'There's a patient of mine I'd like you to see. A second opinion if you like'
Judith raised a quizzical eyebrow. 'OK, fire away'.
We were having lunch together as we did once a month, as we had done since our student days together. We were unmarried and I suppose we enjoyed a monthly session of mild flirtation from which we came away in a euphoric state of intoxication without further expectation. It wasn't a romantic relationship but one based on a time endorsed personal compatibility limited by the demanding nature of our professions. Judith was a psychiatrist in a hospital and I a doctor in private practice.
We rarely discussed a patient's problems but on this occasion I felt I had something on my hands that might be beyond me. I hesitated about how to start.
'Well, are you going to tell me about it?'
'Yes, of course' I said, 'It's a man, about twenty five, been a patient for years. I suppose I'd better call him Mr Smith. He's, er, I don't know how to put it. …he's in a state of ext