Saturday, May 21, 2016

Generation Four — Chapter Eight: The World Upside Down

   Marc just wasn’t quite right. While he delivered two babies rather successfully; the first to a male Sim, who apparently decided it best to come in, still in denial he was about to be a father, and rather frightened of the whole thing. Marc smiled inwardly. Father and alien infant were just fine. A baby girl. The second delivery was a woman who already had been apprised of the need for a C-Section. Her doctor couldn’t be reached, since baby was a tad early, and so Marc got the privilege of bringing the child into the world. Another baby girl. These deliveries he handled well, whereas his ability to properly diagnose a patient suddenly became a problem for the Willow Creek Medical Clinic.

When it happened the first time, most of the clinic’s Review Board agreed, these things happen — even to the best of physicians. So, they set it aside for the time. The firm had always prided itself on the quality of care given, but even more so, that their patients didn’t have to wait too long to be seen. Marc seemed to treat fewer and fewer patients on any given day, and when he did, it was becoming more prevalent that a wrong diagnosis was made. Not only that but several had left not even waiting to be seen, the time lapse far too long between patients.
While many couldn’t believe it, they slowly were realizing his advanced years may have brought about senility. More and more he just flat out appeared confused.
From the beginning, as a young intern, Marc did his job well and thoroughly. He was always learning, and striving to be the very best physician he could be. For years, he gave it his all. He was greatly admired and quickly rose to the level of Specialist.
Then one day, after he’d finished delivering a baby, instead of moving immediately on to the next patient — which was really the patient he’d been examining when the pregnant Sim came into the clinic requiring immediate care, of course, Marc just stood in the OR.
“Doctor Cantrell,” the nurse said. “Can I get you something? Are you all right?”
Marc just continued to stare at nothing, then he shook his head and left the room. “Thank you, no. I have a patient to attend. That’s right, a patient.”
The nurse stared after him. Twice Dr. Cantrell went into exam room 3, then 6, then back to 3 where he finally ‘found’ the patient for whom he was looking.
At home, Joseph also noticed slight anomalies in his father’s routine. He made the mistake, one evening of meeting him out in front of the house on the parkway. He spoke in gentle tones. “Dad, were you looking for these?” he said, holding up the key ring.
“Why does everyone question my doings?” Marc erupted. “Did I remember to record his temperature. Did I wash my hands after visiting the loo. On and on, ad nauseam. What is wrong with everyone? I know how to do my job. And you, young Sim. I don’t care if you did find my keys in the fridge. So what.” 
    Joseph, who had just become a young adult and still feeling a tad unsure of himself, was taken aback. Marc was ferocious in his own defense. The young Sim backed off and went inside. Slowly, more slowly than normal Marc, too, made his way inside. The youth was waiting in the foyer for him. “Dad, please don’t misunderstand my concerns. It’s only that I think you’re working far too hard. You need some rest, some relaxation. You know, time to play.”  

     “Young Sim, I’m not a child anymore, and as such, I’ve put away childish things.”
“Well, then, how about if you go to the spa for some well deserved pampering. Then, maybe you’ll feel up to taking a nice swim in the natural pool up at the bluffs. Trust me, you’ll feel like a new Sim. I promise.”
“Well, perhaps you’re right. I have been working an awful lot, lately.”
“And maybe when you get back you and Mom and me can play some cards? Whadda ya say? Sound like a plan?”
“I say sounds like a good prescription, son. I’ll leave you and your mother to sort out dinner.”
With that Marc headed across town to the local spa. He enjoyed relaxing in the sauna. Then he went upstairs for a good massage. When he came back downstairs he had his hands and feet massaged as well. No sense in leaving them out. He worked with his hands every day and stood on his feet for endless hours, after all. By the time his pampering was complete, he did feel like a new Sim. Joseph was a smart lad. Marc couldn’t help but feel pride in his firstborn.
As he left the spa, he got a call from a friend, curiously inviting him to the bluffs. He wondered just how much maneuvering Joseph had done on his behalf. He was grateful the lad was looking out for him. Once he got to the bluffs he had to admit the water looked pretty nice. He climbed up the stone steps of the platform and deciding on a ‘swan dive’, took a plunge.
He only stayed a short time, enjoying the coolness of the water as he swam a lap or two. Remembering the lad also suggested an evening of cards, he dried off and went home. After a quick bite to eat, the three of them sat down in the corner of the formal living room to play cards. He lost, but in the end he felt great. 

     Next morning, he all but sprung out of bed, ready for another hard day’s work. Which was a good thing. The clinic was nearly full, first thing. He started in right away and was able to properly diagnose at least two patients, treating them successfully. Marc grabbed a quick bite to eat, and had barely finished what turned out to be a rather dry sandwich when his third patient, as it turned out, stumbled into the clinic and collapsed.  Racing into the front waiting room, he answered the emergency hail, properly and quickly diagnosing the unconscious woman. Triple Threat. The surgery went well, and he was congratulated by the Review Board and given a prompt promotion. He was now a Surgeon.    

The small break Joseph had suggested paid off well, carrying him into the next day of work, too. Again, he was performing at his peak efficiency, even making sure those in the waiting room were admitted into exam rooms that were open. Very few left the clinic that day due to a long wait. Not only that, but he also was on a roll. Three correct diagnoses. He stayed late, hoping to make it five. But, alas, the days were never quite long enough. He went home.
Marc got wind he was up for yet another promotion, his past few days of work going so very well. They were considering him for Chief of Staff, particularly for the way he handled the flow of incoming patients. If they had to wait, why not in the exam rooms where they at least knew they’d been seen. Marc made sure he logged the special medical updates from his home computer. 

       He rested on his day off.  Karly had a birthday, but preferred a quiet one. The twins had their birthday, but kept it low key. Just a sampling of frosting, blowing out candles and a birthday wish between them.  
Marc was anxious to get back to work after the day off. He really hoped to solve the medical problem he’d run into two days before. He was up unusually early, grabbed a bite to eat and was working on a macchiato for himself, when suddenly he felt weird. He grabbed his chest and slowly fell to the hardwood floor. In an instant it was over. 
Karly, almost intuitively, jumped out of bed and flew downstairs to the Butler’s Pantry. She found her husband on the floor, with Grimmie standing over him. Quickly, she thought to plead with the entity. Unfortunately, her cries fell on deaf ears. Marc was gone. The love of her life. Thankfully, her three sons were grown and she need not fear for her own well-being, but they could not fill the hole in her heart. The old Sim wept bitterly.   

And she knew it was time to hand the reigns over to Joseph.

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