How the Ghost Stole Pain Care

by Dr James Patrick Murphy

(…with apologies to the beloved Dr Seuss)



Every Loo-ee-ville doctor liked pain care a lot,
But the chilling pain ghost of the clinic did not.

The ghost hated pain pills, no matter the season,
If you want to know why, I will tell you the reason.

The children-proof caps didn’t screw on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that the threads were too tight.

Or maybe the banshee’s screams were in vain,
‘Cause no one believed that he had phantom pain.

But really the most likely reason of all,
Was that his dose was two sizes too small.

So whatever the reason, the dose or the threads,
He haunted the clinic, so hating the meds.

“And they come from this doctor,” the spook snarled with a sneer.
“But it’s All Hallow’s Eve, I don’t think he is here.”

Then he growled with his ghost fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find a way to keep pain care from coming.”

For tomorrow he knew, after paying their bills,
They would line up quite early and pay cash for their pills.

And then oh the pills. Oh the pills, pills, pills, pills.
That’s one thing he hated. The pills, pills, pills, pills.

And then they’d do something he liked least of all.
Every patient in pain, the tall and the small,
Would walk close together, sit down and sit up,
Then go to the bathroom and pee in a cup.

They’d pee and they’d pee, and they’d pee, pee, pee, pee.

And the more it looked like an illegal drug ring,
The more the ghost thought, “I must stop this whole thing.”

Then he got an idea – an awful idea.

“I know just what to do.” The spook laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick surgical hat and white coat.

And he snickered and sneered like a sly apparition,
“With this coat they will think that I am a physician.”

“All I need is a pad.” So the ghost looked around.
But since script pads are scarce there were none to be found.

Did that stop the sly spook? No! The poltergeist said,
“If I can’t find a script pad, I’ll make one instead.”

The clerk’s window was closed. She was not in her chair,
So he entered the hall to see who was there.

“Ah, no one’s around,” the fake doctor ghost hissed,
So he slid to the storeroom, and looked at his list.

Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile that was ample,
Around the whole room, and he took every sample.

And he stuffed them in bags, and then fast as a rocket,
Stuffed all the drugs, one by one, in his pocket.

He cleaned out the closet as quick as a scream.
Why, that ghost even took all the cups for drug screens.

And the ghoul grabbed the x-ray, and started to shove,
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.

He turned around fast and heard a “What do?”
From a young ingénue who was new to the crew.

The fake had been caught by this little nurse daughter,
Who’d come from her desk for a cup of cold water.

She asked the old phantom, “Oh doctor, oh my!
Why are you taking our x-ray? Why? Why?”

But you know that old ghost was so smart and so slick,
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick.

“Why, my sweet little nurse,” the fake spirit doc lied,
“There’s a screen on this thing that won’t light on one side.
So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
I’ll fix it up there, then I’ll bring it back here.”

And his fib fooled the nurse. Then he opened her hand,
And stuck in some records and sent her to scan.

The last thing he left was the pain legislation,
To torment and trigger the doc’s resignation.

Then on to his ivory tower he flew,
To judge those below from his smug point of view.

It was quarter past dawn when the patients arrived,
And many soon after with friends by there side.

The doctors and nurses and other commuters,
Found nary a trace of their pens or computers.

The unfriendliest part of the pending disaster,
Was the ghost left no way to check-up on a KASPER.

“Pooh-pooh to the staff,” he was ghoulishly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no pain care is coming.”

“They will just walk away, and that’s what they’ll do.
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
And the staff will all cry a crescendo BOO-HOO!”

“That’s a noise,” grinned the ghost, “that I simply must hear.”
So he paused, and the ghost put a hand to his ear.

And he did hear a sound that was not apropos.
It started out low, then it started to grow.

But the sound wasn’t sad. Why, this sound sounded merry.
It couldn’t be so. But it was merry! VERY!

He stared down at the clinic. The ghost popped his eyes.
Then he shook. What he saw was a shocking surprise.

Everyone at the clinic, the tall and the small,
Was treating the pain without pain pills at all!

He hadn’t stopped pain care from coming. It came!
Somehow or the other, it came just the same!

And the ghost, who had back pain from eons ago,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, “How could it be so?”

“It came without money from paying the bills!”
“It came without lidocaine, needles or pills!”

And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the ghost thought of something he hadn’t before.

“Maybe pain care doesn’t come from a store.
Pain care, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

And the reason’s as clear as the smiles that were there,
No one cares what you know till they know that you care.

And what happened then, well, in this town they say,
His ghoulish bad disk shrunk three sizes that day.

And the minute his back didn’t feel quite so broken,
He flew back inside through the door that was open.

And he brought back the pills, and was nice as a pup
And he, he himself, the ghost peed in the cup.









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