At that moment, the door opened and a tall, thin man with with a few wisps of grey hair, a long pointed nose, a lab coat and glasses entered the room. A stethoscope stuck out of his pocket. He exuded an air of quiet competence. He pulled the two charts from a holder by the door. “Milo Murphy and Zack Underwood?”
“Yes,” replied Milo and Zack together.
“My name is Dr. Dunwood,” he said. “I’ll be your attending physician.” He flipped through their charts, examining the notes the admitting nurse and the ER doctor had made in the small hours of the morning.
Name: Underwood, Zachary Alan Butler
Date of Birth: July 14, 2002
Height: 5’ 6”
Weight: 112 pounds
Blood type: A-
Pre-existing conditions: None
· Fourteen year old African-American male was admitted to San Fransokyo General Hospital at 01:33 AM along patient designated M Murphy following an encounter with the vigilante superhero team known as Big Hero 6 and the following known supervillains:
o Mr. Sparkles
o Noodle Burger Boy
· Patient was admitted with symptoms consistent with a grade four concussion, numerous contusions and a laceration above the left eye.
· Patient was examined for additional injuries. None determined to be present.
· Patient was given twelve stitches for facial laceration and admitted to hospital for observation of additional symptoms in relation to concussion.
A signature had been scribbled at the bottom.
Dr. Dunwood pulled a small penlight out of a pocket and shone it in Zack’s eyes. He watched carefully as Zack’s pupils dilated in response to the stimulus. He scribbled some notes on Zack’s chart. He put the penlight away and held up his index finger. Zack’s eyes slowly moved back and forth in response. He scribbled some more notes. “I’d like to ask you some questions, if that’s alright,” said Dr. Dunwood.
Zack nodded. “Sure,” he said.
“Have you experience any headaches?” asked Dr. Dunwood.
“No,” replied Zack.
Dr. Dunwood scribbled some notes. “How about dizziness?”
“A little,” replied Zack. Dr. Dunwood kept scribbling.
“Have you experienced any sensory sensitivity?” asked Dr. Dunwood.
“No,” answered Zack. More scribbling.
Zack shook his head. “I don’t think so.” Still more scribbling.
Dr. Dunwood examined Zack’s medical chart again. “Your chart says that you’re from Danville, is that right?”
Zack nodded. “My regular doctor is my Mom,” he said, guessing at Dr. Dunwood’s next question. “She’s a trauma surgeon with Danville Municipal Hospital.” He rattled off Dr. Underwood’s work e-mail and phone number as Dr. Dunwood continued to scribble quickly.
Dr. Dunwood stopped writing and looked at Zack’s chart again. “Based on these notes, you seem to be in relatively good health,” he said. “I’m going to recommend keeping you in the hospital for one or two more days just to be on the safe side, but no longer than that.”
Zack shrugged. “OK,” he said.
Dr. Dunwood replaced Zack’s chart in the holder by the door and turned to Milo. He quickly glanced through Milo’s chart.
Name: Murphy, Milo Danger
Date of Birth: October 24, 2003
Height: 5’ 3”
Weight: 96 pounds
Blood type: O+
Pre-Existing Conditions: Extreme Hereditary Murphy’s Law
· Fourteen year old Caucasian male was admitted to San Fransokyo General Hospital at 01:33 AM along with patient designated Z Underwood.
· Patient was admitted with symptoms consistent with an extreme physiological and genetic transformation, in addition to substantial internal bruising and fractures in the tibia and the fibula in the left leg. The patient’s presumed legal guardians, B Cavendish and V Dakota, described witnessing the patient transform from natural state to a state described as that of a reptile-human hybrid almost instantly.
· They additionally claim that the situation was complicated by the existence of a pre-existing condition known as EHML, which causes the sufferer’s body to emit a field of negative probability ions, which automatically skews all outcomes toward negative results.
· The patient’s mutated state was reversed with the application of an experimental treatment of nanobots designed to undo the physiological and genetic effects of the initial mutation.
· Due to the unusual of the nature of the patient’s illness, treatment and pre-existing condition additional follow-up tests are recommended.
Dr. Dunwood proceeded to ask Milo a much longer and more detailed list of questions than he had asked of Zack, who interjected several times with answers of his own, all of which Dr, Dunwood dutifully wrote down. After a solid half hour of questioning Milo, along with additional questions for Hiro, Cavendish and Dakota, Dr. Dunwood ran his eye down his extensive notes. After a second or two, Dr. Dunwood scribbled a few final notes. “Milo, I’m going to recommend that you stay in the hospital for a few days. I’d like to run some additional tests, just to be sure we haven’t missed anything. Do you have a family doctor?”
Milo nodded. “His name is Dr. Gardner.” Milo rattled off Dr. Gardner’s phone number and e-mail.
“You can also talk to my Mom,” interjected Zack, “she’s familiar with Milo’s situation.”
Dr. Dunwood nodded and made a couple of final notes on Milo’s chart. “The orderlies will probably come to get you this afternoon,” he said. He strode to the door, replaced Milo’s chart in the holder on the wall with Zack’s and went out.
The orderlies came to collect Milo an hour after lunch. He pushed aside his lunch tray and levered himself out bed and into the wheelchair parked next to his hospital bed. It collapsed with a clatter of metal and Milo landed on the floor with a thump that send a jolt of pain shoot through his broken leg.
“Ow!” he said with a slight grimace.
Zack turned his attention away from the episode of Cash Wheel on the TV in the corner. A boy in a blue and white baseball hat had landed on “Cash Tsunami,” and was deluged in tidal wave of money. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and planted his feet on the linoleum floor. It was slight cold. “You OK, Milo?”
Milo nodded. The throbbing pain in his leg had subsided a little. “Yeah. I’m fine,” he said.
The two orderlies surveyed their charge, sitting splay legged on the floor surrounded by the wreckage of his wheelchair. “I…,” said the tall one.
“Yeah,” said the short one in surprise. “That’s never happened before. The wheelchair must have been defective.”
Milo shook his head. “No, it wasn’t defective,” he said.
The two orderlies looked confused and Zack and Milo both chuckled. “This was Murphy’s Law,” replied Milo. “Zack, do you mind helping me up?”
“Sure thing, buddy.”
That jogged the two orderlies. “No,” they said to Zack, “you’re not supposed to over exert yourself.” They knelt down and on the count of three gently lifted Milo to his feet. He wobbled slightly, putting most of his weight on his right foot. He almost fell again until Zack thrust his shoulder under Milo’s right arm and guided him over to the edge of Milo’s hospital bed. With something solid under him, Milo was able to take most of his body weight off of his bad leg. The two orderlies disappeared and cam back ten minutes later. They were both pushing an empty wheelchair. Milo slowly lowered himself into the closest one and everyone waited for something to happen. When nothing did, the orderlies secured Milo’s broken leg to ensure that it wouldn’t move or collide with anything and wheeled him out of the room.
The neurology unit was only four floors down, but it took forty five minutes to get there. The elevator broke down twice and extracting Milo and the two orderlies was complicated by Milo’s broken leg. Eventually, Milo was wheeled into the examination room. The room was slightly chilly and Milo felt goosebumps run up his arms. An array of surgical lights on an articulated arm hung from the middle of the ceiling. A long stainless steel table stood along one of the room’s tiled walls bearing various pieces of medical equipment. Several high definition TV monitors hung on the opposite wall. In the middle of the room, in a bright pool of light cast by the surgical lights, stood a metal chair. The whiff of bleach hung in the air and made Milo’s nostrils burn slightly. The two orderlies wheeled Milo into the middle of the room. They helped him out of his wheelchair and he hobbled over to the metal chair and levered himself into it. The metal was slightly cold on the backs of his legs and Milo shivered slightly as he sat down. The two orderlies turned and left.
From somewhere behind him, Milo heard a door open, then close and accompanied by the sound of foot steps on the linoleum floor. A slightly heavy set woman in with short blond hair walked into his field of view. She was wearing a lab coat over hospital pants and a T-shirt. She glanced at the clipboard in her hands and quickly glanced through her notes. “Hello, Milo,” she said. “My name is Dr. Wendover. How are you feeling today?”
“Fine,” replied Milo with a shrug, “well,” he amended, “aside from my leg.” He nodded to indicate his cast.
“And how did you break your leg?”
“I don’t really remember,” replied Milo. “I was not exactly myself at the time.” He suddenly felt a little uncomfortable again. Zack had explained how he had to interpose himself between Milo and Melissa when Milo had tried to attack her. Milo wasn’t sure he could have lived with himself if any of his friends had gotten hurt. Except someone did get hurt, Milo reminded himself. Zack had a concussion. He’ll be fine, Milo thought. Almost as soon as the thought occurred to him, Milo thought, that’s not really the point.
Dr. Wendover scribbled some notes on her clipboard. “Milo, I’d like to ask you a few questions before we begin, OK?”
Milo nodded. “OK, Dr. Wendover.”
Dr. Wendover proceeded to ask Milo a long list of questions. Including some of the same questions that he had answered for Dr.Dunwood, but he answered them again anyway. After about twenty minutes of questioning, she stopped writing, glanced through her notes and looked up at Milo. “OK, Milo,” she said, nodding to the technician who was standing out of Milo’s field of view. The hi-def TV monitors came to life. “We’re going to run a few neurological tests. Nothing invasive, all routine, just to make there are lasting side effects from your mutation, OK?”
Milo nodded in understanding. Dr. Wendover nodded to the technician and placed a pair of electrodes on Milo’s forehead. He heard the sound of clicking keys as the technician entered commands into his computer via the keyboard.
“OK, Milo,” said Dr. Wendover, “I just want you to looked at the TV monitor. I’m going to show you a series of images. All you need to do is look at them while I record your responses.” She took the leads and plugged them into the EKG machine which stood on a metal table next Milo’s chair. She plugged them in to a port on the side of the machine and turned it on. Milo could hear the slow scratching of a stylus On the wall, the monitor began to display a series of random image and abstract shapes. They flicked by slowly at first, then faster and faster. They became more complex and began to appear in different parts of the screen. They moved back and forth changed colours and orientation. The test was approximately when the TV monitor flickered once or twice then went blank. Dr. Wendover opened her mouth say something to the technician, when the the TV monitor suddenly fell to the floor with a loud crash and the tinkling sound of breaking glass.
Milo started slightly. He had been slightly mesmerized by the increasingly abstract parade images and shapes. “Oh, I’m sorry-,” he began.
“Was that-?” began Dr. Wendover.
Milo shrugged and nodded. “Murphy’s Law? Yeah.”