greasy fried food.

He remembers a time when during residency his attending put a cigarette out on a ventilator while discussing a patient.  Maybe, he even did it himself.

He is a curmudgeon.  He is a relic.

It is easy for today's society to turn our heads embarrassingly away from such a caricature.  Yet for decades his patients swore by his accuracy and skill.  His rough exterior melted away when confronted with a sickly grandparent, or holding the hand of a grieving family member.

He is a man of contradictions.  He is a dying breed.

Take a close look if you will.  Whether you think he is a work of art, or a reflection of our jaded history is totally irrelevant

His day has passed

1 comment:

Mark C said...

His day has passed, yet he remains in denial.