Dr Alemayehu Part l

A Friday morning appointment with Miss Cathy and her neurologist, Dr Alemayehu:

“How has your summer been?” He asked her after we were seated in the examination room.

“Oh fine, fine”, she replied, eager to update him, “it’s been wonderful ever since you said that I could stay at home by myself; gosh, you don’t know what a blessing it’s been not to have to go anywhere when my son goes out-of-town. It feels wonderful so I truly thank you.”

“So”, the doctor said smiling at her, “you’ve declared your independence! Well, that’s very nice, I want you to know that I prayed for you.”

“Did you, oh bless your heart, thank you doctor.”

“Now”, he said suddenly becoming more doctor and less old acquaintance, “ I want to ask you a couple of questions.”

“How do you function? “How is your memory?”

“Well”, she said,” I do alright, but I get nervous.” When he asked what she meant she told him about the earthquake and having to go to the emergency last month because she was so upset over her granddaughter being in the hospital.”

He listened but didn’t comment right away, then he said, “I want you to take this pen and paper and I want you to do something for me but I want you to listen carefully before you start.”

He told her that he wanted her to draw the face of a clock and to put in the numbers where they should be, then put the hands of the clock on 10:45. Satisfied that she understood what he was asking of her he got up from his seat and left the room.

I looked on from my chair in the corner as she drew the circle, then the number “6”, then the “12” and the numbers 1 through 5 down the right side of the clock (pretty good so far) then she put the number “9” almost in the center of the circle and the rest of the numbers were in the right order but they were more or less vertical instead of following the left curve of the circle that represented that side of the clock.

“What time did he say,” I heard her ask herself,” was it 10:45 or 11”45?” Then she looked at me and asked me, “What time did he tell me-11: 45?”

I mimed zipping my lips and she said, “Come on now, hurry up and tell me so we can get out of here.”

“No can do,” I said, “ It’d be like helping you cheat on a test.”

Since she drew a very short hand that went from the middle of the clock to the eleven and another verrry short hand that pointed toward the nine it was hard to tell what time she was trying to indicate. But when she was finished she wrote “11:45” at the top of her page so that her intent wouldn’t be misinterpreted.

Dr Alemayehu came back into the room, sat down in front of her once again and studied her drawing. “Do you think this right?” and when she said she thought it looked like a clock he said, “ I’ve never seen a clock with numbers running up the middle and the time was supposed to be 10:45.”

But he seemed satisfied (enough) with the drawing so he continued with his questions.

“What floor are we on?”


“”What kind of office is this?”

“Neurology doctor”

“What’s the date?”

“Eight, August, twenty-eleven.”

“Who’s the President?”

“Dr….uhh, Obama.”

“The one before?”

“Oh, I will never forget him-Bush.”

Then he showed her the word “world” written out on a piece of paper and asked her to spell it backwards.

Next week: Part ll


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