Lying… A strong smell of perfume filled the room as she entered. She was a slightly overweight, very stylishly dressed woman around 75 years of age. With her superior attitude she displayed an elite personality.
“She said: “I have a depression that is resistant to treatment! I have been suffering from it for years. There is no doctor I haven’t been to. I have heard of you and thought I’ll try, perhaps you’ll find a remedy.” The words she used, the jargons etc gave the impression that she had something to do with medicine. It was not long after, when she said she used to be a professor of gynaecology. In one breath she mentioned the names of many professors. When we proceeded to the details of her illness she expressed them faultlessly. But when one stepped back and looked again, one could feel there was something strange about her. Her family tree went back to the old Ottomans. Anyhow, to cut it short, it turned into a long discussion with this authoritarian professor, a representative of olden times, a person who wanted to be in control of everything. In the end I expressed my opinion. We looked at the theories regarding resistance to treatment etc from very scientific points of view. We consulted with regards to treatment. In the end she stood up to leave the room. I too stood up. With great efforts I accompanied her to the door. She made a move for me to kiss her hand and touch my forehead with it. I thought she is a lady and it may be embarrassing to her, otherwise I would have done it, instead I politely shook her hand and guided her out. A few minutes later a middle-aged man came in. “I want to talk to you about the woman who just left” he said. I told him that I do not wish to talk about my patients. He replied that his intention was not to ask for information about the patient but rather to give me information. When he also said that he was her son I was left with no choice but to ask him in. “She told you that she is a professor, did she not?” he asked. Without waiting for my reply he continued “a professor of gynaecology?” He mentioned her Ottoman past, the other professors of medicine she named, everything that she had mentioned, and finally with a slightly indifferent but ashamed expression on his face he said: “They are all lies! I felt as if I had received a slight electrical shock. Apparently she was giving the same story to every doctor she had been visiting over the years. What should I do? I thought about it, and decided to not do anything until the next session, but to schedule the next session for the very next day. After a review process that lasted many days the outcome was a great big syphilis! My patient was not lying. She was filling the gaps in her memory. I have seen many liars during my professional life. But none was happy… Some like our professor were in an organic, some in a social and some in a psychological predicament.