The two men stared at one another.  Greg’s words hung in the air. Richard shifted uncomfortably in his seat-he hadn’t  been prepared for that.

“I feel like a fraud!”Greg cried, tears streaming down his face. “I wake up every morning and cry for 30 minutes before coming into work! How can I do my job properly if I can’t even help myself?” He roughly wiped his running nose with the back of his hand.

Richard was taken aback. He hadn’t expected this from Greg. He had known this man for 15 years, for Christ sake! Today had meant to be a simple consultation regarding arthritis. He gently took Greg ‘s hand in his and soothed, “You need help. It’s stress, no doubt.”

Greg nodded dumbly- his sobbing,  now  dry heaves. He looked so broken and Richard’s heart went out to him. Greg was the last person he would have thought to have nervous breakdown.

“Will  you permit me to make a phone call for you? ”

Greg nodded again.

Richard reached across the desk and punched in the number for reception and spoke quietly into the receiver.

A minute later, 2 nurses entered the consulting room and escorted a still-crying Greg from the room- their faces masked in shock.

Richard, still overwhelmed, ambled his way to the reception desk. “Ahem! ” he coughed nervously, “is there another doctor available? My arthritis is playing up.”