I didn’t have the foggiest notion of an idea what kind of man Dr Kaoume Truth personally was. One thing was certain however: As a practitioner he was equally loved and hated. His followers called him a genius, while others branded him as evil and insane. My instincts were telling me that if there was no room for balanced opinions, the person would usually incorporate both extremes. I was just about to find out anyway, having my appointment in 14 minutes and 37 seconds.
You must know it borders on the impossible to meet Dr. Truth. You have to by dying of an incredibly rare disease, be mutated beyond recognition or be other wisely unique in a medical sense of the word. You can’t just get in using connections or a social status. Dr. Truth never cared for riches, fame or anything so awfully material to keep him off his work. He voluntarily and wholeheartedly dedicated his efforts to research the curiosum of his time.
Luckily for me, in my thirty three years, no doctor, shaman or charlatan (they are quite a recognized profession these days) was able to diagnose my ailment. No one was even close to form a hypothesis. That fact was instrumental for my lawyers to reach a deal with the doctors’ representatives to have my case shortlisted for further examination. It took seven hundred thirty two days and seven hours to be granted an appointment. Exceedingly fast considering the amount of work Dr. Truth was said to be involved in.
This morning when I took the bullet train to the Centre, I promised myself I would not get my hopes up. There was no guarantee that Dr. Truth would be able to tell me what my illness was. Most likely I was to age and die never knowing. No need for being over-emotional then. Truth was the last resort, but I felt that even if this attempt would fail, I did my utmost. So, I shouldn’t be expecting anything, but at the same time still be proud of going so far in my quest.
My time was approaching. The doors to the Office opened revealing a weeping female of unknown species. Her face was misshaped artistically. A nurse ran attentively beside her with a box of tissues. I could see she was wearing thick surgical gloves.
“We understand your discomfort, Madame Khan” – spoke the nurse softly – “But you must leave the Reactor for the time being. Your cancer is eating into your brain and further mutations are not advised”.
In response Madame Khan made a couple of inhuman growls.
Curious as it was to observe, I could not delay my own appointment. I entered the room. It was sterile and filled with all sorts of apparatus and computers from floor to ceiling. Dr. Truth was sitting in the corner and appeared to be organizing files on his hologra-screen. He was wearing old fashioned sunglasses, his greenish skin seemed to sparkle in the white light of his Office.
He turned to face me and smiled.
“Ah, finally the opportunity to meet you Miss M-add.” He pointed towards an empty chair next to his desk. “I was reading a lot about your case”.
I was told by the Staff Nurse prior to the appointment that the Doctor studied each case extremely carefully before possibly accepting it. It was not uncommon that he had an answer before even seeing his patient. I remarked that I was grateful he took interest in me. All I ever wanted was to know the diagnosis.
He nodded; “I suspect that I may know what ails you, but even to me this is too revolutionary. It is – from medical point of view – a complete and unexpected case study. A miracle, indeed.”
I wanted to say something but Doctor silenced me as he continued.
“When I first heard about your case I was sceptical,” he continued, “how come no doctor could find a cause? Even with our advanced medicine and, so to say, the whole spectrum of diseases we deal with.”
“As you know, Miss M-add, last century offered two nuclear winters and everyone is suffering from something. Doctors, bio-engineers, scientists spent decades researching and studying new aliments that came to life with the use of chemical and nuclear weapons. We know many things but not everything. So in the beginning I was thinking you developed some new and undocumented disease. You may only think of the amount of work and tests we performed”.
I was listening, politely agreeing with his words. I knew very little about medical procedures. He must have realized my ignorance as he started to explain.
“We have gathered over 50.000 items of classified data on you and your relatives. From all possible sources, even those less than legal. We ran detailed DNA and molecular tests on four generations from both sides of your family. You don’t seem to share any structural changes to your genome with any close relatives. No cancer, no mitochondrial mutations. Dead end.”
Before I could respond he raised his hand indicating he wasn’t done.
“Then I thought that maybe I made an error in judgement. Perhaps it wasn’t a new illness at all, but an old one that was no longer considered.” He sounded very passionate about his work. “So I have arranged another series of tests in the old laboratory that we have here at the Center. Blood, urine, skins and allergy tests. I had to go through another 10.000 pieces of data to determine your body performance. Again I failed. You seem not to have even a common flu”.
I remembered my grandmother mentioning the flu at some point when she still could talk. Apparently a human seasonal virus from time to time would be fused with its animal counterpart and cause a deadly outbreak. It was however nothing that could affect my health at present, as flu was eliminated during second nuclear winter alongside with other bacteria.
My heart began to sink, could it be that even famous Doctor Truth was not going to deliver me from my fate?
The Doctor noticed my frown and quickly added:
“At this point, Miss M-add, I also became desperate. But let me continue. I approached the government and asked for permission to operate on one of your replicas that they keep for transplants. Things got a little messy as it fought back saying that it didn’t want to be killed. The results weren’t conclusive either. You simply have no signs of any illness in both, your body and mind”.
I haven’t expected to hear that.
“I am confused Doctor”, I admitted.
“It is only natural”, he replied with smile, “You see, all this time, as a medical man and a doctor I was looking for something I presumed existed. That was my mistake. Medicine is a wonderful thing, because you may also find something that does not exist”.
“I don’t think I understand…,” I said.
“I want to tell you Miss M-add,” Truth looked me in the eyes, “That you are perfectly healthy. You do not suffer from anything. You must be the only person of this sort I ever encountered, perhaps the only one in this world of illness”.
I left the Center not knowing what to think. On one hand I was relieved because after so many years I was finally diagnosed and that would put a lot of stress off my mothers back, since she grew a second head she tended to worry more than ever. On the other hand in the world where everyone was ill, I was now a freak of nature.
News spread quickly. Before I got to my parents’ place, I encountered at least a dozen journalists already camping outside. I had to talk to my family about the whole mess. I decided to concentrate on the good news first. I would explain my new found celebrity status after the dinner. For now I was starving.
With love to Gary Numan, for soundtrack and inspiration.
Story: Malicia Dabrowicz
Art: Rita Dabrowicz