sythyry

Stroke-like





(( This is roughly what I experienced too, until the part where it's obviously fantasy.  Also, no tuna.

(( also I merged it with some previous text, because that's how I had intended it originally.
It was Eirlys' and Kaiju's five-month wedding anniversary.  They weren't exactly celebrating it in any particularly intense or formal way, but Eirlys was preparing a couple nice tuna steaks for broiling with teriyaki sauce.

Kaiju had promised to be done with her afternoon client Reneigh by 5:00.   The two were having a quick instant messenger conversation about minor design points, with Kaiju sitting at her desk typing on an ordinary keyboard that had been working perfectly for years.  For that matter, Kaiju's touch-typing had been working perfectly for years, too.

Kaiju thought she was touch-typing this:   "This way looks better on larger screens.    But I think you're likely to get a lot more attention fom phones and small screens — people looking at dinnertime for the evening's entertainment, say.

Reneigh answered, "I don't get that.  Is your cat walking on your phone?"

Kaiju looked at her screen.  She had sent, "ThiB w46ay looks ggete on lS5rger swwdwcrrns. "


She was instantly ashamed, as if she had spilled a bowl of alphabet soup on her client at a working dinner.  She tried to type an apology, but it came out just as bad, a spew of left-handed letters and numbers nothing like what she had intended.   She noticed that her left arm was ablaze with pins and needles, trembling and wesak, and the room felt like a tilt-a-whir..  She managed to type "stroke symptoms" in a search engineright-handed, and what she found scared her considerably.     She shouted, "Eirlys?  can you call 4444[Her universe's emergency number]? I think  I'm having a stroke."

Eirlys dased over from the kitchen, redolent of teriyaki, smearing her phone with tuna.  "What's going on?"   Kaiju explained, more than a little muddled by shame and dizziness.  "Look me in the face," said Eirlys.  "You don't look lopsided, for what that's worth.    "4444 says they'll be here in ten minutes.  Are you safe for ten?  Can I do anything to make you safer?  She helped her wife to a couch, got her water on the theory maybe it was a sudden ninja assault of dehydration, put the tuna away, and got Kaiju her phone and charger and wallet,    Kaiju tried several times to put them into her left pocket, where she usually kept them, but couldn't manage it — she kept dropping things, and getting her fingers stuck and tangled on the edge of the pocket.


After ten million years, emergency services got there.  A paramedic asked Kaiju some basic questions,  "What year is it?", and decided that she was clear-headed enough to confirm that she wanted medical care and pick her choice of the nearer hospitals.   Paramedics wrapped Kaiju in sheets, hoisted her to the ambulance bed, strapped her down, and got going.  One of them whispered to another, "This chick got a dick."  What?  "Yeah dude, look there."   Kaiju was lost in a world of dizziness and terror, and in no shape to complain.




They got to the hospital, Eirlys following along in her car.  Paaperwork manifested, but the medical staff didd not let it take long.   Kaiju was hustled into a triage room, and "Code Stroke crackled over the announcement system.

"That's me, right?  My code?" asked Kaiju.

"Sure is," said a triage nurse.  "Lie back and relax, we'll take care of you."


Eirlys catted her way into the triage room, and stared at the staff with a sharp gaze.    But to the best of her scanty knowledge, they were doing all the right things: inserting needles into Kaiju's veins, arranging brain scans, making simple neurological tests.

Without warning, Kaiju started hammering her left shoulder into the gurney.  "Ow! ow, I can't stop that .. it hurts.."
A nurse touched her forehead.  "You're having a seizure, honey.  Can you hold your left arm with your right?"

Kaiju tried, but her seizing arm was too strong and wild.  Her shoulder hurt intensely, as if the seizure was using all the strength in her muscle.
"We're going to give you an injection of an antispasmodic, it'll stop that seizure.  A needle penetrated her arm, cold and sour, but in a moment the seizure faded, leaving a sore shoulder and a few bruises.    "Now wer'e going to radiology, gonna look inside and see what's going on in that brain of yours."

Strong aides lifted Kaiju to a gurney, scooted her along hallways.    Eirlys tried to follow, but an insistent tech informed her that the scan would go better without an audience,  and eventually corralled her in a waiting room.

Kaiju wasa placed in a strong plastic tube, suffused by a mighty magnetic field, filled with mysterious crashes and deep rhythmic thumping.  Visions of giant robots with sugarplums may have danced in her head.

Then, horribly, the seizure returned, harsher than before.  Kaiju involuntarily slammed the plastic tube repeatedly.  She heard the technicians saying, "We can't get a good scan while he's doing that.    Nothing about the situation seemed conducive to an explanation of her gender; she felt, correctly, she had worse things to worry about.

Another needle stabbed her forearm.  A thousand years later, the seizure abated.  "OK, ready to scan? Go right now, in case he seizes again."
The sugarplum robots returned.  Kaiju was slid forwards and back in the plastic tube, wherein were nightmares and claustrophobia, cacophony and endless din, and marvels of technology that even the gods were in awe of.




Ten thousand years later, Eirlys came to her wife's side, stroked her cheek with the smooth sides of her claws.  "Good girl, you got through that.  They got good scans.  They'll figure out what to do next.  Rest now ... how are you feeling?"

"Shoulder hurts. Need you to make me a magic lotion," said Kaiju.

"With all my craft and all my power," said Eirlys.

"Here comes the doctor.  We'll get this sorted out soon.  At least learn what's going on."



Doctor Aguilar wore the expression that you never want to see your doctor wear.   Kaiju was huddled on the gurney that had carried her to and from radiology, still wrapped in sheets to restrain her rebellious arm in case of further seizures.  Eirlys meshed her stubby clawed fingers with Kaiju's.  "It'll be ok."

Kaiju looked up at the doctor's expression.  "It looks to me like you're about to try to prove my wife wrong about things being ok."

"The MRI did come out a bit unusual," said the doctor.   He arranged with orderlies to bring the couple into Examination Room 21,  and sent messages to two other doctors.

"If you're already asking for consultations, I am scared already, said Kaiju.


"It's just a little unusual.  Doctor Venkssen has some relevant
background."  Abbreviated introductions were made, and the history of
the evening summarized for the benefit of anyone who might have missed
the last three summaries, which was no one.

"So, what are these unusual MRI results?" asked Kaiju.  Dr. Aguilar poked at a keyboard.  "Just for background, this is a textbook MRI of one of the things I was anticipating.  Remember, this is *not* your brain."    The image was a rough white oval, mostly full of striated white matter, with occasional black spots and blotches, and a fat  black X shape in the center.  "Briefly, the streaky white stuff is brain.  These black features are the ordinary gaps in the human brain.  The heavy white outline is the skull.
"I had gotten *that* far," said Kaiju.

" A stroke will show up as a murky black region in this form of
imaging, " said Dr. Aquilar.


"And here's  yours," said Dr. Venkssen, who may have done poorly in "bedside manner" training, or may simply have understood Eirlys's and Kaiju's impatience.


"No murky black region at least ... no stroke?" said Eirlys hopefully.

"Right.  That's the good  news," said Dr. Aguilar.

"Here's the unusual feature," said Dr. Venkssen.
Kaiju's MRI brain image was shot through with heavy white structures, articulated and interconnected.

"It looks like my brain is full of bones...?" said Kaiju.

"It looks like there's some kind of animal skeleton in your brain!" said Eirlys.  "It could be a winged cat."

"I know your mother doesn't like me that much.  Could she have done
... this?  Stuff a dead cat skeleton into my skull?"


"I don't know even a fraction of her powers; she probably could. I am
going to talk to her as soon as the doctors tell us what they know."

"So, the skeleton could account for the stroke-like symptoms and seizure.  Animal skeletons do not show up in brains naturally, so Eirlys's mother —  whom I gather is a goddess — would seem to be the place to start for cause or cure," said Dr. Venkssen.

"Surgery isn't an option, right?"  asked Kaiju.

"Carefully removing an anomalous complex object like that skeleton from a brain, without causing terrible brain damage on the way ... it doesn't sound ... um ..." Dr. Venkssen trailed off.

"Possible, doctor.  It doesn't sound possible,  you'd be scraping brain off of dozens of little bones, and basically pulping it.  Dr. Venkssen nodded in agreement, saying  "Unless the supernatural  source somehow arranged to make it easy.  Which is hardly something to count on."

I think it's time to go grovelling to my inlaws, "   said Kaiju.

Eirlys  extended her claws, and slashed at the innocent air.  "*MOM*!  You are being absolutely horrible, even for a goddess!"


Bastet manifested in Examination Room 21, taking the form of an
anthropormorphic black cat wearing a purple skirt and a loose white
tunic.  Her tailtip twitched.  "In what way am I being horrible?"

"Look at this MRI of Kaiju's head.  Or are you saying that some *other* cat goddess manifested a winged cat skeleton in your new and disliked  daughter-in-law's brain?"   Eirlys's tail was whipping back and forth furiously.



Bastet extended a shining claw, and pointed at the MRI.  "This isn't a cat skeleton.  Cat necks are not a foot long, for one thing.   The facial structure isnt at all right.  The claws in Kaiju's brain are fixed --- yours and mine are retractable.  And what's that blade thing on the end of the tail, like no cat ever had?"

Eirlys licked her forearms, frowned at herself for it.  "You're explaining why what happened isn't what I thought,  So ... did you do it insome bizarre and not very catty way?  What do we need to do to get you to undo it?"



Bastet said, "I had nothing whatsoever to do with this.  Not with my
own powers, not by borrowed powers or favors --- in no way, at no
time, in no place between the arch of heaven and the death-river
beneath the material world, not in past or present or future or
subjunctive.  I do not approve of your marrriage in all its features
and intricacies, but ... it is yours, and you can untangle the
inevitable messes yourselves."

"Except maybe for someone teleporting an animal skeleton into my brain," said Kaiju.


"I *will* work on that," said Bastet.  "And call in favors."

Another divine presence manifested in Examination Room 21, for a brief
moment veiled with an atmosphere of red and gold wings, and spoke in
words like curling incense.  This one came veiled with an atmosphere
of  polychromatic wings.  "Seek in Arima, at Catacecaumene
--- Not for cats, but for dragons."


Bastet said, "This is a trip I do not take once a century."

"To Arima?" asked Eirlys.

"No — of Arima I know nothing.  To Olympus, to petition Zeus," said Bastet.

"This is going to be expensive,lots of favors, it sounds like,"  said Eirlys.



Bastet flicked her tail. "You and Kaiju are what's important now.  Later on I will botherate you more about your poor life choices.  At which point I recommend Cat Attitude #3, the one which says 'You are saying things almost as if I should bother to comprehend or care about them.'"

***

"What are cell phone rates in Catacecaumene like?  My plan has crappy roaming," said Kaiju.  Eirlys squeezed her wife's hand.







 

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