Thursday, May 03, 2007

Health Care Of The Living Dead

One month ago, almost to the day, I was subjected to a battery of tests at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital that included x-ray, CT scan, and MRI. The latter was the hardest to endure, as it lasted over an hour (starting at around 2:30 AM) and I had a bad reaction to the IV contrast that makes your insides stand out on the image. I grew feverish, with chills, and felt tingly from head to toe, but not in a good way. For a few moments, I wondered if this is what the onset of death felt like.

Well here I am, one month later, doing mostly all right and suffering no long-term effects of the experience. In other words, I'm ALIVE!, which brings us to an article in this morning's Trib. The daily paper of record informs us that not every patient at Presby has to worry about dying during a medical test, because not all of them are alive going into it:

Like expectant parents squinting at an ultrasound, doctors and anthropologists puzzled over CT scans of a 2,300-year-old Egyptian child mummy Wednesday at UPMC Presbyterian hospital.
Yep, our state-of-the-art medical facilities are being used to look inside of 2,300 year old dead kids. I'm not complaining, mind you, since I don't expect that museums find it economical to invest in this sort of machine -- after all, how many CT scans do museums need? There simply aren't enough mummies in need of such examination methods.

I'm just floored to think that this mummy may well have undergone its (possibly "his", but they're not sure) scan in the same machine that was used on me. Pardon me if my creative side takes over, but if a scan at the hospital made me feel like death, wouldn't it be interesting if another radioactive test makes a dead person feel a little...vital?

That would be a great scenario for a crappy late-night horror film. Radiation reawakens a dead Egyptian child after more than 2000 years...he's all out of blood, and he needs to replenish his supply. So he becomes a vampire mummy, attacking lab techs in the exam room, and when he has enough blood to put the color back in his face, he sheds the bandages and wanders around through the building. A sympathetic nurse sees him crying, and picks him up to cuddle him. He moves his mouth to suck her blood, but feels something other than bloodlust overcoming him. His body suddenly grows to full adult height. He has been wrapped up from age eight to age 2,300, and managed to completely miss puberty. Outraged and overcome with the sudden flood of hormones, but not knowing what to do about it, he leaves the hospital and goes on a violent rampage in the streets. He meets his demise at the end of the film when Accounts Receivable presents him with his hospital bill; the shocking realization that he cannot afford the fees for his treatment causes him to drop dead, for real this time.

That's all it would take to kill the mummy. I had the opposite reaction the other day. My statement from the hospital showed that my week's stay cost more than twice my annual salary...but I was only billed for a $100 co-pay because I have a good insurance plan. All of a sudden, my crappy annual pay didn't seem like such a bad deal.

Stupid mummy!

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