David Swanson woke up on a curtained ER bed with layers of warm blankets on him and two pillows under his head. An automatic Doppler blood pressure cuff was cycling on his right arm and an IV bottle of clear solution was dripping briskly into a vein in his left hand. He could hear his pulse beeping from the oximeter probe on his left index finger. His eyes focused on a young man dressed in white.
“Good, you’re waking up. I’ll call Dr. Ganucci.” The male nurse gave Swanson’s shoulder a reassuring pat.
Ganucci noted Swanson’s vital signs as normalized. “If you swallow a glass of water and hold it down I can take out the IV.” Ganucci flashed a penlight to Swanson’s eyes. “I think your brain has recovered. I may have been a day too late in getting the serum into you. You’re going to be all right.” He had the nurse crank the head of the gurney to 45-degrees. “What was your last recollection David? Do you remember where you were?”
Swanson’s mouth was still dry. He swallowed more water. “I was at the Egret Hotel…with…Gideon. Oh my God, Gideon O’Brien, my colleague, he must have been scared out of his mind.” Swanson grabbed the rails of the gurney with white knuckles.
“On the contrary David. It was Mr. O’Brien’s cool head and fast action that got us to you so quick. Do you remember asking him to call my number?”
“No I don’t, Dr. Ganucci.”
“Well, don’t worry about your friend. He’ll probably be visiting you later today at your hotel. You’ll be ready for discharge shortly.”
“Dr. Ganucci, I don’t remember anything about this attack other than going to Gideon’s hotel room. I just remember walking into the room–and that’s it.” Swanson looked at his IV being removed.
“Yes, it seems to be typical for your strain of falciparum. Not only do you have amnesia of the attack but there’s always a retrograde memory loss of up to an hour preceding the sweats, fever and chills.” Ganucci watched as his patient dressed.
“I need you to sign some treatment release forms and you can be on your way. I want you to follow up with Dr. Binelli when you get back to New York.” Ganucci handed the clipboard with the forms.
Swanson’s initial light-headedness disappeared quickly. “My valise? I had some papers from Gideon.”
“Here they are. We didn’t open it. Why don’t you check and see if everything is there.” Ganucci motioned the nurse to get the leather valise.
“Yes, everything is okay.” He looked at his watch. “I’m supposed to check out of the hotel this morning. Actually, I have a flight back home at 1-o’clock.”
“You’ll make it. I’ll have our nurse here be your chauffeur for the rest of the day.” Ganucci walked with him to the ER exit.
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