Loukouras and the Cushing syndrome

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Loukouras, eminent orthopedist, maintained a doctor's office in the central square of Fanaroupolis. His office was located in an very old, filthy, spidery apartment building, and was quite high, that you could gaze at the noisy life of urban everyday life through the glass. Its furniture was old-fashioned, although lordly. Heavy, Carved furniture filled the office space, with the office and library being the most voluminous and impressive. The library covered almost the entire wall of the room, and was overloaded with old books, mainly medical, at least as it depicted a carved image on the back of the books, because the words were neither in Greek nor in English. However, a shelf of the entire library, covered a number of marketing manuals, admittedly somewhat out of place with the style of a doctor's office, but indicative of Loukoura's interests.

In front of the library, the office was located, big enough too, did not escape the aesthetics of other furniture. There were papers on the desk, the daily newspaper, a half-finished Greek coffee and a tiny appointment notebook. So small that it disappears instantly even in a wallet, so that Loukouras avoids extraordinary controls by the tax office. There was also a table lamp, an old telephone, although with buttons, not with the old analog dial, and next to it a hanging wooden pencil case, gift from his wife from Stockholm. He had it filled with pens and pencils and in a small hook, he had also attached a paper cutter that stood menacingly over his office papers.

On the edge of the desk, was an old, dusty computer whose only purpose was for Loukouras to see his e-mail. It had these old ones with the cathode ray tube for display and it looked quite heavy, at least in appearance. The keyboard had changed color from the coffees that had been spilled on it and apparently there was no mood to clean it. However, the computer was always open, with the mail program active and dozens of unread advertising messages from pharmaceutical companies. Few other machines were in the doctor's office, and only one recliner with paper spread on it, set it apart from a law office.

Very close to retirement now, Loukouras had made a reputation, which ensured him a comfortable life. Relatively tall, with gray hair and beard, with a penetrating look, he had now become slow in his movements. But he continued to have an air of walking and general behavior, which made his interlocutors feel out of place every time they stood in front of him to talk to them. He was one of those people who, because of the way they speak, you do not object to, making it clear from the first conversations that the controversy is at least useless, if not a revolutionary act. Especially, in matters relating to medicine, the life, the economy, the politics… Actually, Loukouras had a wide range of views on various issues and there were few areas where he would hear someone to say his opinion. Most of the time, his views, monopolized the debate.

Although his knowledge had remained practically the same from his student years, which he seldom renewed from medical leaflets that fell into his hands, maintained a large clientele, mainly of the elderly. Respected elders men, noble ladies, they almost blindly obeyed his authority, which was accentuated by his glare and his stern tongue. His remarks were not limited to issues related to his medical capacity, but he also had an opinion about their personal issues. He was arguing with them about anything: For their relationships, for the management of their finances, for their business. There were not a few who had blushed with shame for the mistakes they had made in their lives…

In fact, once, he had been called by a psychologist to ask for information about a former Loukoura client. Retired teacher the former client, had gone to see him for problems on his waist . And because the client's problem required many visits, Loukouras took care of him during each visit “adorns” with cosmetic adjectives and harsh criticism of the luxurious life he led when he was a practicing teacher. One afternoon in fact, at one of his office visits, the conversation brought it that when he was working in a school in the neighboring prefecture he was going back and forth in his private car. Loukouras became furious. Some of the adjectives, who recruited to adorn him, it was arrogant, the well-educated, the greedy, the fool. The last adjective connected it with the disease of the waist, because Loukouras now came to the clear conclusion that the back pain is due to the long hours of driving that school year. Obviously the teacher had the choice of the bus, but he did not know how well educated he was then. The psychologist, who was well on his way with the teacher, thanked Loukouras for the information he gave him, which the latter remembered because only two weeks had passed since the last visit of his patient…

Specialized in orthopedics from a foreign institution of the former eastern bloc, created its clientele in wealthy seasons, between decades 80 and 90. After the outbreak of the financial crisis, he was forced to enter the list of contracted doctors of Greek State. But he had never been able to overcome the low subscription of the bankrupt Greek state.. The others are fine… let them live poor… But what about him;;; A doctor with such experience;;; He used to paid 100 euro every visit… Now each visit brought him crumbs, patients fell short, so something had to be done to justify the extra pocket money he would ask patients… Regular visit was free, obviously, after the fund covered it. With this something that should be thinking of, patients should not be intolerant, and it should not cost him effort and money. The point was to get money of a bankrupt society without having to work harder. So he decided to inject a cortisone for any disease. The injection would be charged to the patient and would not cost him more than 2 minutes of the hour. Almost everywhere he found an excuse to inject, and in fact in several doses. Fracture; Cortisone… Dislocation; Cortisone… Rupture; Cortisone… And his medical motto was now:  The visit is free (because of the list of contracted doctors), the injection is charged… And if any patient found that 50 euros for each injection that lasted 2 minutes were too many, he had already copied a buzzword from an engineer who had done a homework for him and adapted it to medical records: “Injection pressure costs 2 euro, knowledge of where to press the injection costs 48 euro”.

That night, it had taken him late… The appointments were too many, after the three days he had gone to Arachova, with his family… The nearby offices were empty. His body felt heavy... Besides, after 9 o' clock, every hour seemed like a century to him, as the years had passed… It was 10 o' clock and he had two more appointments… The next one was delayed… Although he knew it was the case: Free visit - injection is charged, he was irritated by the inconsistency and had decided to bring him back, while it was not needed, for an extra injection.

His irritation interrupts, the phone ringing… He was the inconsistent… He would not come… Something happened to him, he says… After the inconsistency, the rejection was the second worst thing that could have happened to him. Yes it was true. Canceling an appointment was a rejection for Loukouras. He felt his nerves stretch and he had a headache, but restrained, did not insult him… He did not even say something offensive or derogatory. He thought it was an opportunity to rest a little, until the last appointment. He hung up the phone and leaned over his papers and medical leaflets. He felt his waist bothering him… He could hear his heart… He thought he should have already retired… But who can live with pensions?;  And his patients?; What would they do without him?; Who could they trust?;

His thoughts were interrupted, by loud knocks on his door. Surprised, Loukouras shouted: Who is there?;;; Who is there?;;; New knocks on the door… Lots of hits, definitely not from two hands, not even from four. He gets up, go behind the door. His agitation was intensified by the thought that he must have been left alone in the old apartment building, at such an hour., since it had only offices, which had been closed for some time. He was really terrorized when he realized that those who had been knocking on the door before, now they were pushing it…

Like the whole apartment building, so the door of his office was old and dilapidated. After all, there was nothing to protect that had value in this doctor's office and so Loukouras never thought of replacing it.. But for the first time he thought that the greatest value has something that, right now is behind the door. And it is his own life… He shouted loudly in a trembling voice: What do you want;;; Leave, "I will call the police". But the pushing became more and more violent… Loukouras knew that the door would not last… He runs to his office phone… He picks up the phone…

The door suddenly opens with a click of something metallic that breaks. Three huge men in front and two desperate women enter the doctor's office. Their form was scary and they all looked alike, as if they had come out of a mold. They were all bald, with disgusting pimples on the face. Their faces were round and red. They had huge bellies, while their ends were long and thin. Their bodies had a kyphosis that made them even more menacing. Their ages were indefinite due to the deformity of their faces. They wore black clothes and had their hands in the pockets of their jackets. They all looked at the old orthopedist with a plain look and approached him slowly, but decisive steps.

Loukouras at the sight of these strange creatures was frozen and left with the headset in hand. He could not chant the slightest thing… He knew that he had no longer time to call the police. His hands were shaking and these scary creatures were approaching him. The headset, slips out of his hand and falls to the floor. Loukouras did not even hear the click it made. Fleeting thoughts occupied him and he was lost for fractions of a second in an internal isolation. He was urgently looking for something that could save him. He was too old to shout and be heard all the way to the street. There was definitely no one in the apartment building at this time. But even if he caught an object to defend himself he could not put up with these five creatures.

He was stuck back in the library with his eyes rolled. He felt his heart leave him… As if fading slowly, with beats that slowed their pace. Cold sweat had bathed him… His thoughts returned when they approached him within breathing distance… He could also distinguish details from their faces. They were even scarier up close, with pimples on the face not reminiscent of something ordinary but like deep holes and not something superficial on the skin. Eventually he gathered all the strength he had left, and more as a question than as an attempt to escape, he managed to chant: “What are you?; What do you want;” One of them, the closest one, looked at him with a look as if trying to look behind Loukouras and spoke in a heavy voice: “What you did to us, this will get you too… Visit and injection…”. And at once, they all take their hands out of their pockets shaking an injection. They surround him menacingly, the two of them each hold one hand and the one who spoke first injects the injection into Loukouras' cheek. A cry of pain, of fear and despair comes out of his lips... He raised his head sharply…

He is sitting at his desk… Blood is coming out of his cheek… The paper cutter has fallen from the floating wooden pencil case and is at his desk with two drops of blood on it. The computer screen is open, with the latest email, foreground,  sent by a medical journal. Message title: Side effects of cortisone and Cushing's syndrome. In the attachments of the message, pictures of people with this syndrome. Loukouras was upset with the resemblance… As if these digital figures came out of the screen, they acquired flesh and bones and haunted his nightmare. With trembling hands he grabs the keyboard… Create new message… To - e.pharmakeio@gmail.com Theme: Order cancellation 50 injectable drugs of 100mg…


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