The Mind is a Weirdo

April 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Red Queen from Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland".

We were having lunch, chatting about the day’s work as usual. Little did we know we’d soon realize we were all weirdos. It started with K’s story.

She had photographed a patient she was absolutely sure she had met before. The patient said that could not be possible as she had never been photographed at the hospital. But K was insistent. “Maybe you’ve met one of my kids?” the patient said. “They were born with some of the same problems as me.” “No, I know it was you, K replied. “Your face looks so familiar.”

Left quite puzzled after the photo shoot, K went back to her database to check. Seemed like the patient was right, there were no photos of anyone with that family name. A bit frustrated she then searched for the patient’s diagnosis, to check if the name had been entered wrong or something.

When the search results materialized on the screen she blushed. Every single one of the photos could have been that patient, but none of them were. The patient’s diagnosis was Treacher Collins Syndrome, a syndrome with very characteristic craniofacial deformities.

The story got C started. “You know what,” he said. “I watched ‘Alice in Wonderland’ the other day, and all I could think of when I saw the Red Queen with her larger than normal head was those kids with craniosynostosis.” (photo credit)

The strange association made me remember one I’d had myself. I was scheduled to shoot two patients who were both in the middle of sex reassignment treatment. One of them was becoming a man and the other a woman.

By chance they happened to turn up at the studio at the same time, and for the rest of the day I could not stop thinking that the two of them were not changing sex, they were swapping. As if the surgeon had told them to find someone to swap with first, if they wanted to change sex.

The mind sure works in mysterious ways, especially if you work at a hospital.

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