Medical Trials - guess the empathy


The doctor smiled. „Oh, I believe it will, don’t worry.“ No she smiled. He continued: „People usually find this test very interesting. But it also affects them differently. You never know. These are ticklish times.“

Ticklish, she was thinking, such an odd word, why would anybody use it? It sounds like some quirky word someone who doesn’t really know English memorizes and then repeats in every possible occasion, whether it’s appropriate or not. Even so, she didn’t mind. She could forgive anything to those eyes and firm hands.

„I will leave the room and will come back in shortly.“

„Sure thing, doctor. I’ll be waiting for you.“

She was thinking about the concept of empathy. He said it will be interesting. Well, he sure is interesting , I can tell you that.

As he came back, she could tell he was even more interesting than she thought. He was naked, standing in front of her with a flirty grin in the corner of the lips.

She smiled; somehow she managed to keep her eyes on his face.

He approached the machine and linked wires to his chest. Then he laid down. She was confused.

„The trial will now begin.“

„But what should I do?“.

She felt goosebumps on her thighs.

„Whatever you think it’s appropriate.“

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She approached the machine. She punched the machine so it would break, and it did. It was made of paper and stone. The doctor screamed in agony.

“Do something to me, please.” He pleaded, "No one has done anything to me since forever. I want you to take control, I want you to kill - to imagine yourself in a world where you either kill or be killed.”

She comes to him, and she stands. She was tender. She said, and thought of herself a being of immense benevolence: "I absolve you of anger and greed.

" I absolve you of entering medical school not to cure and not because you have witnessed the horror of death and not because you wish to prolong the lives of those you love, but because you want to be respected and loved and feared. You were greedy and you were brilliant and so you have succeeded. So they put you here."

“I absolve you of your kindness to me, of writing me upon a pedestal and assuming that I would either be kind or ruthless. I absolve you of having an idea of me, and because you have fit people into that idea all your life, you assume it would work here as well. Even if you think that I am beautiful, I am kind, I am all the good things I am, you hate me to my bones because I am not you. You think I am fundamentally alien.”

She proceeded to dig into his entrails.

As she felt his intestines tickle her hands she thought about whether they were tickling her or whether that was she indeed a sensation from inside her skin? Had it migrated from her thighs? Nerves, she thought. He got on my nerves. Nerves are real, and she thought of the drawings made by Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Whom her mother said she was related. One of the many possible myths that led her to medicine. Cajal’s hundreds of illustrations. The arborizations, tree growings, of brain cells, he drew by hand. Still in use for educational and training purposes. Delicate. Unlike guts. Guts and nerves. One one has, or doesn’t have. Others wouldn’t have had the guts to kill this man. To be that empathetic. To take him from his naked misery. The horrible, sad, failed bastard. That took guts because it got on her nerves. But her nerves are being tickled by his guts. He is dying. He is dead.

Empathy, she thinks, is not not knowing. To not know something, to know you don’t know - for example, what this test was for - is not empathetic. Sometimes being cruel is being kind.