The Bruce: Part II

“When I wake up, I see the fruiting bodies growing out of my skin. It’s disgusting.”

Pops has lost his goddamn mind.

Another traumatic telephone conversation with my father.

“You still think you want to be a doctor? Are you still in school?” (This is how most of my conversations with Dad begin. He either just doesn’t remember significant details of my life or is genuinely surprised each time we speak to learn that I have yet to abandon my dreams/drop out.) “Do you wander around the med center much?” (This is new. And no, wandering through the university’s hospital is generally discouraged.) “Do you have a pencil handy?” (Give me a minute….Okay, ready.) “I need you to find me a good, maybe even internationally-reknowned, medical mycologist. That’s M-Y-C-O-…”

“You need a fungal specialist?! What’s going on?”

“Well, I hate to tell you this, but I have a widespread internal infection. I think this might have something to do with these symptoms I’ve been having. And I can see all these growths on my skin.”

“Dad, is this something you read on the internet?”

“I read lots of things on the internet.”

“I don’t think an internationally-reknowned medical mycologist is in order just yet. Have you seen your primary care doctor about this? He could refer you to a dermatologist if you have a skin infection.”

“Well, when I told him about this, he looked at me all crazy-eyed. I need someone who knows about this stuff.”

“Well, you know, Dad. Treatments for fungal infections are generally pretty straight-forward. I think if he thought you had an issue…”

“And he told me I need to stop taking these medications I bought in China. He says if I don’t, I’m gonna  destroy my liver.”

“And are you still taking them?” (I know the answer.)


He further explains that the skin biopsy revealed nothing either – apparently, these “podunk, small-town” pathologists don’t know their shit.

Let’s recap: So, the PCP saw nothing. Microscopy revealed nothing. My father, however, with his naked eye, is seeing “fruiting bodies” grow out of his skin. I repeat, Pops has lost his goddamn mind.


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