On the 8th floor of St Luke’s hospital, a group of students and an adult are seen making their way down a wide hallway that is lined by patient rooms on one side and nursing stations, storage and rest rooms on the other side. John, the adult among the group, turned around, and smiled at the students walking behind him before continuing down the hallway. The students followed him. He had just finished showing them the residents’ lounge. Suddenly, Dr. Einstein appeared from around the corner of an intersecting hallway and approached the group. When he got closer, John stopped to exchange pleasantries.
“Good morning Dr. Einstein” He greeted
“A Pleasant morning to you John.” Dr. Einstein hailed back. “Are you done with the assignment?”
“What assignment?” John asked
“That’s okay. I will ask Meg.” Dr Einstein waved as he walked past the group.
John swirled around and smiled again at the group behind him. Some smiled back. He continued further down the hallway and turned his head slightly to spy over his shoulders.
He noticed the students still behind him and frowned. He walked a few steps further, this time a little faster.
“I can’t take this anymore.” He whispered to himself
“Why are you following me?” He turned and asked the group.
There were puzzled looks in the small group.
“Uhmm, because you’re our tour guide?” A beautiful tall lady replied from among them
“Am I?” John asked looking surprised “Well, no one asked me but I can help show you around. I know every bit of this hospital.”
“I bet you do.” One little guy smirked.
John had stepped into work that day having his usual confidence that he will do well and finish his task before the medical team start their rounds. He is a housekeeper, which means he makes sure the unit floor ran smoothly everyday. Part of his job includes coordinating the cleaners and re-supplying the floor with cleaning supplies. He has done this job long enough that he is familiar with all the teams in the oncology unit.
It is hard sometimes to distinguish what John exactly does on the hospital floors because he is asked to do other odd jobs that were not originally in his job description and he doesn’t mind as long as they keep him busy. Unfortunately, he is also well known for something else.
“Here, move closer all of you.” He beckoned on the students. “Has anyone showed you around the infusion center yet?”
“No.” They chorused
“We are hoping you would show us the interesting places around here.” Another girl added.
“Sure, I’d be glad to. This hospital was established in 1932 by two brothers, the Baileys. Both of their parents and sister had passed away from colon cancer. Those losses were their major inspiration to study medicine and find answers to…wait, who do you all say you are again?” He interrupted his story to ask.
There was an awkward silence for a second. Some were puzzled while a few of the students started to giggle. They thought it was funny.
Ed, the oldest looking boy in the group, stepped forward and calmly explained.
“Mr. John, we are students from Lincoln High, and we’re here on tour of this hospital. You were asked to show us around the oncology unit because our original tour guide could not come in today.”
If Ed had not figured out what was happening, he’d also think John was being stupid, rude or simply funny, but John seemed to have a medical condition similar to that of his grandpa. Ed’s grandpa suffer from memory issues and it started after he had an accident with a significant blow to his head also known as head trauma. Ed had helped with taking care of grandpa Dou during the past summer holidays, so he quickly recognized the symptoms.
“Ed!” Grandpa Dou had called out one day from his rocking chair while drawing from his pipe and puffing out a thick fume into the air in his face.”Get me my chop.” Ed was home alone with grandpa Dou but was not near to hear him call. Instead the neighborhood delivery boy, who happened to be dropping off their wood supply at that moment, answered. Everyone knows grandpa’s chop meant his herbal chewing stick. The young local also figured this out quickly and fetched him a single stick from the backyard kitchen. Dou collected the stick, dropped it on a stool next to his chair and retrieved some cash from his wallet for the boy. As the young lad readied to leave, grandpa called again for his chop, the boy retrieved another stick and got paid. He was being paid for the third stick when Ed walked in.
“Pop, what are you paying Rico for?”
“He bought me my chop.” Dou replied
“No grandpa, we have your chop in the kitchen.” Ed was still speaking when the boy took off as fast as he could. That was one of many occasions when grandpa Dou has been taken advantage of for his poor memory.
Grandpa Dou was 62 years old when his symptoms started and 12 years later it hasn’t gotten any better. Curiosity lead Ed into researching his grandpa’s memory loss and found that his symptoms closely match the kind called anterograde amnesia, where he has difficulty forming new memories. However, knowing that grandpa Dou’s condition was most likely caused by his accident he has no fear of genetic transmission. Today, after encountering John his tour guide, he wondered what the story behind John’s memory loss could be.
Okay, the above story is purely fiction. The goal is to educate via storytelling. I am pro-storytelling so if I could be a teacher, the curriculum will probably support this approach. I mean if it’d help knowledge stick faster then why not. Please, Let me know what you think.