Thursday, April 1, 2010

Weird Diagnosis

Frank afflicted by the Cervus elaphus syndrome
For James

I woke up in the morning and felt that something was awfully wrong. I turned around and saw my husband moaning in agony with large antlers attached to his head. I mean, attached! What on earth was going on here? Maybe it was just a nightmare. I tried to calm down a bit. Maybe this was what they called a lucid dream. I would wake up later and everything would be normal again. 

I did not know what to do and touched the antlers. They felt very real. My husband was sobbing quietly unable to move. His head was just too heavy. I still hoped that I simply woke up in some parallel universe where things were a bit strange. Who knew how I looked that morning... But no, this was more than real. 

Frank stopped sobbing and said something. I was too distracted by my own thoughts. Then I heard him say that we should go and see Dr. Andrews immediately. There had to be a way to get rid of the antlers. Where did they come from? Yes. Exactly. Where did they come from?

We had to walk six blocks to the clinic. Frank's head would not fit into the car. What a shame. Everybody was staring at us. It was difficult to pretend in March that this was a Halloween costume. Thank goodness! Most kids were already at school.

Jacquelline looked shocked. She told us that Dr. Andrews was with a patient. But if we did not want to wait, we could see Dr. Roberts right away. Who would want to wait? It was embarrassing enough having to walk here, so we agreed to see Dr. Roberts. 

Dr. Roberts was a sturdy man in his early sixties. He said hello and motioned us to sit at his desk. He looked at both of us and then at my husband's medical file. Finally, he asked what brought us to the clinic that morning. I did not want to believe what I just heard. Wasn't it obvious? Did my husband look normal? Poor Frank. We did not say anything. We were speechless.

The doctor asked Frank to take his shirt off. He listened to his heartbeat for a while and measured the blood pressure. He checked his pulse, looked into Frank's mouth, and asked him to say aaaaaaaaah. He examined Frank's eyes and had a peek into his ears. I was so busy looking and not looking at the antlers that I did not even notice that Frank's ears did not look human either. 

Dr. Roberts asked Frank to dress up again and take a sit at the desk. There seemed to be absolutely nothing wrong with Frank. He looked pale, but his pulse and blood pressure were just fine. They would probably have to take some blood samples to see if something was missing in Frank's body, but other than that, everything seemed to be all right. I wanted to scream! Was that guy on drugs or something? How could anyone possibly think that the antlers were a normal feature on my husband's head? 

I could not restrain myself any longer. I told Dr. Roberts that my husband did not usually have the antlers. He got them over night, so to say. We were very concerned about that and came to seek some help. We were not going home until we knew what was wrong with Frank. 

Dr. Roberts got up without a word and went to his bookcase. He fingered couple of book and took a large tome out of the shelf. He searched the pages and finally said Cervus elaphus montanus. He closed the book and put it back on the shelf. Then he scribbled something in Frank's medical file. Frank sat there, motionless. I started to cry.

Pulling myself together, I asked what did this diagnosis actually mean. Was there a cure? Dr. Roberts looked at me astonished and announced that Cervus elaphus montanus was a very rare species of deer. It was also known as the Carpathian red deer that was native to Romania. We had nothing to worry. At least, at the moment. The hunting season did not begin until September.

 By Dominique Allmon

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