He was in the last hospital bed. He looked like you or me, Something brought him to that time, and place, but I’ll be damned if I know what they were.
I first saw him when I was conducting rounds in the ward on Friday.
The nurses were feeding him Jell-O which he seemed to enjoy. As he was in bed number eight we got to his bed last. I sat on the end of the bed, and described the situation to the newest batch of interns.
“Doctors, here we have our mystery man. No identification, no government documents, no papers of any kind. The hospital has no idea of who this gentlemen is. He literally materialized in the emergency ward, said “Panooksa”, what ever that means, and collapsed. While a nurse was checking his vitals it was discovered he doesn’t have any. Anything we’d regard as normal, such as body temperature, and blood pressure, he doesn’t have. He looks human, sounds human, but he isn’t human. Every diagnostic tool we have at our disposal can’t be used as well. X- rays cause him to stop breathing, An MRI almost wreaked our machine, and his blood, if you can call it that, can’t be analyzed. So he’s a complete mystery to us. Anybody have any questions ?”.
There weren’t any. Except for meek little intern named Mildred Shine who checked the word “Panooksa” on a tablet. “My tablet is not recognizing the word. But I do have a question. Are we telling him anything he wants to hear ?”. Dr. Shine had caused the small collection of doctors to murmur. This usually meant one of two things. Dr. Shine was on to something, or the doctors were exchanging their plans for the weekend. As it was Friday my bet was on the latter – weekend plans. I had been at that hospital for twelve years, and knew the ways of interns and residents, and I had my own weekend plans, which nothing to do with the hospital.
I found out on Monday Dr. Shine had taken an unusual interest in “Panooksa”, that he was what she called “a challenge”, and began exposing him to radio, TV, print, the internet, hoping to find something that would spark some sort of interest. It wasn’t long before “Panooksa” to an interest in Dr. Shine. She knew the hospital had strict guidelines regarding doctor-patient relationships, and wasn’t going to foul up her career with a curious case. She had stacks and stacks of newspapers delivered to him. She hoped something in them would spark some sort of interest. Newspapers only bored him. So did radio and TV. Dr. Shine was showing signs of wear herself, and decided to eat. She was only one of only a handful of people I know who really, really liked hospital food. Most employees of the hospital avoid it like the plague, and brown bag it, but Mildred actually enjoyed it. She had a small TV sent up to the ward, a pocket sized DVD player which obviously seen better days as it has the initials “MS” in bright green nail polish on it, and a DVD of the movie “Lost Horizon”. As the movie progressed she wolfed down “wallpaper paste” – mashed potatoes, and “green buckshot” – peas, “Panooksa” seemed to take an interest in the film. He got out of bed, and started bowing reverently to scenes of Lamasery, or the home of the High Lama. On Monday “Panooksa” looked much older and much more tired. The head nurse for his ward said she found Dr. Shine asleep in a chair beside a small mountain of very used Kleenex tissues. The Kleenex box was in her lap, and it was empty. “Panooksa” simply ceased to live shortly after noon. But all signs pointed to him not being alive, so how could be he be otherwise ?