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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)

TITLE: Carstone’s ‘Doctorphobia’
By Daniel Owino Ogweno


Hysline had seen McCospin through the window, seated at the table with his Bible. She knocked and turned the handle. The door wasn’t locked. She pushed it open and proceeded on in.

She felt ignored. Deeply absorbed, McCospin never realised his momentary irresponsiveness to Hysline’s entry was too long a wait for her.

When he finally raised his head to face her, she complained, “McCos, you’ve read that Bible day in day out. What don’t you know in it? And, aren’t you already good enough to enter heaven?”

“How long have you stood there?” McCospin inquired, resisting temptation to ‘defend’ his Bible-reading and ‘perspectivise’ his being ‘good enough for heaven’.

“So, looks like you’ve been somewhere”, he said, declining her offer to debate him on why he should stop too much Bible-reading.

“I have been to the doctor”, she answered.

“Why? You look fine. Is there some problem?” He probed.

“Looking fine!” She exclaimed, looking surprised. “That is the illusion of which I learnt a lesson from Carstone. He even looked healthy the very day he died”.

That comment was chilling, subduing any deceptive feeling one might have of being fine. They spontaneously kept silent for a minute or so—in memory of Carstone, a young man who had everything going for him until a bug that had been hiding in his body snapped his life.

“Only one wise thing to do”. It was solemn as Hysline announced her resolve. “I’ll not wait for surprises. I’ll have routine consultations and examinations with my personal doctor.

Carstone’s problem was discovered four months before he died. It could have been discovered much earlier but any mention of ‘doctor’ would make him shriek. When he finally went for examination, he was nervous enough to be subjected to more alarms. His being nervous was historical—it had nothing to do with perceiving his condition as serious.

He received medication that could have saved his life. He was, however, deceived by his looking fine. The doctor, an acquaintance of his family, succumbed to his parents’ advice not to tell him anything alarming since he could get pretty phobic with doctors.

Ignorant of the severity of his condition, Carstone never routinely took his medicines as was prescribed.

Hysline who had known Carstone from their childhood, briefed McCospin on the history of what she called ‘Carstone’s doctorphobia’. The doctor knew about this phobia.

Carstone’s “doctorphobia” started as result of a mistake his parents admitted making when he was a little boy. Realising that he was scared of injections, whenever he misbehaved, his parents would “scare” him, “You better behave yourself because if you don’t we’ll call the doctor to have you injected”.

“It’s heart-rending how sometimes we make mistakes without realising it. Worst still is that we may not get second chance to right the wrong”, Hysline concluded.

“And that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all these years”, McCospin said.

“What do you mean? I hope you aren’t beginning a sermon out of this”, Hysline retorted.

“Admit it. You’re ‘Christophobic’. Carstone had reasons to be “doctorphobic”—you don’t, yet justified or not, fear only kept him from doctors who could save his life”.

“I know what you’re getting at”, she protested.

McCospin ignored her protests and continued, “You remember 2001 at the Cilwood Park. They threw rotten eggs at the preacher who lovingly told them that if they don’t get saved they’d most assuredly go to hell? You supported them saying it was cruel for the preacher to alarm them. He was the doctor who, unlike Carstone’s case, told his patients that if they don’t take medication, they would most assuredly die.”

Hysline, who had now exchanged positions with McCospin—she was sitting on the chair he had been sitting on and he was standing where she had been standing—bowed her head on the open Bible in front of her. Her resistance of the gospel had crumbled.

McCospin continued, “You want to avert surprises on your ‘health’, yet unbothered by imminent surprises on your ‘life’ You have a personal doctor, what about a Personal Saviour who’s all round enough to be, most literally, your Personal Doctor as well?

Hysline’s eyes were fasted on the open Bible in front of her. “I didn’t know why I came but now I do—I came here to hear what I have heard. Look! The page you were reading! It’s answering my concern over your ‘too much Bible-reading’. This makes sense” (see 2 Peter 1:3-8 NIV).

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Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood11/09/06
Good dialog and great analogies!

This story began to draw me in at the introduction of the character with "doctorphobia" and the explanation for how this started in his childhood. Also enjoyed the vivid description of the park preacher pelted with eggs. I'd like to see one of these colorful characters introduced at the story's opening...leading later on into the issue discussed by the main characters.
Marilyn Schnepp 11/14/06
Creative and unique take on subject. Very interesting. My only suggestion: Wish you had written Scripture in Footnote...now I've got to go look it up. Nice job.