A consultant psychologist pictured enjoying a well-earned break in Sierra Leone last night.
The Memoirs Of A Consultant Psychologist
I well remember an unusual case that we had in the late 90’s. There was a young man, – aged about 30 if memory serves me correctly, who after being struck on the head with a frozen haddock as he was walking past Billingsgate market, became convinced that he was a 17th century pirate.
This delusion would only show itself at certain times and for most of the day he would appear to be quite unremarkable. He didn’t change his appearance and was quite lucid and rational, indeed one would not suspect that he had an affliction of any sort.
His occupation was that of a ‘Team member’ at one of the McDonalds restaurants in central London, and his duties included the serving of customers with their orders, which normally wasn’t a problem, except when someone ordered a ‘Filit-o-fish’.
This request would trigger in him the delusion that he was a pirate on the high seas and quite often he would launch into a frenzied diatribe.
“FILIT-O-FISH! he would scream at the customer. “WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT FISH, YER SCURVY CUR. WHY I’LL TEAR YER GUTS FROM YER BELLY AND STRING THEM FROM THE MIZZEN-MAST YER COWERING DOG.”
This would then inevitably be followed by him spitting into the customer’s palm and informing them that they would be sailing at high tide.
This of course was of some concern to his employer, and although in most cases where an employee is useless at his job he would be promoted to management, (worked for me) McDonalds resisted this course of action and he was removed from the company pay-roll.
He was referred to me for treatment and I tried a number of different types of medication on him, all alas to no avail. One of the problems was the need to observe whether the drugs were working or not and this could only be measured by provoking an attack and hoping that the current medication would produce no response to it. In order to do this, my assistant Miss Bloombridge would attract his attention by waving a mackerel from one end of the ward while I observed from the other end; – Poor Miss Bloombbridge stank of fish for 2 months and would often be followed on the Underground by stray cats and tramps, all the while with the patient’s cries of “AAARRRGH, YER LILLY-LIVERED LAND-LUBBER” and the like, ringing in her ears.
Quite by accident a partial cure presented itself to us one day. Within the grounds of the hospital was a fish pond, and although the fish within were clearly visible, the sight of them had no adverse effect on the patient. It was realized that the trigger effect of fish could be drastically reduced if said fish were in water, or possibly it was the calming effect of the water being within the patient’s field of vision. In order to test this theory I managed to get the hospital trust to fork out for a weekend in Torquay for the patient, along with myself and my assistant. – If you are ever down that way I can recommend Taylor’s Hotel & Restaurant – excellent steak, reasonable champagne and very creative billing that will pass the bean-counters when you submit your expense account.
It all went swimmingly, if you will excuse the aquatic terminology. The sight of water kept our charge calm and rational no matter how many fish were waved at him. As a result I was able to recommend that the patient be released into the community with the proviso that any employment be either water-borne or within sight of a large body of water, and after pulling a few strings at the Lodge, I managed to get our charge taken on by one of the dredgers on the Thames.
And that was that, another successful treatment carried out, or so I thought.
However, after only two days into his new job, my patient was returned to my care after leaping onto a sight-seeing river boat as it passed under Vauxhall Bridge and forcing an elderly American woman tourist to walk the plank.
We had to kill him in the end of course.
Gary Moore ‘Churchmouse’