During the interview, Matthews was asked how he solved cold cases. His reply captured my imagination when he said, “I look for the Mickey.”
At first I thought it might have been some type of reference to a Mickey Finn. Mickey Finn was a bartender in Chicago who was eventually caught slipping the drug chloral hydrate into his patrons’ drinks in order to incapacitate and then rob them. Instead, the Mickey that Matthews was referring to was Mickey Mouse. He described the puzzle and games that ask, “Where is the Mickey hidden in the picture?”
Anyway, detective Matthews’ investigation style is to always look through the details of the case over and over again until he finds the Mickey. In this case, the Mickey is the clue that was somehow overlooked or missed in previous examinations. When I heard the phrase, I couldn’t help but wonder what I could write about this week that utilized that phrase, and, unfortunately, the topic presented itself a few hours later.
My brother had a health problem that reached a critical point back in March, and he had to have surgery in order to resolve the symptoms of that problem. The surgical outcome was perfect, but the root cause that created the problem in the first place remained unresolved.
His improvement was remarkable, and a few weeks ago, it was not apparent that he had every even had the problem or the surgery.
But a week ago he became short of breath and that resulted in his being admitted to the emergency room where he was immediately taken into the operating room for emergency surgery to drain the pleural sac around his heart.
The same problem had come back but manifested itself on a different organ, but still NO MICKEY.
Less than 24 hours after surgery, he was swollen like a balloon. He had had a 30-lbs. weight gain that was all fluid, but still NO MICKEY.
That’s when American health care does what it does best. He was taken down the hall for the $1M work-up. Ultrasounds, full-body CT scans, and all the while his blood and the errant fluids were being examined, cultured in Petri dishes and explored under microscopes. There was no sign of cancer or congestive heart failure; the kidneys and liver were good, but still NO MICKEY.
Now, if this was the television series “House,” my brother’s physicians would have been bullied, screamed at, harassed and embarrassed by the guy with the hardcore drugs and the cane as each one of them would attempt to come up with their idea of where or what the Mickey is, but this isn’t “House.”
I remember talking to a doctor once in Serbia who told me that physicians in the United States had been so spoiled by high-tech equipment that they couldn’t diagnose patients anymore without the help of millions of dollars worth of machines.
“For example,” he said, “If a patient complains of pain that sounds like a gall bladder problem, I simply call down to the kitchen and have a high fat meal sent up to that patient. If he cries out in pain, then I know for sure that his gallbladder has to come out.”
So, here we sit, a week later, with 15 specialists huddled over X-rays, tests, exams, cultures and medical records trying to find the Mickey. All I can say is that I’m hoping that somewhere there’s a physician who didn’t cut the class that taught the clue that will reveal this mystery, and that one of these absolutely brilliant individuals will discover where this particular Mickey is hidden. To be continued!