|An Uncertain Discussion (standard:other, 705 words)|
|Author: Eutychus||Added: Jan 02 2004||Views/Reads: 1705/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|This is not a story per se, more a conversation within a story. I have concerns regarding a Downs Syndrome character and her portrayal. Does it seem fair and/ or reasonably trustworthy?|
“Good morning, Doctor Roberts,” the young woman who pushed the mail cart through the halls of D-Code said as she entered Adrian's office. “Good morning, Shannon. Anything good in the mail today?” “Looks like internal stuff, sir,” she said and placed the rubber-banded bundle on his desk. “Shannon, you don't have to call me ‘sir'. I work here too. I just happen to have an office.” “I know, Adrian, but at the career center, they say we need to be professional. It looks good for me when I am that way and then there is no confusion.” Adrian could guess the kind of confusion that Shannon wished to avoid. He had heard rumors and seen enough reruns of Law and Order that dealt with supervisory personnel taking intimate advantage of some of the challenged help to fully understand the caution that schools were instilling into their Downs syndrome students. “I understand, and I apologize if it seemed I was asking you to be less than professional,” he said, wondering if she would now view him differently, with just a hint of suspicion. But having been familiar with her since she was seven years old, he hoped she would know better. He bumped his trackball and brought the monitor back to life just as Shannon asked him how work was going. “I guess the same as always, though I've been letting it get to me more than usual lately.” “I thought you were a code cruncher. Isn't that just coming up with a list of sicknesses a person will develop for the insurance company?” “Yes, it's as simple and complex as that. Take a look at this,” he said and spun the monitor around giving her a look at chromosome 21 of an unnamed client. She studied the 3-D rendering and smiled. “I know this. I have two.” “That's right, you do,” he said, impressed that she was that familiar with her own condition. She knew that her situation had resulted from nature's dubious gift of a second chromosome 21. “But how did you know that this was the one you have two of?” “It says ‘chromozhome twenty one' right there on the screen, silly!” she replied and laughed gently. “Of course. But while this person only has one, these markers here and here indicate that he is going to develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis probably by the time he is forty.” “That is a bad one?” “Yes. It will probably be his cause of death unless the folks over at N-Code make some real progress in the next several years,” he said, making a reference to D-Code's sister company. Both were part of the Serendipity Group, affectionately referred to as Serendip, a biomedical concern that had formed ten years after Watson and Crick had shown the world their curiously twisted ladder of amino acids. In the sixty years since, Serendip had become a major player in the mapping of human genetic codes. D-Code was in the business of taking apart an individual's genetic blueprint while N-Code ironed out the kinks found in that blueprint. While great strides had taken place in the treatment of cancer, juvenile diabetes, and a few degenerative nerve disorders like Tourette's Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis, ALS was proving more difficult to sort out. “You see lots of big things in people that are not good, don't you?” “Yes,” he said, deciding that Shannon was speaking in terms of degree rather than size, “and it can be a little depressing sometimes.” “But the big things are sometimes not so bad if the little things are nice. Like when people have been not too nice to me and I talk to my mom about it, she will brush my hair and tell me things will be all right. Then the things the people said to me are not so bad.” Twenty minutes later, after moving on to a new set of problems, Adrian found himself wondering why he seemed to learn the most important lessons in life from someone whose IQ would never be above eighty. Perhaps it was time for him to get away from this routine for a while. Before lunch, he put in a request for a week of his vacation. Tweet
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