Billeder på siden

strangely corresponded in outline to a wellmade mortar minus the pestle. Galen's lower limbs were shapely, but his arms were unusually long, and attached to the same were a pair of good-sized hands, and at times he would say: "My three first fingers seem to be about the same size and length, and I believe that I made them so by employing them as pill rollers in my earlier days." He wore a large, rolled down Byron shirt collar, neatly cravatted. He would say: "I admire them; they are thoroughly neat and old Professor P. wore them, and he was the most distinguished looking man I ever saw." Galen's hair was rather long, black and glistening. At times it looked unkempt, yet upon closer investigation it never looked neglected nor disorderly. He was rarely, if ever, seen upon the street, or anywhere else, without his saddle bags, and always carried them between the thumb and first two fingers of either hand, exactly as a fashionable lady carries her reticule, and, as he explained it," always on a level with the heart." His voice was sonorous, deep, pleasant and always very deliberately toned. He walked with a preoccupied air and rarely, if ever, saw anything either very near or very far off, and, according to his father, was at such times either thinking about himself or about medicine. "They are the only two things which he does think about," he would say.

Galen's estimate of his own importance was overpowering. His sheer intensity in this direction controlled many persons with whom he came in contact. He was a natural hypnotist in consequence of his inherent and perfectly natural intensity. If he had been constituted for evil, with this power at command, he would have been a very dangerous man. Galen's every action, according to his own interpretation, was of vital significance to our great and living world; hence, his own profession was the only absolute profession of importance and grandeur followed by man. Galen would say that "humanity was only made to take medicine, and that no man became truly important until he had become duly and properly sick." Mrs. Puchu, his mother, had said wonderingly, to one of her neighbors, that, with all her knowledge of Galen, she candidly believed, she in reality knew little about him. She was almost sure that Galen could not tell the difference in taste between

quinine and sugar, as she had never heard him express disgust at one nor his pleasure in the taste of the other; that she was almost sure, from a previous experience, that he could not tell the difference between the odor of the most fragrant rose and that disgusting odor which came from a "jimpson weed." As for Galen's taste for music, he never had been responsive, and she was morally certain that if life depended upon it, Galen could not tell "Home, Sweet Home" from "The Arkansas Traveler."

In relation to his college career Galen was certainly very egotistical. The "I" was continuously and exaltedly predominant. "Well, sir," he would say, "when I attended college I came very near leading that entire class; there was not a student who could touch me; old Professor L. said once that I was certainly the most thoroughly medicated medical student that he had ever seen; that even my name, which he wrongfully pronounced Puke-u, put him in mind of emesis, and I rather guessed it did, as I made them all somewhat nauseated at the amount of my knowledge. I was profoundly well up in all the branches of medicine. Professor H. said openly before the class, that I was the best floater who floated in the ætherial atmosphere of physiology; the best wanderer that wandered amidst the labyrinthian course of anatomy; the best wader who waded into the sea of theory and practice; the best plodder who plodded over the formulated crucible of chemistry; the best therapeutist and medicator in materia medica and therapeutics, and the best cutter who wielded the scapel of surgery. In a quiz I was never downed; they might laugh, I was always right; professor, students and all were eternally wrong. You see, my name being Galen Puchu, it gradually came to be spelled by my fellow students Gallon Puku. They thought it very laughable, but I could never see anything to laugh about. When Professor H. remarked, in the presence of others, 'that all nature had eternally and forever made me a regular allopath, that I could not possibly be a homeopath, for even my name indicated the fullest of doses, and that it meant a gallon of emetics,' the professor and all laughed, but still I was absolutely proud of being a regular and an undoubted absolute quantity and not an infinitesimality."


A fellow student, when talking concerning the peculiarities of his classmates said: "Of all of the peculiar ones who attended college when I did, Galen Puchu certainly was the most peculiar; he was an oddity and a paradoxical oddity, a quaint, solemn, yet pleasant freak; he was of tall, spare figure, a strangely solemn, pale face, yet withal, dignified, his bearing being eccentric yet manly. He seemed to be musing most of the time, but at times an ideal listener during lecture hours. As K. said, 'he is the muse of musers from dreamland.' trospection seemed pre-eminently to command him; he was as introspective as a frightened turtle is in its tightly closed shell. Many a time he seemed to me as silent and preoccupied as a dead man. His seriousness verged upon the sublime, and on certain occasions he was the source of much that was intensely ludicrous and amusing. While he often made others laugh, I never saw him laugh. He had a phenomenal memory for medicine, particularly for medical technicalities; he was a veritable mnemonical maniac, and was frequently less logical than a hysterical woman. He apparently never read anything but medicine. and appeared to be absolutely ignorant about the current news of the day. His thoughts, reading and work were only medicine. I do not believe that he either knew or cared who was the governor of the state or who was president of the United States. He seemed to evince no interest in wine, woman or song; never thought of the drama, would not go to church, nor cared for art or politics. He was the most competent man I ever saw to paralyze either a joke or a joker. It is related that a would-be smart, but impertinent joker, said to him one day, 'Say, Galen, did you ever hear about that man who lived out in Utah and who had no teeth, but could still beat the bass drum as well as any man living? Galen very seriously and unsmiling said, 'No, I never heard of him, but so long as he does not beat the bass drum with his teeth or his ears I cannot see anything very remarkable in the way in which he beats the bass drum.' This somewhat stunned and irritated the joker and he said, 'I don't believe that you could understand one of Abe Lincoln's jokes.' 'Abe Lincoln,' said Galen, 'I never heard of the gentleman, what medical college does he attend?' 'Why, hang it, man,' said our joker, 'do you know who Adam

and Eve were?' 'No,' said Galen, 'these people are all strangers to me, but you seem to have an extended acquaintance.' Upon another occasion, said a fellow student to Galen: 'When can donkey be spelt with one letter?" 'Never,' came the response, 'absolutely never, that is an utter impossibility, as the word contains six letters.' 'Well then, Galen, in order to show you how it is done, I'll write it down; now you see, when it is U.' But Galen failed to see either the wit or application and very gravely said: 'My friend, you are certainly wandering and mentally off, I cannot possibly see how that single letter can mean anything but U. Yet, with all the diffidence generally shown by Galen, he now and then would talk and no braggart ever boasted more than he. I called him an egotist, but Professor B. said that this man was an ego-maniac; the world only lives through and by his permission, but I admit that at present he is a mild and retiring one. Galen, at times apparently imagined things, and told me of occurrences which he had made up bodily by and through his own imagination. He was generally truthful, only now and then liefully imaginative; even when he told an imaginary story he never harmed anyone but himself. While all of the class. made fun of him, which he invariably mistook for praise, no one dared to insult him, as one intense blaze of his keen black eyes left no doubt of the danger of his disposition. He had one particular aversion among the students, and that was a red-haired and actively assertive man called P-e. This man appeared to be forever getting in Galen's way. He did this one day at a clinic, when Galen said: 'P-e you are a consummate ass; you think that you could palpate upon the ridge of a shingle roof on a three-story house and find water in the cellar, but if you will thump your own head you will find the cavity within filled with irritating vacuity.' 'Yes,' said Galen, after a moment of thought, if I had the power, I would dissolve you into proximate principles that chemistry would fail to unite. You would make better gas, yes, sulphuretted hydrogen gas than you do a man.' Indeed, this was a strange creature. I would like to know the future of Galen. If he is as preoccupied now as then I doubt whether the night bell would not have to ring in vain."

Galen's preoccupation after he had started

in the practice of medicine was attributed by many people to the fact of his studious habits, and not to any unusual mental peculiarity. His father had, however, said to an intimate friend, after discussing Galen's characteristics, that he expected, at some time or other, Galen would be brought home dead. "Why," he remarked, "if Galen's horse did not have more sense than he and see more than he generally does, they might butt up against anything. Galen never seems to pay any attention to his surroundings, and I guess it is a good thing that he don't, for everything he sees suggests either a defect or is colored with a pathological tinge. Thus, when he sees a tree leaning to one side, this tree has either paralysis or tetanus; if leaning to the right or left side, the tree is affected with paraplegia or pleurosthotonos; a tree bent so that its branches touch the ground is suffering from opisthotonos. Here he sees a hog with kyphosis, there is another with scoliosis; here is a chicken with progressive anæmia, and there is a virtiginous, plethoric turkey gobbler, which, he says, would have been phlebotimized twenty-five years ago. Here is an hysterical guinea hen and there a talipetic duck. He will not use my old horse, because he honestly avers that this horse is fast going into a paralytic dementia; as he has an exalted memory; yes, 'too exalted,' he says, and all this is owing to the fact that the old horse, in consequence of a previous experience with Galen, will not go again over a ford where they were both nearly drowned. Dandy, the dog, according to Galen, has delusional insanity because he has been able to read Galen better than Galen can read him, for he knows by past experience that Galen has no compunction in treading and walking over him, hence he very sensibly and self-protectively growls when Galen approaches too near. One of our cows, according to Galen, has gastric dilatation and prolapsus, and the other cow, he is absolutely and morally convinced, because he has auscultated this cow, has a valvular lesion of the heart and is fast coming to an ascitic condition. He avers that his own horse has given every evidence, when attached to the buggy, of being afflicted with tabes dorsalis, for at times he seems to evince no evidences of motion or sensation in the posterior half of his body, simply for the reason that he stops when he wants to, having cutely


found out that his master, in his preoccupation, will permit him, and likewise that his master may apply the whip once and then forget to apply it again. He has solemnly asserted to his mother that cats are dangerous to have about, as they are hystero-epileptics and not infrequently produce hydrophobia by their bites. I candidly believe that if I did not watch him. too closely that he would certainly take each and every one of these animals under charge and put them on a full course of medical treatment. He never seems to forget a technical term and has an inordinate love for applying these terms to any and all things. He does not seem to understand a joke, but assumes everything as being in earnest and complimentary to himself."

With his attention to business and his father's influence Galen soon became deeply and rapidly engrossed in practice. If walking upon the street, he met a person with either a deformity or an unusual growth, or a bandage applied, that person was halted and inquiry started at once. If the person was affected with a felon or an abscess of any kind he had to be very wary or Galen would have his knife in it before he was aware. He had absolutely no dread in assaying any kind of an operation, and if failure came, nature always had to bear the brunt of the failure, for he, individually, was always correct in diagnosis. and perfect in technique as well. In talking to the relatives of the deceased person upon whom he had operated, he would say: “My friends, everything was used which could have been, but nature was incompetent to her task in this instance. I cannot carry nature, when she thus inordinately fails, but if nature had done as well as I did, the result would have been all that could have been desired."

As business increased Galen's preoccupation and vagaries seemed to increase also. Said his friend W., who is engaged in the law: "Galen is certainly becoming erratic, and my conversations with him are more than interesting, they are absolutely instructive to me in a line in which I have never thought before. He is eccentric, bewilderingly so. Thus, for instance, he said some time ago, as near as I can recollect, something to this effect: 'W., I have found out that I possess unusually penetrating eyes, and that they are as powerful as the microscope. I am enabled to discern

flaws upon the smoothest surfaces, and I can see through the bright hues of health the dark and changeful flaws of disease.' The gentler processes of his sovereign art, now seem to be held in abeyance by his vagaries. He has detailed to me his dreams of operative impossibilities, even averring his capacity to correct a palpitating heart, normalize the cell action of the brain, and with his knife change this or that cell, or series of cells, molding the entire mental capacity of man. 'Why,' he said to me recently, 'I dreamt that the whole human race had but one body, and that this body was made for me to operate upon supremely and alone. Yes, I have dreamt of the decay of nations. and how easily I could correct it. I have pictured continents in pathological states, and the wonders of my cures for these conditions. Yea, I believe I could throw worlds in agony and relieve them by my be-all and end-all power; thus become the one, the only universal healer.' He would say: 'Theory upon theory has vibrated through my mind, yet none is acceptable. What the ancients did is antiquated and valueless, what the moderns are doing is verging in the line of fatuities. Yea, I have created my world, it is the allsufficient world in being and disease. I am the master and the maker of a new and regenerated medical universe.""

Thus it will be seen that Galen was an egomaniac verging upon megalomania, yet he had no delusions of persecution, but was only engrossed with his "I," or ego, and his calling.

He was utterly unfit for company, particularly female company, as he continuously studied for defects and was absolutely unhappy unless he found them. This man might have fallen in love with a skeleton, or a perfect patholigical specimen, but he certainly could have never fallen in love with a normal human being. He would very gravely say to a young lady who was getting well of a stye upon her eye-lid: "Miss, you have a tendency toward occlusion of your lachrymal duct, and if it is not dilated soon you will certainly have a genuine case of dacryocystitis phlegmosa." To another, who happened to coquettishly turn or roll her eyes with a desire to infatuate him, he would immediately say: "Miss, you are inclined to me neurotic, you had better watch yourself, or else you will be compelled to have an operation performed on you for strabis

mus." When in company with young ladies he generally proceeded with a regular examination, as had been previously indicated to him by his professor of clinical medicine. First, he would note the color of hair, eyes, complexion; next the height, weight and temperament, and then he would very gravely ask the age, place of residence and occupation; whether father, mother, grandfather and grandmother were living, and, in fact, if she knew of any of her relatives who had been subject to insanity, cancer, consumption or intemperance. He soon found that he was rarely, if ever, invited into society, and was completely tabooed from association with hearty, normal and sensible women. He would aver in the most serious manner to his mother, that all women were cranks and utterly senseless creatures; that he found greater manifestation of intelligence among dogs and other dumb animals. When in the company of men, while others were talking of politics and pleasant social events and of living issues, he seemed to be absolutely dumb to either words or suggestion on these subjects, but he would now and then suddenly blurt out: "John T., I have just noticed you, your face is thoroughly red, your breathing is twenty-five or thirty per minute; you had better take care of yourself or you will drop dead of apoplexy, and you had better have your heart and lungs examined." He did not seem to appreciate the fact that John was pleasantly and jovially stimulated, and soon found himself ignored even by his fellowmen in a social capacity. Upon one occasion he met a drunken man upon the street whom he knew well, and said: "My friend Peter, I have now watched you for four blocks. You are in a dangerous condition. Your walk is ataxic, you do not seem to have co-ordination of motion, and I candidly believe that you may either suddenly become paralyzed or drop dead at any moment." The drunken man straightened up and said: "Doctor Galen, you are an infernal crank, and you have killed more men in your mind's eye than a graveyard holds. There is no danger of my being paralyzed at present, nor of my dying. I'm a little drunk, but I've got more sense than you have at this moment and feel a blame sight better than you do, and that's what's the matter."

Dr. Galen, on being called to see Mrs. K.,

who was sick, was met at the door by her daughter, and he proceeded at once to make an examination of the young lady, prior to seeing her mother, and he very seriously and gravely announced to her that she was a chlorotic, and that this condition of chlorosis might be owing to habitual constipation, or possibly leucorrhoea, but the young lady rapidly prevented a further elucidation of the diagnosis by disappearing from the scene. Now, Galen's lack of appreciation of the normal taste of things made him at times appear in the role of a prevaricator, or else a wilful and unwilling deceiver. "Why," said Mrs. F., "I do not doubt but what he is an excellent Doctor, but he is certainly the most intense person and the strangest mixture of a man that I have ever seen. He looks as grave as a churchyard, and is always as solemn as a preacher. I don't believe that he would lie wilfully, for I never heard that he did, but when I was sick the last time he very gravely and, earnestly told me that the powder which he was then giving me had no taste, and he tasted it, before my eyes, with every appearance of genuine relish, and by his fixed stare absolutely compelled me to take it, because I simply felt that I could not possibly resist him. Heavens! When I took it, gall was feebly bitter in comparison to it, and what do you think? He looked utterly surprised and seemed to wonder that I should complain, and more remarkable still, when I called for some sugar to take away the horrible taste of the medicine, he tasted the sugar and said, right in my presence, without smile or movement of the countenance, that it did not taste any better than the powder he gave me. He may not lie wilfully, but he did then, and I certainly would prefer to have someone treat me who is more sympathetic and who will not, with a calm and unruffled face, willfully deceive me."

Dr. Galen said to his father: "Well, I saw Mrs. F. yesterday and she was threatened with an intermittent fever, which I thought might be tending toward a continued type. I gave her a bountiful dose of quinine. I guess she is a good woman, but I do candidly believe, between you and I, that she is troubled with some hereditary mental trouble, and I can almost absolutely and safely predict that a lunatic asylum will be her final abode. She acted strangely and as much as called me a liar;

this, to my mind, is one of the evidences of her coming insanity." When Mrs. F. had detailed to Mrs. B. her experience with Dr. Galen, Mrs. B. said: "That is a good deal like my experience with Dr. Galen. I was very nervous and the doctor said, with the most serious and solemn aspect of countenance, that I was hysterical, which I knew was not so, for I was real sick, and he brought me around a bottle of medicine which had the most awful, horrid smell that I have ever experienced, and when I expressed my extreme disgust, he said, with an utterly benign and unflinching face, that the medicine he was giving me had absolutely no odor at all, and he smelt it time and time again and kept on averring it, and by his intense look made me think that I might be mistaken, but still I could smell it, and when I took it to the druggist he told me what it was and said that its odor was sufficient, if I put it in the back yard, to attract every cat within twelve miles. Now, he certainly lied to me, yet a more persistent and innocent looking liar I never saw." Doctor Galen, again to his father: "Mrs. B. had hysterics last night and she, like all hysterical women, imagines everything without there being any real element of truth in it, but I do candidly believe that it would take but little to convince that woman that I lied to her about the valerianate of ammonia not smelling."

Dr. Galen's diagnostic sense gradually became more and more pronounced. He could continually see defects where no one else could see them, and in his monomania not infrequently proceeded with all due solemity to diagnosticate normal human beings. Normal individuals were to him apparently few and far between, and so deeply pronounced did this monomania become that he was constantly getting himself into trouble, from his misapplied, exalted and determined diagnostic application. He would constantly and unceasingly diagnosticate disease upon those who never complained nor sought his advice. The tales of his vagaries and mischievously applied suggestions spread rapidly among the people, so that his business began to suffer seriously, and this was viewed by his father with alarm and the deepest concern. Said his father: "I do not know where this is going to end. His intensity and determination seem to be continued and serious, and I am in dread

« ForrigeFortsæt »