Ves and The Good Doctor - Episode 2, Part 1

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011 by Matt Xell in

 Wender spent the whole of Monday morning searching newspapers, magazines and the internet, looking for one of the best psychiatric practices in Muleya City. She eventually found one that she liked. It was called Astra’s Angel and from the details that she read from the website, it sounded quite exclusive but Wender was determined to pay its price. She called the practice’s office to set up an appointment for 10 o’clock on Wednesday.

On the premise of taking him for a walk in the park, Wender got permission from Miss Twisty and took Ves into the city on Wednesday. As they entered the practice and made there way through the elegantly decorated entrance hall, Wender was convinced even more that this was a place frequented by the wealthy, a fact that was confirmed by the woman at the front desk who sized up Wender in her Orphanage uniform.

“You’re Wender Mistry?” the woman asked.
“Yes,” Wender replied.
“And you work at … an orphanage?”
“Yes, Orem Church Orphanage.”

The woman raised her brows slightly. Then she leaned in towards Wender, cleared her voice and whispered.

“With all due respect, Miss,” she said, “but you should know that this is a very expensive practice. I mean, we charge a minimum of $ 3,500 an hour, and that’s only for short term and minor cases.”

Wender smiled, reached into her purse and pulled out something she hoped she wouldn’t have to use, an object of extreme secrecy: a platinum membership credit card issued by a very prestigious bank in Ire Country.

“Oh, wow …!” the woman exclaimed.
“We’re determined to have the very best,” Wender said.
“Yes, of course, the woman said in an ashamed tone. “Please, forgive me, and please follow me.”

Wender nodded and hastily hid the credit card in her purse. The secret of her wealthy background was one Wender went to lengths to keep hidden, especially at the orphanage.

The woman whose name was Ester led Wender and Ves down another hall to the office of Mrs. Rita Wesley who was the head of the practice. Mrs. Wesley greeted them, offered them seats and then had a look at Ves’ files.

“This is the child?” Mrs. Wesley asked, taking off her glasses and leaning forward to have a better look at Ves.
“Yes,” Wender replied.
“He’s cute,” Mrs. Wesley said.
“Yes, he is,” Wender smiled.
“I would have loved to take the case myself,” Mrs. Wesley told Wender, “but I’m afraid that my slate is full at the moment. I do, however, know just the right man for the case.”

Mrs. Wesley picked up her phone and asked for someone to come to her office. A minute later, a smartly suited bespectacled black man in his late twenties came into Miss Wesley’s office.

“You called for me?” the man asked.
“Yes,” Mrs. Wesley said. “I see you decided to come into the office today.”
“Yes. I have had a very bad migraine for the past five days,” the man sighed, folding his arms and shaking his head, “… and a case of writer’s block. I was unable to come in for work or complete my latest thesis. So sorry I didn’t call to tell you, Rita.”
“Whatever, I’ve no mind for excuses,” Mrs. Wesley said briskly. “Besides, you’re a terrible liar. A jealous young lady friend of mine told me you’ve been out courting an ambassador from Monaco.”
“What?” the man laughed. “Me … and an ambassador from Monaco? I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, Rita.”
“Deny it all you want but I’ll be take those days out of your salary,” Mrs. Wesley said with a smirk. “Now pay attention, I have a case for you.”
“A case?” the man groaned.
“Yes, this young woman is Wender Mistry and the young boy is Ves Asirin,” Mrs. Wesley said. “And Wender, this lazy but brilliant young man is Armando Elrick, or ‘The Good Doctor’ as he is famously refers to himself in his weekly newspaper column on child psychology.
“Nice to meet you,” Wender said to the doctor, bowing her head slightly.
“Yes …” Dr Elrick said with a grin, “the pleasure is mine,”

Mrs. Wesley handed Ves’ file to Dr Elrick.

“Ves here has an Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Mrs. Wesley told the doctor. “Wender would like to know the severity of the condition. Run your usual diagnostics and give her a full report, understood?”
“Yes ‘mom’,” Dr Elrick sighed. “Wender, Ves, please follow me to my office.”

Wender nodded and she and Ves stood up to follow him.

“A word of caution Wender,” Mrs. Wesley said as they were leaving her office. “Armando … has a way with young women. Try not to fall for his devilish charms; he keeps none of his promises.”

Wender laughed.

“Not to worry ma’am,” she said, “my heart belongs to Dret Morbis.”
“Dret Morbis?” Dr Elrick said raising his brows. “The Grand Paladin of Orem Church?”
“Hmm, I stand no chance at all then.”

When they were in his office, Dr Elrick sat down behind his desk and went through Ves’ file.

“This all the information there is on his condition?” Dr Elrick asked.
“Yes,” Wender replied. “I’ve tried to get more details from a doctor who is assigned to the orphanage, but he won’t give me any information that he says is classified.”
“I see,” Dr Elrick said.

Dr Elrick turned to look at Ves who, uninterested in anything that Wender and the doctor were discussing, was absentmindedly staring out of the window at the happenings in the city outside.

The Doctor sighed.

“Bring him in tomorrow at 10 o’clock and I’ll begin my work.

*    *    *

When Wender and Ves arrived in Dr Elrick’s office, he told them to sit down and then he introduced himself to Ves.

“My name is Dr Armando Elrick,” he a said. “I am a child psychologist. Miss Mistry would like me to examine you and help you get better if I can.”

Ves frowned.

“There is nothing wrong with me,” he said.
“You don’t have to worry about a thing,” Dr Elrick laughed. “Unlike a medical doctor I’m not going to give you any painful injections or bitter tasting medicine. I am just going to observe you and take some notes.”

Dr Elrick sat down behind his desk, folded his arms and watched Ves for a while. Ves, who always avoided eye contact with anyone, looked down at his lap.

“Oh, I see,” the doctor laughed quietly, “you’re one of those … very well, game on.”

The doctor watched Ves for about 10 minutes, then he picked up the newspaper on his desk and begun to read it. After another 10 minutes, it seemed he had completely forgotten about Ves and Wender. She cleared her throat to get his attention. He lowered his paper and looked up at her … then at Ves, then he stood up folding his paper and said:

“That’ll be all for today. Please come by tomorrow at the same time.”

He walked out of the office before Wender and Ves did.

The next day, Wender and Ves arrived at the doctor’s office before he did.  He arrived ten minutes later and sat down behind his desk without even greeting them. He watched Ves, who was staring outside the window at the city, for five minutes then he put on his glasses, pulled out a detective novel from his desk drawer and started reading it. Ten minutes later, he stood up, announced that the session was over, and left.

On Monday morning, the doctor stood by his office window through the entire session with his back turned to Wender and Ves. On Tuesday he did not show up until the last few minutes of the session, when he simply picked up his coat from the hanger and left without telling them the session was over.

This greatly annoyed Wender. She went to the front desk and asked Ester what the current bill for Ves’ sessions was.

“It’s at 9000 dollars,” Ester told her.
“What? But that Doctor Elrick hasn’t done anything worth paying for yet!” Wender snapped.
“Be patient,” Ester said. “The Good Doctor will come through eventually.”

Judging from Ester’s tone when she said this, Wender suspected that she was smitten with Dr Elrick. This annoyed Wender even more.

The doctor continued his routine of ignoring Wender and Ves the next day, annoyingly typing away on his laptop. Wender cleared her throat to get his attention but he pretended not to hear her. She did it again but still he ignored her.

“Doctor!” she snapped finally.

Dr Elrick slowly looked up from his laptop’s screen to her face, which was going red with all her anger. He smiled and then turned to Ves who was looking around the office space. The doctor watched him for a while. Ves wore a very curious expression on his face, a frown of confusion, a look that said, ‘Where am I and what am I doing here?’

“Aha!” the doctor exclaimed suddenly, startling Ves and Wender.

Ves’ expression was almost livid now, and he was breathing fast. The doctor grinned.

“This session is over. I’ll see you tomorrow at the same time,” he said.

Wender stormed out of the office and went to the front desk.

“Ester,” she said angrily, “I’d like to have a word with Miss Wesley!”

Once in Miss Wesley’s office, Wender exploded in complaint against Dr Elrick.

“He’s absolutely incompetent! All he does is look at Ves for a few minutes then he just ignores us and minds his own business! I can’t be paying 12000 dollars for that! I want a new doctor to see Ves or a full refund!”
“Wender, dear, please calm down. Mrs. Wesley said. “I understand how you feel … but please trust and believe me when I say that Dr Elrick ‘is’ doing his job.”
“What? You can’t expect me to believe that,”
“I know it’s hard to stand him, I can’t stand him myself.  But … he’s really good at what he does.
“Miss Wesley, I’m sorry but I don’t think I understand what it is you’re trying to say.”

Mrs. Wesley sighed and leaned back in her chair.

“Armando graduated two years ago,” Mrs. Wesley explained, “and though he is only 26 he has received honorary degrees in psychology from 3 top universities. He is what scholars refer to as a savant. A genius.
“His former classmates say that he attended only a few classes every semester and that when he did he wasn’t really paying attention to the lectures, but he graduated at the top of his class.
“Last year, his contract was put on auction by a hospital in Atlantis where he worked at the time and I outbid 5 top psychiatric practices in the world to obtain that contract. I paid 4,000,000 dollars for it.”

Wender frowned in disbelief.

“He’s that good?” Wender asked
“Oh, yes,” Mrs. Wesley smiled.
“So then what is he doing with Ves?”
“They say his powers of observation are so great they rival that of High-spirited people with the red eyes. He’s studying Ves behavior, I’m sure of it. He never follows any of the standard procedures that other psychologists use but he always finds the answers he’s looking for. Let’s give him a week. If he doesn’t have the information that you need by then, I’ll give you a full refund and free sessions with another doctor.”

Wender nodded.

“That sounds fair enough.  I’ll try to ‘stand’ him for one more week.”  

*    *    *

When they arrived for their next session, they found Dr Elrick sleeping in his chair. Wender cleared her throat loudly to wake him up.

“We demand to be taken seriously today, doctor,” she told him.
“Yes … of course,” the doctor said, yawning. “Mrs. Wesley told me that you are not at all satisfied with my work so far.”
“What work?” Wender said with a frown.

The doctor smiled then turned to face Ves.

“Hello, Ves. How are you this morning?” Dr Elrick greeted him.
“Fine, thanks,” Ves said, dully.
“I’m guessing that, like Miss Wender, you’re not happy to see me?” Dr Elrick said.

Ves didn’t reply. The doctor smirked.

“Ah, but you don’t even care, do you?” he asked. “…You don’t even know who I am, do you?”
“No,” Ves said.

Wender turned to face Ves and smiled with frown.

“Ves, that’s ridiculous. How can you not know Dr Elrick? We’ve been coming to see him for over a week now,” she said.
“Oh?” Ves said.

Dr Elrick started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Wender asked him.
“Oh, come on Miss Mistry,” the doctor said, “even you should have guessed at what’s really wrong with Ves by now.”
“No, I haven’t guessed,” Wender said, angrily. “And I shouldn’t have to, it’s your job to tell me, that’s what we’re paying you for.”
“Yes, of course,” Dr Elrick said. “Ves, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dr Armando Elrick. I am a child psychologist. Miss Mistry here would like me to examine you and help you get better if I can.”

Ves frowned.

“There is nothing wrong with me,” he said.

Dr Elrick grinned.

“You don’t have to worry about a thing,” he said, “unlike a medical doctor –”

The doctor broke off as Ves’ expression changed to that of something between shock and confusion.

“You’re … you’re not going to give me any painful injections,” Ves said completing the doctor’s sentence, “or bitter tasting medicine.”
“That’s right,” Dr Elrick said with a wider grin. “Go on.”
“… You’re just going to … observe me and take some notes,” Ves said.

Ves raised his eyebrows.

“We have met before … just like Wender said,” Ves said.
“Yes,” The doctor laughed. “Now Miss Mistry, are you still going to tell me you don’t know what’s really wrong with Ves?”
“No,” Wender said, shaking her head.

The doctor sighed.

“Does Ves do this often, forget people he’s in contact with regularly?” he asked
“Well, yes, some people, like the barber or the priest that comes to preach at the orphanage on Sundays. We, which is to say, the other caretakers and I, think it’s deliberate because he doesn’t seem to like them much.”
“Interesting,” Dr Elrick said.

He stood up from his chair.

“Please come with me,” he told them.

Wender and Ves followed him out of his office and went down the hall to a room that looked like a medical lab. A large peculiar looking machine the doctor told them was called an MRI scanner occupied most of the room’s space.

“We are going to use it to have a look at images of Ves’ brain,” he told them.

Dr Elrick had Ves, who was reluctant at first, lie down on the machine’s bed like platform before he turned on the machine and went to stand at a computer screen to see the images of Ves’ brain.

“Please don’t move around, stay as still as you can,” he told Ves.

When the first the images of Ves’ brain came up on the screen, the doctor frowned.

 “This is certainly turning out to be a far more interesting case than I thought,” he said.
“What is it? What do you see?” Wender asked him.

Dr Elrick did not reply. He printed a few images of Ves’ brain and turned off the machine.

“This session is over,” he said as he got Ves down form the machine’s platform.  “I’m going home to compile my notes and I’ll have all the information you need to know tomorrow morning.

*    *    *

 When Wender and Ves arrived at the practice, Ester directed them to Miss Wesley’s office, which is where Dr Elrick was waiting for them.

“Good morning Wender,” Mrs. Wesley greeted.
“Good morning ma’am,” Wender replied, “how are you?”
“Fine thank you. And Ves, how are you this morning?”
“Fine,” Ves said, not even looking at Miss Wesley.

Dr Elrick sniggered.

“And what, may I ask, is so funny, Armando?” Mrs. Wesley said.
“Ves doesn’t know who you are,” the doctor said.
“He doesn’t?”
“He doesn’t remember you.”

Miss. Wesley turned to Ves.

“You don’t?”

Ves shook his head. The doctor laughed as he walked to Wender’s side and handed her a file.

“I don’t believe that Ves has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder,” he said. “Though I do believe that condition he does have is responsible for his autistic traits,”
“And exactly what is Ves’ condition?” Mrs. Wesley asked.
“… Memory loss?” Wender said reading from the file Dr Elrick had given her.
“Yes that’s exactly what it is, a very complicated memory loss disorder.” Dr Elrick  said.
“Are you serious?”

Wender frowned and continued reading through the file.

“How could we; Miss Twisty, the other caretakers and I, have missed this?” Wender said in disbelief.
“Oh no, you didn’t miss it at all. You simply wrote it off as a simple case of forgetfulness, just another one of his autistic traits,” Dr Elrick said. “And being of an introverted and secretive nature, Ves never told anyone how bad it really was.  And it’s so simple to hide things about yourself if no one bothers to ask you, even more so if they think you’re mentally ill.”

Wender turned to Ves.

“Is it true … is it as bad as the doctor says?” she asked.
“It’s not that bad … I like it,” Ves said. “I don’t have to remember everything … no, not the stupid things people say about me at the orphanage, thinking that I can’t hear them.”

Tears started streaming down Wender’s face.

“Don’t be like that,” Ves said, almost laughing. “How different is this memory thing from thinking I’m – what’s that word the other kids call me – retarded or whatever?”

Wender put her hand to her mouth and started to cry.

“How severe is the disorder, Armando?” Mrs. Wesley asked Dr Elrick.
“It’s very serious,” he told her. “I’ve never come across such a case. He shows symptoms of both anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia. Though, I haven’t figured out how it works exactly or which is more prominent than the other.”
“Anterograde amnesia - retrograde amnesia? What does all that mean?” Wender asked in between sobs.
“Ves doesn’t forget everything or rather after some periods of time some memories return to him. Memories with strong emotions tied to them are most likely the easiest to recall,” Dr Elrick explained, “The reason for my supposedly ‘incompetent behavior’ during our sessions, was to figure out that last part. I ignored Ves almost completely and so he formed nor stored no memories of me as opposed to Wender, whom he strongly dislikes by the way but has an emotional attachment to. And I believe that whatever of his memories he does retain have ‘lacunars’ or gaps in them, which is why today I suspect he remembers who I am and what I do, but not my name, am right Ves?

Ves nodded with a frown. Dr Elrick smiled.

“Ves absolutely hates being scrutinized or being talked about,” the doctor added with a laugh. “Of course everything I’ve just told you and written in my report is only my theory at the moment.
“A theory?” Wender asked, wiping the tear’s from her eyes.
“Yes, just a theory,” Dr Elrick said shaking his head. “I know that’s how his memory works but I have no physical evidence to support it.”
“What do you mean? Didn’t you do an MRI scan of Ves’ brain?” Mrs. Wesley asked.
“I did.” Dr Elrick said. “Wender, please show Mrs. Wesley the scanned images.”

Wender clipped out images from the file and handed them to Mrs. Wesley.

“Patients who suffer from anterograde or retrograde amnesia have brain damage; Injury to their hippocampus and surrounding cortices, which many scientists and neurologists believe are the parts of the brain that control the storage of memories,” Dr Elrick explained. “But what do you see in those images of Ves’ brain, Miss. Wesley?”
 “I don’t see anything wrong,” Mrs. Wesley said. “There’s no damage to Ves’ brain that I can see,”
“Exactly, Ves’ brain is just as healthy as any one of us,”
“So then, what do you think causes his amnesia? Some kind of subconscious mental process?”

Dr Elrick shook his head.

“No. it has to be something physical for it to be this severe. To be sure of what it is I’d like to observe Ves for a whole 24 hour day, a week even,” he said.
“That’s not possible, I can’t leave Ves here,” Wender said. “You see, no one at the orphanage knows that this is where I’ve been bringing him. If they found out, I’d probably lose my job.”
“Hmm, is that so,” Dr Elrick said, scratching his chin in contemplation. “Very well, I have a great idea. This session is over. You and Ves don’t have to come into the office tomorrow but I’ll be contacting you as soon as possible.”

With that, the doctor marched out of the office, muttering something about being late for a date.

To be continued ...