“Newly Uncovered Medical Note From Van Gogh’s Otologist,” by Parker Wilson

May 1st, 2024 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Writer received the patient in their room. The patient, Van Gogh, Vincent, male, age 35, initially observed sitting on the bed smoking tobacco.

Two oddly shaped chairs were observed by the writer in the patient’s room, which were angled such that one imagined one would slide off and onto the floor if one were to try and sit.

The patient wore a blue cap lined with black fur and appeared disheveled with bad hygiene.

Writer noticed a strange smell similar to burnt fingernails and sulfide.

A blood-soaked bandage covered the patient’s left ear. Writer asked the patient about the bandage. Patient confirmed they had placed the bandage. Patient added that the pain in his left ear was “only a manifestation of sadness.”

Writer asked how long the patient has had this pain. Patient replied, “my whole life.” Writer then asked the patient how long the bandage had covered his left ear. Patient replied, “three days, or seven.”

Writer stated need to remove the bandage to examine the left ear. Patient appeared paranoid and side-eyed writer throughout the examination.

When the patient removed their black cap, the writer observed underneath the hat that the patient had wrapped cotton bandages around his head and under the chin. Patient’s hair appeared greasy and unwashed.

While undressing the bandage, writer asked the patient if they had experienced discharge. Patient displayed signs of hearing difficulty and asked writer several times to repeat the question. Patient confirmed they had experienced discharge. Writer then asked the patient to describe the color of the discharge. Patient replied, “Yellow ochre.”

Underneath the bandages that wrapped the patient’s head, the patient had packed the wound with what writer observed to be a mat of hog hair.

Writer removed the hog hair and cleaned the area. Writer asked the patient to describe their pain level and the patient replied, “it will always be a ten.”

The patient cried while writer examined his left ear. Writer observed ninety percent of the left ear to be missing with a laceration through the helix and pinna. The lobe remained intact. When writer questioned the patient on this, the patient replied, “Of course I cut off my own ear.” When pressed further on this topic, the patient became further distressed and said, “Gaugin and his damn symbolism.”

Further attempts at discerning the cause of the wound were unsuccessful.

When asked the location of the missing ear, patient stated he “gave it to a hooker.”

When writer attempted to explain the importance of the outer ear for hearing, patient appeared distracted and stared out the window.

Patient refused morphine or opium when offered for treatment. Patient stated, “All I need is this,” and held up a bottle with what appeared to be a green liquid inside. Note: patient demanded writer refer to liquid inside bottle as “glassy viridian.”

Writer sutured and bandaged the wound. Follow-up in one week.

Patient is referred for psychiatric evaluation.


Parker Wilson is a young, gay author living in Highland Park. He is a recent graduate of the creative writing MFA program at Eastern Michigan University and spends his free time running along the Detroit River. He’s published in Bristol Noir.


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