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tal still being used for patient care. It was depressing just to be there. It was darker than the rest of the hospital, the rooms were smaller, and the paint was flaking off the walls, which were colored a hideous green. Régis was deeply depressed and was sure he was not going to leave the hospital. When I approached from the left side, he could not see me. I asked him how he was. He told me he was tired of being constantly asked if he was a homosexual. Evidently, his treatment in the emergency room had not been kind. Something about his mannerisms made me worry he was going to snap under the strain. His hands trembled when he reached for something and when talking to me he would play with his bed clothes or sheets between his fingers and avoid eye contact in a manner that was new for him. I knew how much the blindness frightened him. I asked the house staff to call Jeanette, our Haitian-American psychiatry liaison, to ask if she would see Régis for emotional support. Later that day I saw Jeanette at a distance down one of the corridors and waved to her. I asked if she had seen Régis yet.

“Oh, I certainly have.”

“What did you think?” expecting an outflow of empathy and amazement.


“I know.”

“He is a phenomenon.”

“Yes, he is,” I said, but did not really follow her.

“I mean, I have heard about cases like this, but I’ve never actually seen one. He really is extraordinary.”

“What do you mean?”

“I really don’t know quite what the word for it is. It’s not quite ‘social climber,’ but he is acting so much out of class. He comes from poor rural Haiti, you know. He would only talk to me in French. He would not talk in Creole, in spite of the fact that I speak Creole fluently. And this business about dentistry by correspondence. He is really trying to make it.”

“Jeanette, I asked you to see him because he’s depressed and suf-

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