Here’s a story I wrote this week about guilt, the kind not discussed much. My fast fiction may be found at http://twivelist.com/ or sometimes here.
The patient and the doctor, separated by an oak desk, eyed each other.
“Doctor, why is there nothing wrong with me?”
“Are you in search of a disease?
“I feel fine and have so for my entire life.”
“I’m developing anxiety over my apparent good health. I sense I will go all at once. “
“You are 82?”
The patient nodded.
The doctor removed his glasses and asked,” How long do you expect to live?”
“I have no idea. Can you tell me?”
“You don’t list any family illnesses. “
“There were none to my knowledge.”
“Are your parents deceased?”
“My father died when he was hit by a car while crossing the street. My mother lived to be 103.”
Several years later the doctor, seated in an oversized chair in his den, thought about the conversation with the patient he had diagnosed as “too healthy.” He’d arranged for the patient to volunteer at an old age home where he would reposition bed-ridden seniors and help others to the bathroom.
After several months the patient ecstatically thanked the doctor for opening his eyes to his good fortune. But the doctor had warned him, “You suffer from guilt over being too healthy–it’s the same reason why some people can’t retire—they feel guilty that they’re able to retire. Keep volunteering to maintain your good mental health.”
The doctor stood up and walked to a mirror where he studied his face. “I don’t look a day over 90,” he chuckled.