The Rest of the Story, Again

by | Apr 24, 2021

Paul Harvey was a well known 20th century and early 21st  century radio broadcaster with a large audience.

For years on his radio show Paul Harvey would tell us “The Rest of the Story” in which a well known narrative became more fully understandable or had a different outcome when we were told the rest of the story.  When practicing medicine, the physician frequently needs to know the rest of the story to make a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Robert Thomas James was in my office for one of his periodic visits.  I entered the exam room anticipating our usual scene.  There would be the outline of a problem, a review of symptoms, an examination and a plan of action.  This part of the visit would be followed by our usual verbal wrestling match about his diabetes, his lack of diet discipline, his failure to exercise, and general non-compliance.

On this day, however, I was greeted by a man who looked thoroughly dispirited, and indeed said, “I’m depressed.”

“Tell me about it,” I inquired.

“My daughter is driving me crazy.  She lost her job.  She’s living at home with me, sort of.  She stays out all night drinking and doing drugs.  She runs up a long distance phone bill I can’t even imagine.  She has stolen a lot of things from the house and sold them to buy drugs.  She has fallen asleep on the sofa and burned holes in it from her cigarettes.  The other night she nearly burned the house down when she fell asleep smoking in bed.  I just don’t know what to do about it.  I just don’t know.”

“Why in hell do you put up with an adult in your house doing those things to you?  Put her out! That is nonsense putting up with behavior like that.  Why do you torture yourself like that?”

“Because I will never get to see my grandson and have a chance to protect him if I put her out.”

That was the rest of the story.