"The Peruvian Bark" by Alexander the Greater, December 2011

Disclaimer: All characters presented here are product of a fiction. Any resemblance to real characters is of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.

AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one is should attempt to act in the same manner as described.

AN2: None.

Summary: After he fell in love, Tony Norman paid a visit to his doctor. His metabolism was reacting on his new condition.

The Peruvian Bark

After he fell in love, Tony Norman realized that his insatiable desire to bring himself closer to his object of inspirational divinity made him change some of his daily habits.

Realizing that this new influx of organic biochemistry factors may alter his every day's duties, he visited a doctor.

- Please take a seat Mr. …, Dr. Marvin lifted up his record, … Mr. Norman.

- I haven't been at doctor's office for a long, long time …, Tony mused aloud, watching calendars and photographs of various symptoms on the wall.

- Well … you can start by explaining your problems and also when and how they first started.

- I must tell you straight away that I am currently visiting courtrooms more often since there is a dispute whether I was in love with my deceased girlfriend, Marianne Worth.

- All right, doctor blinked. I shouldn't take more of your time than necessary.

- You see doctor …, he exhaled, trying to relax, noticing sunshine has changed its angle of penetrating the shades on the windows. A person commits the crime of perjury when he deliberately and intentionally makes false statements under oath.

- Yes, … such is our system I am afraid …, doctor tapped a finger on his beard, listening to his new client intently.

- But he will not be charged with perjury unless the evidence demonstrates that he is intentionally lying and not just contradicting himself.

Doctor kept his solemn posture, listening patiently.

- You see doctor, … that IS my problem. I am not sure whether I am contradicting myself or not.

- Yes, … I see. But …, he leaned forward a bit, … do you have any BILOGICAL symptoms that may be bothering you? Like sweating … irregular heart beats … itches, that kind of stuff?

- YES! That's why I am here doc! Dr. Marvin widened his eyes slightly amused by his new patient. You see … my heart keeps missing the beat.

- After you … "fell in love" with …

- Billy, doc. Billy Gaye's the name.

- And now you feel "aroused" with … Billy, correct?

- Correct! Yes! You see doc … you CAN pin point with an accuracy the root of my problem!

Dr. Marvin smiled and then started to write some prescription. After signing it, he smiled and offered it to his patient.

- These are pills of "dysopiramide". They are of 100mg and you should take them as prescribed. Take them every 4 hours.

- Every four hours?, Tony bas surprised. Won't that affect my night time rest as well?

- You probably already lack some sleep, waking up at night due to fear from heart attack or similar …

- HOW TRUE!, Tony was bewildered, gaping in awe. How … I mean … how did you KNOW this doc!

- It's just my extensive experience, Dr. Marvin giggled, leaning back in his swivel chair.

- Well … I'd better be off then. Courtroom awaits!

- Thank you for coming here and … should you feel any side effects …

- Side effects?, Tony froze at the door, turning around.

- Well … sometimes this drug may offer some side-effects like urinary detention and even glaucoma.

- Oh, sweet Lord! Hope I won't be the unlucky one! Good bye then!

- Have a nice day …, Dr. Marvin greeted as he closed the door behind him.

Couple of months later, they met again at the same place. Dr. Marvin had shorter hair and well trimmed beard this time. Tony Norman only changed his suit but looked worried and had some hollow layers underneath his eyes.

- Well doctor …, Tony exhaled, … my heart's been much better, it's just that …

- Yes?, Dr. Marvin felt some inkling towards believing this COULD be one of his troublesome patients after all.

- Just that the ophthalmologist supported my idea that I have glaucoma. I can't see very well and in the courtroom I NEED to. Dr. Marvin kept his hands clasped, listening.

- You see doctor … A court case can take place over a long period of time, during which a witness will be called to testify under oath on several occasions. And since now I have glaucoma in my eyes, well … it may affect my ability to testify. He paused, trying to notice Dr. Marvin's eyes or guess what he was thinking of. It is highly conceivable that my memory and perception of events could change over time, resulting in discrepancies and contradictions between my already offered, various statements.

- I see. Well …, Dr. Marvin leaned forward writing an inscription. Then he offered it to his new patient, smiling. This is pilocarpine, for your glaucoma.

- Oh, thank you doctor. He stopped at the door once again. Err … just out of curiosity doc, … he squinted with his eyes in the semi dark room, … are there any side effects to this drug?

- Well …, Dr. Marvin scratched his beard, … it is rare but you could end up having "myopia".

- Oh? What is THAT?

- It's nearsightedness. You would be able to see things close to you but not further out. Nothing to worry about. It can be corrected with glasses.

- Oh, well … I hope I am not such a jinx! Thank you doctor and … have a nice day!

- You too!, he dejected and then giggled again at his unusual patient.

After couple of months they met again. This time Tony Norman wore glasses and looked as if he put up some weight as well.

- Oh, doctor …, he stared as he sat on the chair.

- Yes, Mr. Norman?, Dr. Marvin was in a short sleeved shirt now, his hairy hands placed on his lap as if in some kind of a prayer.

- You see … I am still in love with Billy, but these courtroom cases …, ah … they made me so nervous that first I thought I'd have heart beat. After you prescribed me those pills my fear grew less intense. But … then I developed glaucoma, and after a month or two I started to wear these glasses since I could not see very well objects that were further away from me.

- All right. Glad that we have prevented SOMETHING at least, he giggled cautiously, watching Tony.

- Now … I am not sure how much you are familiar with the court system and what's going on in it.

- I am afraid just the basics, doctor opined shyly.

- You see … multiple witnesses may have different viewpoints and perspectives that MAY contradict the statements of the other witnesses. With my new state of not being ale to see, I could barely explain to the judge my new, changed condition. He looked at Dr. Marvin, adjusting glasses on his nose. These contradictions do not mean the witnesses are necessarily guilty of perjury, they just mean that the witnesses are … well, human.

- Understandably, Dr. Marvin felt a slight nervousness.

- These discrepancies that may exist between witnesses are used by attorneys in court for a variety of legitimate reasons, like … for example, … testing a witness' credibility, … arguing about the sufficiency of the evidence and ultimately searching for the truth.

- Ah, yes … the "truth", Dr. Marvin realized it will be one of those intricately boring mornings.

- And … as you may see on me already, … due to being nervous I started to eat more and more of junk food. And … it is up to the fact finder …

- Judge or a jury?, Dr. Marvin tried to implicate his knowledge.

- Either, doc. Either of them may decide which witness to believe, if the witnesses give contradictory testimony. But … even when there ARE discrepancies between witnesses it is certainly not necessarily a matter of perjury.

Ha paused, sweating, doctor noticing his nervousness.

- You see doctor, I began to urinate more often and get tired and …

- Wait! Hold your horses!, Dr. Marvin smiled, writing something down. Why don't we take some additional tests of blood and urine first?

- Good idea, doc!, Tony was glad someone was helping him.

- You know where these addresses are I assume?

- Sure. Tony looked at the papers offered. Oh, yes. Same city.

- You be careful not to overbalance your diet, eh?

- Yes, doc. Thank you for your time!

- Have a nice day …, Dr. Marvin retorted, amused and worried a bit as well.

Two days later they met again. Tony offered him the results.

- No need, my dear man. We are fully computerized and I have it all now on my computer. He examined the results on his computer monitor. Tz, tz, tz.

- Something's wrong doc?, Tony leaned further almost as if wishing to see what was on the computer monitor himself.

- Oh, ..., he glanced worriedly at Tony, … I am afraid you may have diabetes.

- Oh, MY Gooood!, Tony rose, feeling his life took a sharp turn all of a sudden.

- Please calm down, … take a seat. It's not something you should worry too much about since, with careful diet and some other adjustments, it can be treated.

- What should I DO now doc?, Tony looked confused and scared.

- I'll write you down …, he write down the prescription, … the prescription.

- Insulin?, Tony stared at the prescription.

- Yes, insulin of 0.5ml. You may have some side effects like nausea or, in extreme cases, even vomiting. But it is rare and the dosage is low, so …

- Oh, thank you so very much doctor, Tony rose and shook hands with Dr. Marvin. He smiled back. You sure helped me a LOT!

- If you notice any side effects or untoward result of your new therapy, come to see me even if you don't have the appointment!

- Sure I will. Have a nice day then!

- You too!, Dr. Marvin sat back almost laughing aloud at the comic character of his new patient.

Couple of months later they met again at the same place.

- Hello Mr. Norman, Dr. Marvin noticed Tony was now less overweight. How are you feeling today?

- Oh, fine. It's just that …

- Something's wrong?

- About Billy Gaye, doc. Dr. Marvin kept his posture. There doesn't seem to be any attraction between us two anymore, doc …

- Oh? I am sorry to hear that.

- I almost felt nauseated and vomited couple of times with this "insulin" of yours.

- My God!, doctor looked around as if he was being recorder by some secret camera. Why didn't you come earlier for goodness sake?

- Well you see doc. The courtroom's been really busy lately. Sometimes the judges and prosecutors responsible for enforcing the law recognize that in court …, he scratched himself and frowned a bit, … witnesses will contradict each other in the search for truth. But … sometimes they do not.

- I am afraid I have lost myself on your point …

- Well … to prosecute all these witnesses that may contradict themselves for perjury is not really a good idea because … well, because it could have a chilling effect on the justice system's ability to prosecute criminals, he chuckled a bit.

- Most definitely, Dr. Marvin grinned, narrowing his eyes.

- And now that I can't take sweet stuff or alcohol … I could sound almost as I am a liar, if you know what I mean?

- But surely you can show my credentials and … yes, feel free to even call me to the stand as well. I have a good reputation and …

- No, it's not that, doc. I don't think anyone would judge your … ahm, ... credentials. It's just that there is so less time these days …, judges and prosecutors wishing to end cases much sooner … so …, Tony scratched himself behind the ear, adjusting his glasses, …there is no TIME to check whether I used to drink alcohol before or not. At this very moment I am being asked if I drink socially, and I …

- I see your point …, Dr. Marvin clasped his hands again. Your voice may "quiver" and then "give away" your fears, correct?

- Yes. A witness who fears, well … he will be prosecuted for perjury because he feels that his testimony differs from someone else's testimony and … such is definitely not willing to come to court! The judge started to have some suspicions even of me!

- And, to come back to the previous, you mentioned you had nausea and vomiting?

- Yes, but it could be because I am upset and …

- Wait. Dr. Marvin wrote a new prescription. Sometimes the condition of diabetes mellitus could be falsely proclaimed due to bad calibration of the instruments. He threw one superior glance at Tony, realizing he was definitely not an expert in medical science. From 80 to 120 mg/dl of plasma glucose in blood is … normal and I would advise then metaphormin, but in your case …, he wrote something down, … I'll give you metoprolol. Sounds good?

- Whatever you say, doc. I am YOUR patient after all.

- And … don't get too excited if the things don't work out the way you expected them to. It's normal. It's life.

- Thank you doctor. Tony shook hands with Dr. Marvin again.

- Have a nice day then …, Dr. Marvin was now giggling openly after Tony left.

Some months later, Tony appeared all sullen and depressed at Dr. Marvin's office.

- How are you feeling today, my dear Mr. Norman?

- Well … to be honest doc … I don't feel much into talking.

- Oh?, doctor played with his pencil.

- I am now married to Billy!

- Well isn't that great news?, Dr. Marvin tried to cheer his patient up.

- It is, it is … it's just that she is pregnant as well!

- Oh, swell! You are going to become a father Tony! May I call you by your first name?

- Sure doc. He paused, measuring doctor's face. I don't know if it's due to the excitement or otherwise, it's just that lately I've been having "diarrhea" as you doctors would term it.

- It's not something to worry much about. He wrote a prescription down. It is possible that you have been too exerted and overexposed to the emotional stress, that's all. Here.

- What is that?, Tony's voice did not sound so enthusiastic as before.

- It is an opiod drug. Loperadime.

- An "opiod" drug? Like …

- Oh, nothing to worry about my dear Mr. Norman. It will calm you down and you probably won't have much trouble either at the court or with your …

- Diarrhea?

- That's correct!, doctor smiled. And … congratulations on your wife's success!

- Oh, thank you doctor. Tony's enthusiasm returned and he rose, shaking doctor's hand vigorously. Thank you SO much. You just don't know how much this all means to me, doc …

- Sure, sure, doctor kept shaking Tony's hand involuntarily.

- Have Merry Christmas doc!

- Merry Christmas to you too, Tony! After Toy left, Dr. Marvin giggled even more, shaking his head in disbelief.

After couple of months Tony returned to the office, only this time with his wife and their new baby, all wrapped up like a warm bread loaf. Doctor withdrew himself from his chair, approaching and then examining the baby.

- Oh is she ever so cute!, doctor played with Tony's baby. What's her name?

- It is actually he, Tony's wife corrected him.

- Oh, I am sorry. It's just this pink color confused me slightly …

- Well, to be honest doc …, Tony added, … we've been expecting a baby girl, but ...

- … but daddy's genes were more dominant!, Dr. Marvin concluded while Tony's wife giggled, checking on her baby.

- How may I help you today then?, Dr. Marvin took back his seat, grinning curtly. Since you look marvelous and your wife even more, I wonder whether you are at the correct place? He giggled, trying to elate the atmosphere up.

- You see doc …, Tony exhaled, staring at his baby son, … I heard that breastfeeding can cause more anxiety and stress, thus compounding the mood disorder symptoms?

- Well, I …, Dr. Marvin started, frowning a bit, looking at Tony's baby boy.

- Moreover, I even heard that some doctors won't prescribe antidepressants when a mother is nursing, which is one reason why some moms with the anxiety symptoms … wean?

- Yes. That's is true. We are reluctant to prescribe …

- Now … I was wondering .., suddenly Tony had a more serious and more intellectual tone of the voice, almost as if he was completely different man now. He adjusted glasses on his nose, watching a framed picture of the cross sectional female breast on the wall. Is there some natural ingredient we could, I mean …, he glanced at his wife, … that SHE could take so she won't feel anxious so much?

- Well, I suppose there is, it's just …

- Thank you doctor! He shook hands with him as he rose up abruptly from his seat, stunning Dr. Marvin. I KNEW that we could by-pass some new medication! Thank you for being so honest to us! Dr. Marvin shook hands lightly with Tony's wife as well.

- Good bye doctor!, Tony' wife chimed, her baby starting to cry.

- Have a nice day then!, Dr. Marvin was puzzled even more, wondering what it was all about. He rose and then walked toward the window, noticing Tony entered the vehicle first, then exit and helped his wife to accommodate herself with their new baby at the back. Soon they drew away.

After exhaling slowly, shaking his head, Dr. Marvin noticed an eagle flying high above on the sky. It was one of those rare opportunities to spot endangered specie. He squinted, placing hand over his eyes, monitoring the circuitous flight of the predator above. A jet airplane was leaving a white trail behind it, high above on the blue sky.