Kalk declines to reveal his diagnosis, but Bruce Harry, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Missouri, says he displays virtually all the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Also called manic-depressive disorder, the illness causes extreme mood swings, reckless spending, severe insomnia and a tendency to "do things that many around them would regard as morally objectionable." "It's often tragic," Harry says. "It can be very disruptive, not just to an individual's life, but to everybody around them."

It's not surprising, Harry adds, that Kalk refused treatment for so long. "The highs from the manic part of manic-depressive sometimes feel so great it's hard to give that up, especially for someone who's down and out or hard on their luck. They feel like they are literally on top of the world."

Dr. Alex Kalk, pictured above on the cover of Ladue News.
Dr. Alex Kalk, pictured above on the cover of Ladue News.

But when his family finally came to his rescue, they were shocked at what they found. "He was not functioning," Debby Kalk says. "The bottom line is, when he came to Austin he was practically comatose."

Now Kalk believes his disease is "in remission," and on May 31, 2009, he applied for a Texas medical license. It can take up to a year to process the applications, says Jill Wiggins, a spokeswoman for the Texas Medical Board. Wiggins adds that Kalk's mental condition does not necessarily preclude him from getting the license.

"I do love medicine and helping people," Kalk says. "I just need assistance and ongoing support to make sure I don't make mistakes again."

He may not get that second chance. A Manchester police report indicates he is still under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services for disposing of his patients' medical records. A spokesman for the department declined to confirm or deny any details about the case.

There's also a forgery case pending in Clayton. Pressing those charges is Kalk's nemesis, Jim Stewart. Stewart claims he can prove Kalk forged his signature on several thousand dollars worth of personal checks. "I'm not being vindictive," Stewart says of the charges. "I just want my money back."

Clayton police declined to comment. Records show a warrant was issued for Kalk's arrest on June 1, and he was picked up on June 21 when he returned to St. Louis for his monthly visit with his daughters. If charged and convicted, Kalk faces up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

"It's unfounded; it's completely untrue," Kalk says of Stewart's allegation. "I know how dangerous he can be, so I'd never think of crossing him. I'd never steal money from him or checks from him. I think he would kill me."

Says Stewart: "I don't have much of a social life. The friends I got I can count on one hand and with fingers left over," he says. "I really liked Alex. If it had been anyone else, they'd be dead."

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