Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
I glance at my nurse's annotation: "NEW PATIENT—H/O SUBSTANCE
ABUSE. HERE FOR DISABILITY RE-EVAL."
Mr E, a 56-year-old man, enters my examination room. To describe him
as disheveled is to oversimplify. He shuffles toward me in trash-picked sneakers
whose tongues wag for want of laces. His pants bunch at his ankles like an
accordion. Barely clinging to his hips, they drag down his whole being. Nose
to the ground, he is forced to look straight up, past his brow and silver
Afro, just to achieve eye contact. His posture suggests a question mark. He
drools, unable to counter the gravitational pull on his lower lip. Gravity
is the force that brings him to my doorstep. He is truly down and out.
Schillinger D. The Disability Blues. JAMA. 1998;279(1):15. doi:10.1001/jama.279.1.15