The Hospital

I am many things. But tonight, I am a doctor.

The man had diabetes.

When we met for my prognosis he weighed 292 pounds, all of which supported a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

His disease was initially managed with diet, exercise, and metformin (Glucophage). Four months later, with weight loss and exercise, his blood sugar levels were consistently under 100 mg/dL, and metformin was discontinued.

All was well until a week ago, when he noted polyuria, polydipsia, and rising fingerstick glucose values, higher than 200 mg/dL. He has been eating well, with no nausea, vomiting, or symptoms of dehydration. He denies having any fever, chills, cough, nasal congestion, chest pain, abdominal pain, or dysuria.

In addition to his type 2 diabetes, he has hypertension, for which he takes losartan (Cozaar); hyperlipidemia, for which he takes atorvastatin (Lipitor); and gout, for which he takes allopurinol (Zyloprim).

His blood pressure is 148/70 mm Hg, pulse 100, and weight 292 pounds, and he is afebrile.

On examination, his skin, head, eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs, heart, and abdomen are normal.

Urinalysis in the clinic shows large amounts of glucose and ketones.

He is a big man physically. Well heeled. His wife in my opinion, a trophy. About twenty years younger than he.

She did not like him a lot. As a woman, I can tell.

Though I am not her doctor, her husband told me that she too had his exact symptoms. She did not look it at all. In fact, she looked like a couple of million dollars. I wager that she is worth that indeed.

My hospital is famous. We handle hopeless cases. We have even raised the dead. Several times to be precise. We attract the rich and wealthy. Only the elite can afford us. It is public knowledge that if you passed away in our care, your time was up.

He was a politician on the rise. She was a celebrity… A socialite. She did nothing we knew, but she was popular. She was his second wife. His first wife passed away suddenly five years ago. She had been his mistress for just as long.

It would seem that she insisted on sitting with him throughout our consultations. I did not approve, but I am many things…

I am a twin. My brother is a pharmacist. We are in business too. We own a franchise to organic herbs and potions. We have never been able to meet demand. Do not take my word for it, but our products work.

My brother and I come from a long line of healers. We know herbs and medicinal roots. Our lineage is respected, and feared.

We are feared I hear because a few uncles and aunts went rogue. They crossed over to the dark side and were known to cavort with entities that may not be named.

My patient believed that he was going to die. He believed that someone had placed a hex on him. He believed that the same person was after his wife too.

He was right of course. But I could not tell him that.

I requested that she help us settle some bills in an office adjacent to mine. She did not like my suggestion very much. She hurried back less than five minutes later cross and totally in hate with me.

I wrote out his prescription and sent them off. But he knew that he was to go see my brother for alternative medicine. I was uploading my prognosis when she barged into my office rudely.

“I don’t know what you are up to, but it will not work!” She spat at me. Her face vicious and her eyes shooting daggers.

In response I pointed up behind me at the video camera installed.

“Audio and video”, was all I said.

She stormed out slamming my poor door on her way.

In contrast to my natural disposition, I did not like her all of a sudden.

My patient met with my brother and collected his medicines.

Later that evening however, he was rushed back to our hospital in critical condition. He did not look good. He was quickly stabilized and was soon asleep.

I was poring over his chart when I finally noticed her glare.

“Can you forgive him?” I whispered to her.

“Never!” She hissed back at me. She had flecks of spit at the corners of her mouth. She was a beautiful woman, but her anger made her even more beautiful.

“It is my job to save him…you are in my way.” I gently informed her.

Then she began reciting The Tears of Hannah. She turned her right hand upward and made the Claw of The Damned.

I smiled and respectfully warded off her spiritual assaults.

I saw tears glisten in her eyes as she tried to cast her spells over and over again. Her teacher was good, but they were all rudimentary. The lights in the ward and all our ‘technological’ equipment began to flicker. She wore her kinky hair in an unruly afro… But her enchantments altered her. Her hair was now stretched out like it was permed in that instant. Glass, metal and PET containers alike were rattling all around us on their own accord…

I felt our realm peel off slightly from the west and the Custodian of spirit’s lost slither in toward our location. He was bearing in swiftly, at this rate there was going to be a harvest of souls shortly. There were too many fragile souls recuperating in this hospital. They stood the risk of translating prematurely.

“ENOUGH!” I decreed.

And instantly an even eerier calm settled upon the satrap placed under my watch. The peace mildly interrupted by the sound of her weeping.

She was broken.

“You should have not allowed him to come in here. This is a sanctuary. He is here seeking mercy and refuge. You had every opportunity out there. Within this sanctuary… This satrap… This hospice… He is untouchable.”

She wiped tears and snot and drivel alike with the back of her hands. Just like a toddler would. Then she fell on her knees and opened her arms wide and finally petitioned The Watchers…

“He killed his first wife for advancement in his career. This I know. I have been sick for a long time now. I have underwear missing, used sanitary pads missing from my bathroom! The Prophetess told me… I will die by his enchantments. All I want is to live. And to have this wicked beast put down. I meant no disrespect. I am fighting for my life…”

Three of the thirteen (unsee-able) Elders nodded at me solemnly.

She was telling the truth.

The Grim Reaper coughed respectfully behind me.

Without turning I walked over to her and lifted her up into a tight embrace. She returned the hug and burst into tears… I did not want her to see the Reaper ‘eat’. No mortal should.

I pronounced him dead at the stroke of midnight.

X/xx/xx 2358 Called to room by pt.’s wife, Mrs. ****, stating pt. not breathing. Pt. found unresponsive in bed at 0000, no respirations, no pulse, no heart or breath sounds auscultated. No code called per advance directive and signed DNR order in chart. Death pronounced by Dr. R. I. Pollock at 0000. NG tube, indwelling urinary catheter, and I.V. access device in L forearm removed and dressing applied. Postmortem care performed and dentures placed in mouth. Belongings checked off on belongings list and signed by Mrs. ****, who will take them home with her. Body sent to morgue at 1315.

Renee Irene Pollock —

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