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Profile Of A Killer

by Justin Young
Photo By Azim Thomas


It started about three months ago with my eyes. Day by day my vision became blurrier than the last, and I could not see as far as I used to. There was a time when I was able to spot a dime a block away lying on the pavement of a crowded New York City block; now I couldn’t tell if my sister was my mother or my uncle no less than four feet away.

I expressed my concern to my mother rather vividly, and within a week’s time I was sporting my new Kenneth Cole wire frames to work. When asked, my optometrist was unable to provide me with an answer as to the reason why my eyes had started to fail.

After wearing my new glasses for about a month something that I hadn’t experienced in years returned to plague my eyes once more. I was born with, what in laymen’s terms is called, “Lazy Eyes”, meaning the muscles in my eyes were weak and unable to keep my eyes straight. So for the first six or seven years of my life one eye was farther out than the other, and I was condemned to suffer the ridicule of other children until the muscles in my eyes strengthened. Now, after twelve years, my eyes had returned to their once awkward state. But this time they were moving in instead of outward and I was seeing double. I basically looked like a cartoon character.

You can imagine my concern at this point. My mother wasted no time in notifying my optometrist. After an hour or so of testing, the doctor did his best explaining to me that he did not know what was going on; he told me that a possible cause for the double vision and the muscle loss in my eyes could be Lyme disease or Multiple Sclerosis (M.S). A knot the size of a baseball logged itself in my throat. I backed up against a nearby wall and searched desperately for the right words. “Damn…That Sucks!” He went on to tell me that the double vision is called Diplopia, and in order for me to see straight he needed to cut prisms to place on the lens’ of my glasses. He referred me to a neurologist to take further tests. That’s when I met Doctor Steven Wolfe.

He greeted me with a “pound” the first time I met him and inquired as to how my day was going. I immediately pegged him as a down- to- earth individual. I had yet to get my new glasses, and it was pointless to wear my old ones, so I had been squinting terribly. He looked at me once and smiled, “Looks like you’ve got a problem with your eyes”, he said cheerfully. We talked for twenty minutes about what was going on. Like my optometrist, he did not know the cause but also felt that the reason could be either Lyme disease or M.S. After expressing his concern for my somewhat unique situation, he scheduled me for an M.R.I (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) where I was to have pictures taken of my brain. A week later, accompanied with my mother, I visited Westside Radiology on West 57th Street and Broadway.

The M.R.I took an hour. I had to lay on a white table in a white room. The table moved into a bigger tube. My head was placed in what resembled a vice; there I was only able to look upward. The room had only one window, in which sat several technicians. Somewhere in the room was a speaker, because every ten minutes or so a man's voice would come over the speaker and ask how I was doing.

Several days later I was notified by Doctor Wolfe and asked to come in for a Spinal Tap. A Spinal Tap is when a doctor draws fluid from your spine using two needles. They numb the area around where the needles are to be placed. You have to lay in a fetal position with your back facing the doctor, lying perfectly still. The scary part about the procedure is that it can paralyze you, and it’s not very comfortable. It feels like someone punched you in the back and is grinding their fist into you. I had one when I was twelve and hated every moment of it. But before I was to go in for the procedure, I had already scheduled an appointment with my optometrist to get my new glasses.

Doctor Kotay was his name. A tall Caucasian male with glasses of his own. He has been my optometrist for some time now and has always been honest with me. Like Doctor Wolfe he was also a nice guy with a great sense of humor and I felt really comfortable around him.

In his office he cut special lenses made out of prisms for my glasses. Prisms are crystals that reflect light. They also use the colors in the color spectrum to bend light. The lenses themselves have rows of tiny prisms. Somehow they allow me to see straight instead of double. They straighten my eyes themselves and strengthen the muscles in the process. I was instructed to wear them all the time.

After working on my glasses he informed me that he had seen the pulmonary results of my M.R.I test. He told me that there are spots on my brain, which shows signs of M.S. Dr. Wolfe, being a specialist in that area could tell me in full detail what was going on.

The following day, my mother and I sat alert in the waiting room of the Neurologist Center at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Wolfe, accompanied with his assistant met us there. As usual he asked me how everything was going and whether or not I liked my new glasses. With some coxing from my mother I told him of some new symptoms that have arisen in the past couple of days. I told him how I had been experiencing frequent headaches, a lack of equilibrium, and the loss of words. This changes the situation it seems because he then canceled the spinal tap. He referred me to one of the top M.S specialist in the country, Doctor Saddiq. He felt that he should look at me first before we did anything else.

My mother, being an employee of the hospital knew Doctor Saddiq and had on several occasions done some work for him. The problem with seeing Dr. Saddiq is that he does not take any type of insurance. This immediately worried my mother and me. We knew there was no possible way that we could afford one visit with the doctor. Dr. Wolfe immediately told us to calm down and that he had a solution. It turns out that several months ago, Dr. Saddiq came to Dr. Wolfe asking for a favor. He asked him to see a Bosnian man for free, and that in turn he would be indebted to him. Well, it turns out it was time for Dr. Wolfe to cash in on his promise. He assured us that we would be able to see him for free.

And that brings us up to the present. I have yet to see Dr. Saddiq or get a spinal tap. I have informed loved ones of my situation and they have sympathized greatly. When this all began I was very fearful; not knowing what to expect kept me awake many nights. To comfort me, friends and family have joked around about it, like telling me that its probably some freakish tropical disease that only affects eighteen-year-old bald black males who spend their free time watching cartoons, and who live in the Bronx. It’s all very funny, and has at times turned my frowns upside down, but I can’t help but wonder what might happen in the near future.


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