The Curious Patient

My Dear Emil,

I write to you with more news regarding my curious patient.  At this time, I have had several opportunities to speak with him at length, and have encountered him upon a number of other, shorter occasions.  His recovery from the wounds he was brought in with has been excellent, thanks to “the kind donations of others,” in his own words.

I flatter myself to think that he refers to my own ministrations, but the smile and knowing look that accompanies these words leads me to think otherwise.  When I questioned him on this, he advised me “not to take extra straws upon your back.  The food here is excellent, I’m just skimming a little extra off the top when I can find it.”  I assume from all of this that his appetite at least hasn’t suffered from his ordeals, and he has been purloining extra food from the kitchen.

I do not begrudge his constitution additional nutrition at a time when he might make good use of it, but I maintain an interest in the diets of all my patients.  In the previous course of the Patient’s treatment, I examined whether his malady was rooted in a deficiency of diet.  I had tried a strict regime of supplementary powders and metals, but it did little than provide fuel for complaint.  The exact nature of what he has been eating most recently I am unsure of; when I questioned the kitchen staff, none could discover anything to be missing from the storehouse.

Where I can point to significant progress in his physical recovery, I am sorry to report that I cannot say the same about his state of mind.  In fact, I would say that as one has improved, so the other has worsened.  His existing symptoms and affectations are just as strong as before, but to those he has added some new mania.  There lies upon him some obsession, the nature of which he will not reveal to me.  Now that he has regained strength and can move freely he spends little time at rest.  When I have encountered him in the halls of the asylum, his behaviour strikes me as that of a man searching for something.  I wonder whether determining the nature of what he wishes to achieve may cast light upon the root of his malady.

While he has been recovering, I have only performed a number of light interviews with the Patient, to gauge the present course of his mania.  Now that he is moving about the asylum under his own recognisance, I have determined that it is time to begin his treatment once more, in earnest.  I have set aside time in my calendar tomorrow for our first real session and intend to more fully plumb the dark waters of the Patient’s mind.

Yours,

Dr Robert Oatman

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~ by Electro-mechanical Man on June 18, 2011.

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