2007-11-05: Insight


DrAldric_icon.gif Santiago_icon.gif

Summary: A housepainter by the name of Santiago pays a visit to Dr. Aldric's practice, in need of help. Of all the doctor's offices in all the world…

Date It Happened: November 5th, 2007


Aldric's Family Practice

Hartsdale, New York

Aldric's Family Practice is as nondescript inside as its name would have one guess. It's somewhat cozy, however, living up to its reputation as a private practice that has been in business, in some form or another, since the seventies. Situated in a large, converted house right in the town center of Hartsdale, the old tan exterior matches the warm hues of the walls inside. The sparse decor is a mixture of antiques and the modern, sterile accoutrements of a doctor's office.

In the front lobby off the main waiting room (they're separated by a pane of glass and a glass door), Dr. Aldric himself leans on the reception desk from the front. The receptionist is nowhere to be seen, and the office seems empty. Clad in a white doctor's coat over a pair of casual, but pressed khakis and a forest green shirt, he taps his pen on a clipboard over and over again and stares. Then he paces for a few feet, returns, sets the clipboard down, paces some more, comes back, taps his pen on the desk…

Passing through the door to the clinic is a tall Latino, wearing painter's coveralls. He has a pair of rose-tinted sunglasses on his face, and an expression under them of quiet ambivalence. Clutched in one hand is a piece of paper, and he checks the name on the door against the piece of paper before nodding and moving himself fully into the reception area. Coming up to the desk, he looks from the empty receptionist's seat to the doctor and back again. Frowning slightly, he clears his throat and asks, "Is..there an opening today? I need to speak with a doctor," in accented but understandable English.

Dr. Aldric is just about to begin a new round of pacing when the office's visitor makes himself known. He promptly clears his throat of a faint cough and swipes his clipboard from the desk, tucking it neatly under his arm. "Ah, hello there," he greets genially enough, if a bit surprised — as if it should be surprising, for people to walk into his office? The man's voice is one definitely borne from this state. "I'm Dr. Aldric. Uh, well, do you have an emergency?"

Slight tightening around his eyes, a half-shrug, and Santiago replies, "I am not sure if it is an emergency. I am not bleeding anywhere, if that is what you ask..but it is somewhat distressing, the issue." Hands dip into his pockets, a nonverbal cue of feeling defensive, but he straightens himself a moment later and extends his hand for shaking. "Santiago Delojos," he introduces. "Do you think you could see me now?"

"I see." The doctor seems hesitant, his mouth stretching into a straight line beneath his moustache as he regards the young man. "I take it you don't have a family doctor," he says, prompting. He taps his thumb a few times in rhythm against his clipboard before seeming to visibly soften. "Alright, well, I have an opening, sure. It's a bit of a— a slow day. Follow me, Mister, ah, Delojos. Right this way," he says, turning around for the eventual trek through the waiting room to the small hall and office beyond.

Santiago follows the doctor, having given a silent shake of his head to the question about having a family doctor. "Regrettably, new immigrants aren't issued doctors along with our documents," he says, a poor attempt at humour. As the exam room nears, he tacks on, "I appreciate your seeing me. I assure you, I can pay for the visit, if that is a concern."

"…Of course," Dr. Aldric answers with a hint of uncertainty. Humour? What? He holds the door to a medium-sized examining room open for Santiago once he's inside himself — leading him right on in, sans the rigmarole the receptionist would usually go through. The walls are the same tan colour as the rest of the clinic; laminated posters of various body systems decorate the walls, save for one which is dedicated to kids' drawings and colouring book pages. "Please, have a seat. Now, what seems to be the problem, Mister Delajos?" He sets his clipboard aside and goes about washing his hands at the sink.

Moving over to take a seat on the exam table, Santiago wrings his hands a bit, linking his fingers together and clenching them before speaking. "It's…my eyes, doctor. I have been seeing some odd things for some time now. Not hallucinations, really…seeing things in other ways than they actually are." He shakes his head, his voice dropping a level in both timbre and volume. "I can…see through walls." He looks at the doctor expectantly, waiting to be laughed at just as had happened before.

The water turned off, Dr. Aldric freezes midway through drying his hands on a sheet of recycled brown paper towel when the man on his exam table says exactly what he does. "…" He stares at Santiago solidly through his own glasses, with their dark, thick rectangular frames -= stares, stares, stares, blinks — and then proceeds to calmly remove the remaining droplets of tapwater from his hands. "Through walls," he repeats — not sceptically, per se, simply… making sure he heard correctly. Towel tossed, he procures a penlight from his coat's front pocket and approaches Santiago. "Remove your glasses, please? When did this start, ah— start happening to you?"

His lower lip is touched with his upper teeth, an expression of reservation, before a hand tentatively reaches up and takes off the red-tinted glasses. "I wear these to keep one of the other problems from happening. This started about a month ago. At first, I thought I was going crazy, but…then I realized that the things I was seeing were real. I could tell when my boss was trying to sneak onto the job site. I could tell when ..meat was well-done." Santiago blinks a few times, strain momentarily touching the skin around his eyes as he struggles to focus.

Dr. Aldric watches Santiago's eyes very closely, noting the way he blinks and strains. "Hmhmm. Do you have any history of vision trouble or, ah— " His mouth flickers into a frown. "Mental health issues?" Tipping the man's chin up slightly, he carefully tugs the left eye open, gentle, and peers. "Look up to the ceiling, please. I suspect this may be sensitive, bear with me a second…" He turns the small light on and shines it into Santiago's eye.

The man looks up, knowing what is coming. They had done this at the hospital where he initially got checked. Immediately flinching as the light penetrates his cornea, a grunt escapes the Hispanic man before he settles himself. "My grandfather had cataracts, and other than being Hondurian there are no other immediate mental issues." He tries for a half-grin, while his eyelid flutters in a struggle to battle the protective instinct. Santiago grimaces after the grin. "That is sensitive," he admits.

"Hm," the older fellow gives a vague noise of acknowledgment, focused on shining the light, up, down, and in, examining every tissue before clicking the light off and beginning the same process for Santiago's right eye. "Good, one more time. Did you know there's a study to be released next year examining x-ray vision in jungle animals? It's not what we typically think x-ray vision. We have it, too. It has to do with the binocular region of our eyes. It allows us to see different parts of the world simultaneously when something is cluttering our spotlight, as it were. Now, ah, let's see…" It's time for a less customary examination. Dr. Aldric steps back, pocketing the light, and turns his back to Santiago while reaching into a high cupboard. He takes down a cardboard box no larger than a box of cereal with no labelling, and neatly sits it on the counter beside the sink. "If you claim to have this ability, Mr. Delojos, then surely you can tell me what I have here in this box."

This time the shift in musculature around his eyes is one of focus. He looks as if he is scanning the box in front of him, moving his head slightly from left to right. "Given the shape and density, I would have to guess that those are those little sticks you use to look down someone's throat," Santiago says. "Looks like a relatively new box, given how many are in there." He blinks, the pupils of his eyes contracting just a bit after he does so. "And no, I did not know of such a study."

Dr. Aldric's expression changes very little, only in increments; his eyes also squint ever-so-slightly, although he's certainly not engaging any sort of enhanced vision. He remains stoic. "I see." He starts to turn to open the box when he pauses. "Or, ah, I suppose I should say… /you see. You see very well indeed, Mr. Delojos." He pulls a long, flat, wooden stick from the box. Voila. "Tongue depressors. Extraordinary. Yes. Extraordinary."

He swallows a bit in response, seeming a bit embarrassed by his success. "I…saw them as you would if you took an x-ray of the box," Santiago explains. "Or like at the airport when they scan your luggage," is added as another analogy. "I can also see heat differences and…when people click their remotes for their TVs." He swallows again, this time his pride more than anything else. "Is there..something wrong with me, doctor?"

"Thermal? That's remarkable," Dr. Aldric says, barely to Santiago at all, but rather, in his own little world of scientific wonder that even breaks his otherwise deadpan voice. "Wrong with you?" He snaps out of it, looking back to his impromptu patient and quickly shakes his head. "No, no, there is nothing wrong with you. Quite the opposite, I'd say. But, ah, you haven't told anyone outside my profession what you can do with your eyes, have you?"

Looking down, then back up to the doctor, Santiago answers, "I told an intern at the hospital that I was having fuzzy vision, and that sometimes I saw things in a red tint, but they dismissed it as the paint fumes that I work with," he says. "No, no one else." He shrugs a bit, hands splaying outwards, palms up, plaintively. "I have been managing this for a month, doctor. So far I have been able to win money off of my friends, and cook very good steak but it is starting to trouble me, because it is more controlled now. I can see better with each type…what do I do, doctor?"

"You live your life." Dr. Aldric folds his arms. "You keep it under control, you wear those glasses, you use some good eye drops and you let me refer you to an expert ophthalmologist and optometrist who can test just what you can do and you keep it to yourself."

His brows furrow together at that advice, becoming one black hairy line across his face. "If I am to keep it to myself, doctor, how am I to see them and be tested? What is this that I can do?" His voice strains a bit, emotion becoming evident. "I..seriously don't understand what is happening to me. I was hoping you could offer some…how do you say…insight?"

"Mr. Delojos," Dr. Aldric begins, "The study I mentioned, about the manner of x-ray vision some mammals have evolved… yours may be— well, it may be more evolved than, say, mine. I believe these things are possible. It's hard to grasp onto, a notion like that, but you might be a special fellow. Now, these experts I could refer you to, they would keep it confidential. You've come to the…" Right place? He suddenly narrows his eyes. "How did you come to find me?"

The man on the exam table turns and gestures out the door. "I was walking by, after work. I had a painting contract in the area, and was coming by when I saw the sign. I figured that it was worth trying, and being fully honest this time," Santiago explains. A deep sigh rumbles out of him, and then he slides down off the table to stand there. "I hope that someone can help me deal with this, as…it is seriously troublesome when they all start going off at the same time." A hand is extended towards the doctor, "I appreciate your time, doctor."

Dr. Aldric gladly takes the man's hand and shakes it firmly. "I wish you all the best. I can't imagine how troubling all this must be for you. How about we do up some paperwork on the way out," he says, trekking out of the room. "I'd be more than willing to take you on as a patient, and with your consent, I can send along your information to those, ah, experts."

Relief seems to wash over Santiago's features. "Truly? You will…study this condition and help me?" he asks, even though that is exactly what the doctor just said. "Of course, doctor, I will give you whatever information you need. Please, hopefully they can help me." Gratitude is clear in the man's voice. "I owe you a debt," he states.

"You owe me nothing but your honesty," Dr. Aldric replies hospitably, his stern face managing a small smile. "It's my duty as a doctor to help my patients, and now you are my patient. Just have uh, have a seat a minute here," he gestures to the waiting area, "I'll get you what you need."

Moving over to the chairs in the reception area, Santiago takes a seat and waits. Sunglasses are pulled out of his coveralls and replaced, which brings a clear relaxation to the man, as he does not have to strain to repress the infrared spectrum any longer. Casually, he reaches over and picks up a copy of Sports Illustrated, detailing the upcoming demolition of Yankee Stadium. He idly flips through it while waiting for the doctor's papers.

Back at the reception desk, standing in front of a filing cabinet, Dr. Aldric sighs to himself. "Out of the woodwork…" he says under his breath. Gathering some papers from various folders, pinning them to a clipboard with a pen, he returns to Santiago. Poor soul. "Shame about the Stadium."

Looking up from the magazine, Santiago blinks for a second, then nods comprehendingly. "Si, I hope to be able to go before they do this…as it is an American landmark that is very famous, even in my home country." One hand returns the magazine to its side table home, while the other hand reaches for the clipboard. "I will return these to you shortly, Doctor Aldric," he assures the man.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License