VIP Referral

February 16, 2016

When a health system honcho asks me to see his thirty-year-old son “for a little anxiety” I can only agree. He arrives with a girlfriend, the couple dressed like characters from an Armani ad...

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"13638","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_8584237289614","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"5294","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"200","media_crop_scale_w":"150","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em; height: 167px; width: 125px; float: right;","title":" ","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

When a health system honcho asks me

to see his thirty-year-old son

“for a little anxiety” I can only agree.

He arrives with a girlfriend,

the couple dressed like characters

from an Armani ad, both of them

sweating and twitching and goose-

bumped, ready for rehab but

begging for Oxy his dad promised

I’d prescribe for the weekend.

I’m sweating with them, wondering

how to stay loyal to my oath and keep

my job, so I let their sad story soften

me up, let myself wilt in the warmth

of their charm, the honcho’s red

power tie flooding my mind

like a flashback. I write the script

and lean forward to place it in

my new patient’s hand, mine

suddenly pulled back, tearing

the small square sheet into shreds.

Let’s start rehab now,

the dial tone on my speakerphone

steady and clear.

Disclosures:

Dr Berlin is Senior Affiliate in Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. E-mail: Richard.Berlin@gmail.com. His most recent collection of poetry, PRACTICE,  is published by Brick Road Poetry Press.