Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stroke of Genius

Fucking irony. As Scott sat on the gurnee they were the only words running through his mind. Just hours ago he was happily in his lab reviewing data. He finished with the last stroke patient for the day and was enjoying the luxury of an extra few moments to crunch numbers.

His research was promising. He already secured funding from multiple sources. He had a few medical students and PhD candidates working for him. Scott was making a name for himself. Early into his career he had given up most of clinical responsibilities. And he felt his research was showing progress. In the last year his data had sharpened. He could feel in his bones that he was close to something big.

Scott had discovered a novel compound that when used on rabbits reversed the most egregious effects of strokes. Rabbits who had been induced to suffer strokes could have their symptoms completely ameliorated. Even if the event occured months before. The coumpound regenerated damaged neurological tissue. Restoring it to its prestroke condition. But safetly data was lacking. And a number of the treated rabbits died prematurely for unknown reasons.

He was so close. He knew he was missing a key concept but just couldn't put his finger on it. He stayed up late at night reviewing the data. Often he would forget to eat because he was so busy. He was losing weight. His family and friends had given up on him. His social life was at a standstill. He was fourty years old and hadn't gone on a date for a year.

And then this. First he felt a heaviness in his right arm and leg. He tried to get up and walk around the lab but he was clumsy. He kept tripping. Then he tried to steady himself on the lab bench. But he couldn't lift his arm. He fell against the bench and then slid to the ground in a seated position. He was alone. He lifted his left arm which was still working and reached towards the table. He clutched at his cell phone. With one hand he gingerly dialed 911...

"Hello....hello..." he fumbled with the phone...

"I think I'm having a stroke!"

Fucking irony

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