Health

Fear and loathing in Ben Carson’s brain

I am Ben Carson’s guilty conscience.

Ben CarsonWith the way things have progressed recently, I have been feeling ever so worse than usual, and it was already pretty rough being me. People don’t know the things that eat at me. If they did, they would wonder how I could sleep at night. All they know is the image that I give them when I hold my head up high every day. All they know is what they believe of me. God bless them, so many of them seem to think the world of me. If only they knew. And then there’s the mockery. That really tears at me because it’s so much closer to who I truly am. I feel like a fraud, a fake, a phony. I feel like I have great talents, and so much to offer to the world, but then so many things I’ve done have gone wrong. I’ve had great responsibility and failed it time and again. I feel like I’ve been advanced way beyond my competence and my expertise. When that has happened before, people died. How many more must die?

What happened? Where did it all go so horribly wrong? I made it through medical school, and all I ever wanted to do was use my talents to save lives. To end suffering. I’ve been a man of faith. And then that family came to me, to us, to help them with their suffering children. Is there anything we could do at all? It couldn’t have been more tragic. These two adorable, angelic babies joined at the back of the head like that, doomed to never crawl or roll over, much less walk. The life those poor children would have led! And the pain of that poor, poor family. Even now I think back to the days when we consulted. The pain in the room was so thick I could cut it with a knife. We’d run all the tests. At least there was hope! There were two brains. But really, we weren’t there yet as surgeons. Nobody was. All we had was desperation and hope. And we did it! In spite of the fact I was basically experimenting on human subjects, those precious little angels, because there was no way to know the outcome, it worked. I was filled with joy. Nobody knows the tears of joy and relief I choked back.

And I walked out of that OR a hero to that family. And to the press. And to everyone who was watching. I’m, I used to be a humble man, but there was nothing like it. So much love and adoration, so much respect.

And I have to live with the fact that after that operation, those precious little angels only suffered. Their family only suffered. One of those babies is dead. The other is…not really with us, in a persistent vegetative state. Their mother, their blessed, tormented mother has spent years wishing she had never gone through with it.

Did I push too hard? Did I push too hard even though I knew the outcome was probably grim? Or did I not push hard enough to warn them of the risks, to not take advantage of them in their desperation and pain? Lord, were you not guiding my hand, after all? I know I tried my very best, and you took them anyway, Lord, in your time, and the family suffers as you will it, for your own reasons.

But most people don’t know that about me, so they keep telling me how wonderful I am! Nobody knows the shame I feel when they do that. I know I should stop them, and say something, anything, the truth of it, so they’ll stop believing I’m something I’m not.

I didn’t know at the time those poor darlings were going to end up like that. I really, really believed I had helped that family. It’s only now that I know how much they still suffer. How do I take that back? And how do I let down all these people by stepping back out of the limelight. They need help. They just think I’m the one to give it to them. They just don’t know.

From the time I did that surgery, there were other treatments and other surgeries, and I know I helped people. Thank you, Lord, for all the times you guided my hand and led me right when treating your children. But there’s also the ones that died. After I saved (saved! That word again!) those babies, we still weren’t there, but I knew I could do better, get better. It was all about improvements and hope. But another family brought me their precious darling babies, and I tried again to do what I could not do, that I wasn’t good enough to do, and those two babies died. And I lost another set of twins, those poor, doomed angels! I console myself that at least one set survived, and that at least one child survived the other, but blind and disabled? Just how much joy should I feel for that?

And people call me a success! Oh, how shamed I feel. Their adulation doesn’t bring me the joy it once did. Now I’m just a pretender, and they can’t see it because I’m not brave enough to stop. And I guess I made enough excuses for it as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone. As long as I was writing and talking, at least I wasn’t experimenting on babies and killing them. And politics is safe, I thought. I just want to help people who are hurting, and if I can advise someone somehow that saves lives or reduces suffering, then that’s thousands of people, millions of people I can help.

And I saw how bad our old insurance market was. I might not know how to run a whole hospital, but I was director after all. I had my fair share of meetings. I knew about budgets. I knew about administrators in other departments. But no, I didn’t know the details. How could I? I didn’t really know their budget needs, just what they requested and justified. I couldn’t know billing and payables and who ran housekeeping or how or where the food in the cafeteria came from. How could I? I was just the director of my own little area of expertise, and I killed so many beautiful children. What could I possibly know about running a place like Johns Hopkins? Much less the whole health industry?

And now people are saying that there is nobody in the country more qualified than me to help with replacing Obamacare. Me! And I can’t blame them for thinking that. I made them believe that. I never gave them a real reason not to. Oh, Lord, I’ve already killed so many, and all I ever wanted to do was help. Were you not guiding my hand those times? I thought you were! How do I know you’ll be guiding my hand this time? How would I know when I’ve never been able to tell before? How many more people am I going to kill this time when I think I’m just helping. How many won’t be able to see a doctor to help them with their suffering? How many won’t be able to afford the tests that might save their lives? All I want to do is help, but I’m afraid. How many of these beautiful children of yours am I going to kill this time, oh Lord? All I wanted to do was help.

That’s all I wanted to do was help. That’s all I wanted to do.

1 reply »

  1. I can’t hit the like button on this one Frank. I read every word twice and enjoyed the perspective but I find the theme completely flawed. Perhaps it’s my own bias in that I like and admire Carson. He’s a good man. I know he’s adamantly pro-life and I disagree with that but it doesn’t negate all the good he’s done.

    He’s performed 17,000 (estimated) pediatric brain surgeries, most successful and you’re zooming in on one experimental procedure that didn’t work out. Can either of us even imagine the skill, the patience, the determination that line of work would entail? The balance sheet of lives saved versus lives lost is so heavily weighted in successes that I can find no fault in his career.

    Now, will he be a good champion in reforming the ACA? I don’t know that but I do know the odds of reformation over repeal are high. Too much work and too many $$$billions have been spent to flat out scrap it. I’ve been a supporter from day one but six years into it and it’s obvious it needs serious tweaking. Compared to Huckabee, Jindal, and Scott I think Ben Carson would be a brilliant choice to lead Health & Human Services.

    Thanks for the brain food!…Oh what the hell. I went back and hit the “like” button because you made me think 8^)

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