Magic in Medicine (with videos)
Hands fascinate me. There’s almost nothing we cannot do with them. People can draw, can cross-stitch, can create, can help and can give with hands. They can also destroy, push down, and hurt with them. So much love or disgust can be transferred from a single touch. I just find them incredible. So much is expressed and done through them. Personally, I am always attracted to hobbies that involve using my hands.
And that’s kind of how I got into magic many years ago. There were a bunch of reasons, but probably what drove me to just start it was the fact that it was hand-based. Sleight of hand is amazing. I have the ability to create seemingly impossible moments and real live emotions with my hands (I mean, how is that even possible?).
I think of it as surgery to be honest. Many months and even years of practice go into something the person won’t even see. They just feel the outcome. Sleight of hand artists will probably relate the most (sorry about that). It’s just hard to explain. I can talk about surgery all day and night, but until you see it yourself, it just won’t click. It’s the same with magic.
Thus, here are 2 stories of my emotional surgery on patients. One where magic proved beneficial, and one where frankly, well, I’ll let you decide.
(if you would like to support me and watch more awesome magic, give me a follow on Instagram @AyyubImtiaz7) [patient details are not given as a form of confidentiality. If you think the information provided will be enough to identify the patient, please inform me and I shall remove the respective content]
Just finished taking history from an elderly lady with chronic constant cough.
“Thank you so much for answering my questions. That’s about everything I needed to ask, are there any questions you want to ask me?”
“No, but I do have some advice for you, young man. Get out of habit of smoking as soon as you can. Look at me, I’ve been smoking all these years and now I’m in a hospital bed.”
“Thanks for the advice, but don’t worry; I won’t even start smoking.”
“Don’t lie to me boy. I can see the packet of cigarettes in your pocket right there.”
She points to my lab coat pocket.
“Oh this? This is a deck of cards, not cigarettes.”
“What are you? Some kind of magician?”
“Haha. Yeah, you could say.”
“Perform a trick then! Come on, I want to see one now.”
She pulled herself up into a sitting position. Even her personal nurse was kind of taking interest.
What’s one trick going to do? Let’s do it!
“Wow that was nice! Thanks.”
“No problem. It’s always nice to insert a little magic into someone’s life.”
She sighed heavily. “Yes, thank you. My life hasn’t been very magical lately.”
I got a little concerned. I sat down next to her.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m so old now. All I do is get sick. My grandchildren don’t want to spend time with me. (I honestly don’t remember everything she said. But she listed things for a good minute or two) It’s just not magical anymore. Nothing interesting happens. I’m just going through my remaining days in life.”
“Just the fact we are living is pure magic, I would say. We feel and taste and smell and see and everything! We are surrounded in pure magic. I don’t think saying there’s nothing magical anymore is beneficial. As a magician, I need to direct and gaze your attention and focus to where I want it to be while I do some uninteresting business in the background. I believe we get so caught up and absorbed into the boring background trying to catch the funny moves the magician is doing, that we forget to focus on where the actual magic is happening. We forget that magic is actually all around us. We just need to focus on those points. Maybe we need someone to guide us and remind us of those points where life is magical, but to say it isn’t at all; ouch, that makes me sad too. All we have to do it look, and focus on the right areas I believe.”
She smiled. “Yeah, maybe.”
Her nurse signaled me to stop talking and asked the lady if she was okay.
“Yes, I am fine, why?”
“You just haven’t coughed for some time, I was getting worried,” said the nurse.
Her eyes lit up and she straightened her spine and a huge smile magically appeared on the patient’s face. She was ecstatic.
“Yeah. Yeah, you’re right!”
“See? Magic.” I said smiling.
She just looked at me silently.
“It was my pleasure. I should get going now.”
We had teaching sessions, and so we took a case outside of our unit. Just before we all left he stopped me.
“Hey, could you explain what’s wrong with me? Everyone’s speaking a language I don’t understand.”
“Oh of course! Give me a few minutes to read your file.”
I read his file and sat down to explain everything. It was a little complicated.
“Ah okay, I think I get it now. Thanks.”
“Okay, I’m going to go then. Take care.”
“Hey, wait. You seem like a nice guy. Do you have money?”
“Haha why? Need some change for the vending machines?”
“No. I don’t have money for surgery.”
I sat down on a close by chair.
“What surgery?” (this wasn’t mentioned in the file)
He told me that a surgical option was provided to him, however he didn’t have money for it. And from what he had judged from what the doctor was saying, this was the only best way forward.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m allowed to provide money for patients at my current status. There is a patients helping fund society here, have you tried contacting them? I can give you their contact information.”
“Yeah I did. They only gave me this much.”
He pulls out a paper from his drawer. It covered only 2% of the cost.
I asked him why they couldn’t give more and he explained to me some certain conditions that need to be met in order for full of half payments. Basically, he didn’t fit into any category, and so by default he’s placed under those capable of paying for themselves.
“Well, do you have any savings? I know this might not be the best of options, but if you are really considering the surgery you’ll need to take some funds out of there.”
“I don’t have any savings here. I send them all back to my wife and daughter in my home country. I want to be able to send my daughter for further education, so I’m saving for that.”
I didn’t know what to say. I had never been in a situation like this.
“You know, if I commit suicide at work, then they have to classify it as a work-related death. There is compensation for my family which won’t be much but it is something. This way I don’t have to worry about the surgery.”
Wait. Did he just say what I think he did?
“Hey, let’s think this through before we jump to any decisions.”
“I have thought this through. I’m currently not in a position where doing something else would result in the most benefits for my family.”
He was so calm. His entire tone and body language had changed. It seemed as if he was trying to cover up and hide his emotions to make himself confident about his decision.
And of course he had thought this through. The patients helping fund society takes a couple days to respond as well. For him to already have a response, and a payment as well. He has thought about this.
But you aren’t Ayyub. THINK.
“I know what will cheer you up, some magic!”
I pull out my deck of cards and start to perform
You didn’t even ask him if he wants to see some magic
Just do it while you think of something, you idiot!
I do mess up kind of what happened in the video. All in all, he is not impressed at all.
He’s just sitting there really calm, but sad as well.
SHIT AYYUB THINK
My mind is completely empty. I’m just freaking out. I’m so nervous.
“Does your daughter like magic?”
“Yeah I think so. She tells me stories of the magic shows that happen at some of the festivals and carnivals she goes to.”
“In that case, I’ll teach you my best magic trick tomorrow. It’s super easy and you can show it to your daughter and she’ll love it!”
He smiled. His eyes opened a little wider.
Just get out of here Ayyub and think about what to do. Come back tomorrow with your thoughts together.
“Alright, see you tomorrow then.”
I’m walking out, and my body just flips back around.
Come on Ayyub, don’t do this to yourself!
I hesitate for a second and I’m about to turn around again and leave
Screw it. It’s worth a shot right?
“Do you believe in God?” I asked.
He pauses for a moment. “Yes, I do.”
“You want to know why bad things always happen to good and loved people?”
He sat up. It looked like he pondered over the question for a second. “Why?”
“When people walk into a garden, they always poke and pull at the pretty flowers.” (this is from a story I heard many years ago)
I stood there for at least half a minute. He put his head down.
“You are good and are loved. Not just by your family, but by God as well, along with all the doctors in this hospital and students like myself.”
He looks up and I can see him crying a little.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The next morning, he wasn’t in his bed. He was in the bathroom or was having a test performed; I don’t know. I had not planned a trick. I had nothing to be honest. I guess I was going to wing it again. I was about to have rounds soon though, so I needed to leave. I left my deck of cards on his pillow.
It’s something I guess.
After my day was over I went to visit him.
He had been discharged.