A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne
K. Young, Associate Editor.
“Bachelor's, master's, PhD, damn bachelor's, master's, PhD," my
patient muttered as he paced the hall of the locked hospital ward. He said
little else, ever, other than to echo the words of others. Invariably he would
conclude his utterances with a sometimes hushed, sometimes hollered "Damn
bachelor's, master's, PhD." Occasionally he called out "John Hill!" his name,
as though it was a distant beacon for his evanescing self.
John was tall and almost bald. As he paced, his searching gaze wandered
from the doors of the ward to the carpet in front of his feet. Whenever I
crossed his well-worn path, he looked up and smiled lightly. His smile was
also only an echo of my own. John's vacuous blue eyes never changed; they
never expressed even a glimmer of recognition.
Whiteman S. Lost by Degrees. JAMA. 2000;284(23):2974-2975. doi:10.1001/jama.284.23.2974