Friday, August 07, 2020

Reason 429,313 Why I Could Never Be a Doctor (and not just because I don't really like people)

International traveller among Niagara’s eight new COVID-19 cases 

Patient X languished in his hospital bed, sweaty, feverish, miserable.  

Dr. Gnaukweirst entered the room.

“Doc, you gotta help me!”  Patient X said.  “I feel like I’m dying!”

“Your tests have come back,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said.  “I’m afraid it’s not good news.”

“What is it, Doc?  What have I got?”

“You have COVID-19,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said.

“Oh my God,” Patient X lamented.  “But that’s impossible!”

“That’s always how it seems,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said. “But it is a certainty.  We’ve run several tests.  You have COVID-19.”

“But it’s impossible!  I’ve done everything right!  I check Facebook every five minutes.  I read and upload memes.  I take selfies.”

“Have you worn a mask when you go out of the house.  Have you practiced social distancing?”

Patient X mustered the strength to lean up on one elbow.  “Wear a mask?  And give away my freedoms?  Are you crazy?”  He fell back on his pillow.  Patient X would have then referenced Nazis and Jews, except he didn’t know enough about history to do so.  He had never heard of the Holocaust.

“And ‘social distancing’?”  Patient X said.  “Why would I do that if I don’t have COVID-19?”

“Except, you do.”

“But I didn’t!”

“You have it now,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said.  “Someone gave it to you.”

“Gave it to me?  That’s a conspiracy theory!  To make us wear masks!”

“Actually, it’s science.”

“I don’t know how that happened!”  Patient X moaned.

“We’re going to have to do contact tracing,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said.  “Have you been anywhere in public other than to grocery shop for bare essentials?”

“Been anywhere?”  Patient X said, mulling over the words.

“Yes, where there are other people.  We need to determine who you’ve been in contact with.”

“Well, I did get a really sweet deal on it trip to Europe three weeks ago.”


“Yeah, it’s that country across the ocean where they speak European and they pay for everything with U-ros.”

“You mean ‘Euros’?”


“So, you were out of the country.”

“Not for very long,” Patient said.  “Few weeks.”

“It didn’t dawn on you to maybe curtail travel outside of the country during a global pandemic?”

“And give away my freedoms?  No way!”

Dr. Gnaukweirst looked into the middle distance for a moment.  Here was yet another selfish, shortsighted miscreant who was too impatient to wait until the pandemic had passed in order to carry on with his life.  Whose actions, ironically enough, would prolong the pandemic that everyone was so weary of.

This is the specimen who has taken away my Chinese buffet, Dr. Gnaukweirst thought.  Who has made handshakes and hugs things of quaint old movies.  I'll never see Wayne Newton live, again, because of this son of a bitch.

“Come with me,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said.  “I have a special treatment for you.”

“What?”  Patient X moaned.  “I’m tired as hell and everything hurts!”

“Come on, you can do it,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said.  “I have exactly the thing for you.”

Patient X slowly, painfully shifted in his bed, eased his feet to the floor, wincing and gasping, squinting and muttering sweet self-pitying nothings to himself.  Dr. Gnaukweirst led him to the door.

Slowly -- ever so slowly -- they moved down the corridor.  Dr. Gnaukweirst led Patient X around a far corner to a disused hallway in the hospital.  At the end of it, there was an elevator.  As they approached, Patient X said, “Why are the elevator doors open, but no elevator there?”

“It’s not really an elevator,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said.  “There is a special prize in there for you.”

Patient X brightened slightly within his display of pain and discomfort.  “For me?”

“Just for you.”

As they got closer, Dr. Gnaukweirst stopped.  He coaxed Patient X to continue the final few feet.

“I don’t see anything,” Patient X said.  “Are you sure?  I should get back to my room.”  He moved to leave.

“There is a free iPhone in there for you,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said. 

Patient X’s face brightened.  “Are you kidding?  That’s great!”  He turned, wobbly, and moved toward the open elevator doors.  He looked into the darkened shaft.  “I don’t see anything.  Are you sure?”

“Oh, I’m sure,” Dr. Gnaukweirst said as he raised his right foot and placed it upon Patient X’s rump.  It felt good to do that.  Made him feel like Louis Armstrong when he first walked on the moon, and put one of his moon boots onto a moon rock and said, “I claim this planet in the name of Pink Floyd!”

Dr. Gnaukweirst launched Patient X into the open elevator shaft.  There was a momentary cry, but then it was gone.  Then, a distant thud, as Patient X landed on the pile of other COVIDiots and hypochondriacs Dr. Gnaukweirst had brought here.  One of the first to go in actually had an iPhone in her hand, so that hadn’t been a lie.

Dr. Gnaukweirst turned and went back to the ward and continued treating patients.