The doctor blinked rapidly, perplexed, and Herbert leaned forward to poke him in the shoulder, grinning.
“Not missing it, got it? I’m not missing it!” Herbert laughed, leaning back on the small table and bracing his hands on his thighs. The committee chuckled uncomfortably.
“When did this happen?” the doctor asked the spokesman, clicking open an ink pen he had drawn from his coat pocket.
“We were in the middle of a meeting when he sort of blanked out,” the spokesman replied, smoothing the front of his suit jacket. He swallowed nervously. “He knows his name, but he doesn’t seem to know who he is or what he does.”
“Who’s that?” Herbert asked.
“Hmm?” the doctor replied. Herbert was pointing at a picture hanging on the wall. The committee shuffled again, clearing out of the way and turning to look at the picture themselves. In it, the doctor was kneeling beside a wheelchair. A young girl was smiling, her right hand clasped by the doctor and her left resting in her lap. She was thin, unbelievably thin, and the enormous electric chair made her look smaller still.
“My daughter,” the doctor said through a sad smile. “She was born with multiple sclerosis and has to stay in a wheelchair.”
“Can anything be done?” Herbert asked quietly. The committee seemed to be holding their collective breaths, the room was so quiet.
Clearing his throat, the doctor turned back to Herbert. “I don’t know. There’s a lot of research going on for it, but there are always more ideas than there are researchers or money, so a lot of potential cures haven’t been explored yet.” Sighing, he laid the chart down on the table and picked up the flashlight tool for shining in a patient’s eyes.
“But we’re here to talk about your memory. Please focus on this light as I move it back and forth,” the doctor said.
“Can I help?” Herbert asked.
“What?” the doctor replied, clicking the light back off.