The Invisible Wound
Early one morning before the famous surgeon was even out of his bed he received an urgent caller who insisted that his case could not be postponed even for a minute; he demanded instant attention. The surgeon dressed hurriedly and rang for his valet.
“Let the patient come in,” he said.
The man who entered appeared to belong to the best class of society. His pale face and nervous demeanor betrayed physical suffering. His right hand was tied up in a sling and, although he could control his features, a painful groan escaped from his lips now and again.
“Please be seated. What can I do for you?”
“I haven’t been able to sleep for a week. There is some trouble with my right hand. I cannot make out what it is. It may be cancer or some other terrible disease. At first it did not bother me much, but lately it began to bum. I have not had a moment’s relief. It pains me terribly. The pain increases hourly, becoming more and more agonizing and unbearable. I have come to town to consult you. If I have to bear it another hour, I shall go mad. I want you to bum it out or cut it out, or do something with it.”
The surgeon reassured the patient by declaring that it was not perhaps necessary to operate.
r‘No, no,” the man insisted. “It will have to be operated on. I came purposely to have the diseased part cut out. Nothing else can help.
He lifted his hand from the sling with considerable effort, and continued:
“I must ask you not to be surprised if you do not see any visibie wound on my hand. The case is quite unusual.”
The doctor assured the patient that he was not in the habit of being nurprised at unusual things. Still, after looking at it, he dropped the hand in sheer astonishment, for there seemed to be absolutely nothing the matter with it. It looked like any other hand; it was not even discolored. Yet it was evident that the man suffered terrific pains, for the way he caught his right hand with his left when the doctor let it fall, demonstrated that fact quite conclusively.
“Where does it hurt you?”
He pointed to a round spot between the two large veins, but snatched the hand back when the physician cautiously touched the spot with the tip of his finger.