2 March, 1999
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"Susan, prepare the O.R., this man is having a myocardial-infarction, and he needs a laproscopic arterial vein scraping, STAT!" calmly exclaimed Dr. Alexiano as he rushed the patient strapped onto the stretcher towards the operating room on the eastern end of the hospital. As he prepares for the operation by dressing in the scrubs provided and by washing his hands with the Hepicleanse on the shelf, and having someone apply the latex gloves he quietly mumbles to himself, "What a day" seeing as how this will now be his 6th operation. As he enters the room and approaches the patient "Scalpel" said the doctor as he puts out his hand waiting for the response. He then carefully made the incision between the two rib cages along the sternum. "Clamps…retractor…suction…" as the doctor repairs the damage done by 100% occlusion of the arterial veins; he wistfully proceeds through the necessary steps until completion since it is an everyday occurrence to him being the chief of his surgical team.
After another grueling day of work he says goodnight to everyone, clocks out, and heads down to the parking garage hoping to make it home in time to sit down and watch his favorite late night show, David Letterman. On his way home he puts in his Billy Joel CD and listens to tracks 1-4 before entering the driveway of his house. As he moves up the drive way the automatic garage door opener clears the way so he can park. He runs in the house takes off his shoes, grabs a bag of chips and plops down on the couch to watch as he has already missed the first five minutes of the show. After the exhilaratingly funny show he finds that he's not tired and so he goes through the channels the way he usually yells at his teenage son for doing. He comes across an interesting looking show on the Discovery Channel, "Magnetism: Could we live without it?" so he began to watch. About halfway through the show he had dosed off on the couch leaving the television on.
He awakens to see that the television was no longer on and the lights had all been turned off. He figured that his son had probably just come home really late and at least had the courtesy to turn everything off. He stumbled through the dark hallway and up the stairs to his room; he didn't turn on any lights for the sake of not waking anyone up. As he walked over to the bed he tripped on a cord and as he looked around he noticed that his clock wasn't on so he figured he pulled out the cord or something and just got in bed and went back to sleep.
He naturally awoke a few hours later because according to his "internal clock" it was now 5:30am and he needed to get ready for work once again. As he got up he tried to turn on the lamp by his bed, but it wouldn't work and it didn't occur to him once that anything was actually wrong but that the light had just burnt out. On his way to the bathroom he again tripped on the cord to the digital clock by his bedside, as he went to plug it in and noticed it wasn't unplugged at all. Confused he entered the bathroom and flicked the switch to turn on that light. Nothing happened, after a few seconds of playing with the switch he thought that the circuit breaker had probably shut off in the middle of the night and that’s why the electricity wasn't working. Annoyed he took a candle out of the drawer and lit it, he then decided to take his shower anyway and then go into the basement to switch it back on. Towards the middle of the shower he ran out hot water and started to become extremely angry. He quickly finished, ran down the dark steps into the basement, and approached the hot water heater to notice that the flame wasn't on and then he remembered the switch. He opened the panel to access the circuit breaker, but much to both his surprise and dismay the circuits were turned on already. He went back upstairs and grabbed the phone off of the table, but it wouldn't turn on.
By this time he was now extremely angry and stormed out the door to his neighbor's house. Not caring what time it was he banged on the door repeatedly until his half-awake friend came down and answered. "What the hell's wrong with you it's…" as he looked down at his watch he saw it wasn't working, "…darn watch! Well whatever time it is I'm sure it's too early!" said the zombie like man. "I need to use your phone". "What for, don't you have one?" "Theirs something wrong in my house, nothing seems to be working, I checked the breakers in the basement but they were already on, anyway I just wanted to call the electric company to see if they could do anything about it." "You might as well, I'm already up, thanks to you." "Thanks". The doctor, already familiar with the layout of his friend's house went to the phone and dialed the number. He put the phone up to his ear and didn't hear a ringing, or at least a dial tone. Frustrated he goes to tell his friend that his phone isn't working either, but when he enters his friend’s room he had already gone back to sleep. Not wanting to bother him twice in one morning he just went downstairs and tried to turn on the news to see if there were any reports about there being a power outage or something. The television and radio both ceased to be working which not only angered him further but was now also getting him worried. If this was a citywide problem then the hospitals going to be very busy and the backup generators don't last for that long especially if they're being used at their full capacity.
He quickly left and ran to his garage, he opened the side door and got into his car. Realizing he had left the keys in the house he went back inside and into the kitchen to get them. While in the kitchen he decided to write a note to his son explaining that he would be back later and not to be worried. He opened the drawer and grabbed one of their cheap little magnets to post the message on the refrigerator. When he placed the note on the fridge he attempted to secure it with the magnet but it just fell to the ground. Now truly convinced that it was an unusual day, frustrated he grabbed the tape from the counter and taped it to the fridge paying no notice to the non-working magnet now on the floor. Just wanting to leave he ran back outside to the garage, went in, got in the car, and tried to start it.
"Vroo vroo vroo vroo vroo" time and time again he tried to start the car, but failure was all he accomplished. Before leaving the car he thought to calm himself down with some soft rock from his Billy Joel CD, he placed it in the slot and nothing worked, not a sound, nothing. Before giving up all hope he tried just a normal cassette tape, but there was still nothing. Now thinking that maybe he was going crazy he got on his son's bike and rode over to the hospital in search of answers or at least help. If there was a power outage then there should be no reason why the car wouldn't work. On the way he saw many other disgruntled people also walking about, without stopping to ask questions he continued on toward his workplace. Upon his arrival he had to pry the automatic doors open just to get inside and he didn't even attempt to try the elevator. He ran up the stairs hearing screams and crying the whole way, he wanted to go to the second floor, to radiology. He figured they were the most technologically advanced unit in the hospital, if anyone was going to know what was wrong, they would. As he entered the floor he saw men in radiation suits walking about and a man in the distance was screaming as they secured him on a stretcher. I over heard one of the men saying that he didn't have a chance of survival, but to me he looked as though he had 2nd degree burns, which are treatable.
"Hold on a minute, I'm a doctor!" exclaimed Dr. Alexiano before two men grabbed him and brought him into the stairwell. "What is the meaning of this, I can save that mans life...let go of me!" "There's nothing you can do" "That man is suffering from radiation poisoning, and the burns will only get worse as it progresses" "How did this happen?" asked the doctor. "The electro-magnetic field used in keeping the lid shut on our radioactive containment units suddenly shut off. Anyone within a particular range of the substance is either like him right now or already gone". Disgusted he went over to the south end of the floor to talk to Dr. Burbank, the leading MRI (Magnetic Radiological Imaging) specialist on the unit. After watching part of that show the night before he started piecing things together, the electricity couldn't be produced without magnetism, and most object work on magnetism as well, but if for some reason the magnetism just stopped, then practically nothing would work. "Dr. Burbank, what is going on around here?" "Dr. Alexiano, correct? Good, I believe it to be some sort of strange magnetic disturbance" "That's what I was thinking, but what could have caused this, and how can it be fixed?" "I wish I had the answer to that. Without any magnetism at all the entire planet would fall apart. Not only that, the human eye would not be able to perceive light as the apocalypse closed in. There's nothing any of us can do but pray to God because I think only he could help us now!"
Suddenly the good doctor awoke, on the couch, chips in hand, and the television still on. Was all of that just a dream, or a realistic nightmare? He got up to see the light was on; he cautiously walked into the kitchen to luckily see the magnets stuck to the fridge, and not on the floor. He turned on the phone to hear a dial tone. All was apparently well; magnetism was intact and working fine. A great lesson was learned this evening by Dr. Alexiano, be careful what you take for granted, because some day it may go away!