“LOOKS ARE DECEIVING”
The medical service
As it was with the manager of the UBC hospital, Tara started working with us.
The one of July was the first day She joined the team. We knew little about her, rather, nothing. She looked reserved and at the moment I did not want to start with third-degree interrogation, as Patrick used to tell me about the residents.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning. We reached noon and had not done any service. My two companions and I were missing being with ours on the beach and, as always, John was the one who complained the most.
To these, that the plant passed us a notice. It was a patient who was agitated, aggressive and had tried to commit suicide.
They told us that the police were on their way. My companions and I looked at each other and said, we started the day well!
To get to the address Patrick, our technician, had to make a thousand and one maneuvers to adjust the ambulance to the narrow streets.
At the door two police patrols were waiting for us and all in unison said, Dr. You first, I do not know if it was because of courtesy or because the service did them as little grace as I did.
The entrance of the building was dark, someone turned on the light, or rather, the sad yellow bulb hanging from the ceiling and barely visible to see the worn wooden steps. The walls were a fox gray, although it is possible that, at some point of their existence, they were white. When I reached the first landing that was also full of ramshackle boxes, I stopped without knowing why, and a chill ran down my back.
—Does anything happen to you? —John asked, who was behind me.
—I do not know, I do not like this.
—Easy, I’ll put myself in front of —Tara said as if she was used to these situations.
We kept going up and when we reached the door of the house, before we rang the bell we heard a noise and a heartrending scream, I turned to my companions and the policemen went ahead.
—Come here! —Patrick said, grabbing my arm.
Mr. Campbell, the chief of police, knocked loudly and forcefully on the door.
—Mr. Marshall, is it okay? —Asked Mr. Campbell
There was a silence, on the other side of the door there was a choppy and agitated breathing.
—Mr. Marshall —he insisted again— are you okay?
—Who are you? what do you want of me? —said a dark, irritated voice from inside the house.
—I’m the police lieutenant Mr. Campbell, we’re here with the medical team.
—Outside my house! I do not intend to open them!
Then Tara went to the door even though my companions tried to stop her and told him
—Mr. Marshall, I’m Dr. Tara, —She said in a firm, clear voice.
—What do you want from me? —He snapped without giving her leeway to explain
—Your son Paul has called us because he is very worried about you— Tara said in a friendly tone.
—Your daughter, Mary has told us
—And why does not she come to tell me, what she has to say? —He repeated again.
It seemed that the arguments were running out, but in the most natural way she proposed
—Listen, let’s make a deal —Tara said— Let us see you, we will take the tension, we heal the wounds and if it’s okay, we’re all going.
The gloomy house.
Then he opened the door and a mouthful of stale and smelly air soaked us to the core.
Mr. Marshall was a tall man, ungainly, thin and almost cachectic. With a dark, grungy, frayed and half-broken sweater.
There were cuts on the wrists that were still bleeding.
The floor was almost dark, only a flickering fluorescent light illuminating the corridor whose yellowed walls were crammed with old photographs, possibly relatives from another era.
And “something” swarmed in the atmosphere, it was true that I could not see it, nor touch, but there it was. Not only it was my impression, because Tara seemed to feel it too, because she took my hand tightly. We entered the dining room and the windows were closed to the ceiling, covered by brownish and stilted curtains, matching the walls that were also filled with a thousand and one photographs of possible relatives who seemed to be watching us.
Like an automaton I went to the window and opened it from bat to bat while I asked
—Can I open it? —and for a moment ,we could breathe fresh air.
—What do you want? Why are you here? —he said angrily, closing the window and facing me.
My comrades and the police were on guard, but I knew that if I manifested an iota of fear or indecision I would have to retire and make use of force.
—How long have you not taken care of yourself? —I said calmly, looking into his eyes and taking a step forward.
—And what do you care about? —he said threateningly.
—Do Doctor retreat! —I heard a policeman in the background
I ignored his plea, I did not move, I kept looking into his eyes and soon after, he looked down then, I knew he had won.
He sat in a rickety, rickety chair. A new silence arose and soon began to speak.
—Seven years ago I was a renowned psychiatrist —he began to tell us in a sad and tired voice— My wife abandoned me as a womanizer, taking my children with her.
—Excuse me, I can sit next to you —Tara asked him to be heard. I pointed at her, how disgusting the chairs were, but she passed from me.
—I felt so much pain, that I took refuge in alcohol and drugs, until I lost all my fortune and the little dignity that was left —he paused as his throat tightened.
Tara took his hand and he squeezed it tightly.
—And since a few months ago my son brings me the food —then he looked at me again and this time, his eyes were sad and glassy.
—Mr. Marshall, can you help you? —Tara asked, offering him a handkerchief.
He could not answer, his tears spoke for him.
We took him to psychiatry at the UBC Hospital and his children were waiting for him. And without a word they embraced.
Once we left the patient in psychiatry John and Patrick took us by band to Tara and me
—Do you like to be heroines? —Patrick said looking at me angrily
—We have to agree on how to act with a patient with these characteristics —John replied formally.
—I’m sorry, I did not mean to skip the protocol —Tara said.
—Yes, you’re right, a restless and aggressive patient you never know how they are going to act —I said in a calm voice to calm things down— But there was something in his eyes that allowed me to move on.
—Dr. Please, you know better than anyone that these patients can not be controlled —John said— Remember Thomas a few months ago, you got out of a punch because you were quick to get out of the chair.
—Thank you John for worrying, it’s that sometimes intuition —I looked at Tara and nodded.
—Dr. Please —Patrick said
Yes, my teammates were right, but Tara and I knew, that the Human Being rarely knows how to handle emotions and, unfortunately, more than once they end up ruining their lives.