Day +2988: The odds get even – you name the game…

“The odds get even – the stakes are the same…
You bet your life…”

If one were watching the documentary of life, this Episode is narrated by Marlin Perkins:

‘Here we see Jim wrestling with the lion, Maya, so that she could be safely relocated to the game preserve. Ouch! Those claws are sharp! Poor Jim! He quickly pulls one the three syringes of tranquilizer and expertly aims. Jim[Karen] injects the tranquilizer[antibiotic] in the jaws of the wily beast [Persian] Maya. She escapes and bounds across the savanna of the living room and launches behind the recliner! Ouch! Karen? Ouch?’

This existential moment of feline care is rudely interrupted by Fate and another toss of the dice.  Cut to commercial.

‘Budweiser not only makes great beer but also great Superbowl commercials.’

[Commentator] ‘One of those may be correct.’

Change channel – Cool, an episode of ER on at 3:00 PM

Karen and Michael are driving down 95 towards Baltimore.
Karen looks calm enjoying the sunshine – Sunday traffic is very light.
They turn left to park in the garage across the street and head to the 4th floor walkway over Orleans Street.
Karen stops midway and takes a couple of pictures of the hospital and traffic below.
The admissions clerk is friendly and polite, the process goes smoothly. All of the records are there already; within moments, it is on to triage.

‘What brings you in today?’
Karen with a smile: ‘High spiking blood pressure, dizziness.’

[Nurse for BP, Bloodwork, EKG, CT scan….second review with PA, back out front to the general waiting area.]

< Cut to Super Bowl Pre-game show >
< Cut to ER waiting room: daytime drama – the People Watching Show >
< Cut to National Anthem >
< Cut to three hour vital signs check >
< Cut to ER waiting room: nighttime drama – the People Watching Show Season II >
< Cut to Super Bowl halftime show overlaid with People watching Show Reruns and two identical sound tracks with a 2.5 second delay betw..betwee…between them >
< Cut to the starving wife/patient – brought to you by Subway roast beef sandwiches for your emergency needs >
< Cut to Michael wolfing down a pepperoni pizza in the main hospital >

‘Karen give me that remote / call button.’

< Room 29. 9 PM. Gown, socks, heart monitor – check. >
< Room 29. 9:30 PM. Vitals … 192 over 94. >
< Room 29. Buzz nurse. ( Ok audience, you go to the bathroom with a heart monitor! )>
< Room 29. Chair and pillow acquired!>
< Room 29. Episode 2. The exam! >
< Here we see the intense young resident doctor, Nick, asking probing questions about Karen’s medical history, recounting the current episode, and trying to be unobtrusive about checking for signs of stroke.>
< Karen politely counters with a few select questions about BPs, causes, symptoms, blood clots, and other coffee room chatter, and a good time is had by all.>
Nick states the asymptomatic nature of high blood pressure except in extremely rare cases cancer of the adrenal gland that may manifest in a high BP. ‘Highly unlikely.’
< Cut to hysterical laughter from Michael and a short discussion of the curse of Mausi’s (Karen’s) Medical Mathematical Mayhem >
< Nick would like to do work in the international community and has a keen interest in music, and stroke and heart attack are ruled out.>
< Cut to Super Bowl victory celebration >
‘Ok, ready to go back to the bathroom, yup I unplugged the monitor wait I need to take the saline too! ‘
< 00:30 AM BP 146/72 … cool >
< Room 29. Episode 3. The exam! Supervising Doctor (Play episode 1 for details) >
‘Did you get his picture?’
‘Nope, busy playing Legendary’
< Room 29. Episode 4. The underachiever exam >
‘So a critical point for your age is a BP of 150 over 90; however, we would not force a decrease in blood pressure unless there were signs of major organ damage.’
‘I’ll provide you a referral and then we will see if we can get you out of here.’
Karen asks if Michael got her picture.
< Cut to a very somber Dr. Nick >
Nick asks ‘What did they tell you?’ Karen looks alarmed. ‘What do you mean…’
‘I mean it is all good news’

< Cut to the wild Maya >
Maya is picking at her food, but eating.

Karen is exhausted … the Hopkins protocol for treating patients with neurological symptoms is a nine hour phased approach with EKG/Vitals/Blood collection at the three hour marks.
We are home after an 11 hour dance at the ER.

< Cut …Hey the Twilight Zone is on 6 February >

Here is the preview:

< Rod Serling announces the recap of our last episode of  “You get all of this and new normal, too.”

< Recap of last month’s spine tingling highlights >

< Last Month: John Hopkins Outpatient Center, 6th Floor >
Christine manipulating the scope in Karen’s nose to highlight the area of the small ulcer, explaining to Michael that it is probably caused by her viral URI or reflux and nothing to worry about.
Christine and Karen chat about the ragdolls, and ‘if it still bothers you in a month, come back’

< Last Week: Tuesday, John Hopkins Outpatient Center, 6th Floor>
Young resident inquires ‘is it better’
‘No, but it is different.’
‘So it is worse.’
‘No, just different.’
‘But is it better or worse?’
‘Neither, just different.’
Christine zooms in on the right side near the base of tongue after Karen explained about nerve pain and general soreness originating from that area.
‘Looks a little enlarged’
Speaking matter of factly – ‘doesn’t look like cancer’
< Karen and Christine chat a bit and the path is determined: Schedule an MRI. >
On the way out, ‘For good measure, let’s do a biopsy under sedation…’

< Wednesday, Phototherapy as usual, with intermittent scheduling calls >

< 11 PM Friday, MRI finished, Pre-op done, Time for the Weekend and a little relaxation!>

< This ends this broadcast >

Everything is routine; the worry and fears are quick to jump out ahead of any confirmations. The hard part is not getting a diagnosis…diagnoses come with plans. The waiting and not knowing is the hardest.

In the meantime, day at a time, moment at a time.

Karen and the cat crew are relaxing at home.

Sidenote: Karen and I joke about some of our medical staff being underachievers, meaning they are top performers in their field, and perfection seems to come easily.


This ER visit was in sharp contrast to Day +1806 at Upper Chesapeake. Everyone at Johns Hopkins was incredibly kind and sympathetic, professional but friendly, and extremely thorough.

p.s. Maya is very easy to medicate, never fights it and is too old and slow to get away.

“Anarchist reactionary running dog revisionist
Hindu muslim catholic creation / evolutionist
Rational romantic mystic cynical idealist
Minimal expressionist post-modern neo-symbolist
Arm chair rocket scientist graffiti existentialist
Deconstruction primitive performance photo realist
Be-bop or a one drop or a hip hop lite pop metallist
Gold adult contemporary urban country capitalist…”



  1. How exhausting, physically and mentally. Good thoughts.

  2. I hope all will be fine. It’s nerve wracking when things like this happen, and the uncertainty sets in. Sending a hug and positive vibes to you.

  3. WOW!
    Just……………you know………wow!
    Sending lots of love and prayers

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