Gail, Frances - 03 Her knowledge of his return from his travels
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Dr George Sava - A Surgeon remembers
The more I thought of it, the more uneasy I became, and I cursed myself for being a weak fool to give way to her persuasion [to give her an operation]. Here was I committed, to all intents and purposes, to carrying out an operation for I barely knew what. It would have been ludicrous if it had not been fraught also with danger. Again and again in the next few weeks the memory of that fantastic promise returned to me, disturbing my peace and arousing anxiety; even in far-away south America, among strange and exciting scenes, it came back to me, so that I was almost reluctant to return home.
By the time I returned to England, however, I had managed to dismiss it from my mind, and nothing in those first few busy days of picking up again the threads of my practice served to remind me. But this forgetfulness- which the psychologists may feel was purposive and a defence mechanism against something I did not wish to face – was not to save me.
This was another of the curious features that shot this case through and through at every stage.
Within less than a week of my return a trunk call came through for me, and I heard the low voice of Frances Gail.
By some means or other she knew I was back. Could she come to see me the following week? Then everything came back to me with unpleasant force. I was again in the midst of a nightmare.
There was no backing out; I had given a promise and I must abide by it. My one desperate hope was that the X-rays might reveal some condition that decisively contraindicated surgical treatment. But I knew this wish to be mere self delusion…………………..
[the X-ray is taken]
Now, on the history- of the case and the opinions that had been expressed, I had not expected much of this examination. I have said that, from first to last, this was a case of surprises, and now another was in store. For if the oracle had refused to speak when the other specialists consulted it, this time it gave its message in no uncertain terms. It needed no highly- trained eye to see at a glance what was the cause of Mrs. Gail's trouble. There were the characteristic signs of arthritis of the vertebrae, which, by causing pressure on the spinal cord, gave rise to the exquisite pain which she had been enduring for so long. I stared dumbfounded at the prints until I remembered that it was some time since her last X-ray examination and that now the condition had become chronic and revealed itself clearly.
If one part of my problem was solved-the diagnosis- another and more troublesome one remained. What was I to do about it? Certainly chronic arthritis of this kind can be treated surgically, but the condition and the treatment never call for any sort of optimism. Yet I had given my word that if an operable condition was demonstrated I would take the case in hand.