[It is the first hours of the morning] Dr. Williamson is on duty at the ER. Williamson is a glass-mostly-empty kind of doctor who looks for worst. He looks at Aaron, sees something he doesn’t like, and has Aaron’s blood driven the 20 miles to the nearest 24/7 blood lab in Ventura.
The lab numbers don’t make sense. How can a WBC (white blood cell) count of 200,000, (200,000 cells/microliter, [normal is between 4,500 and 10,000]) be possible? Drive another blood sample to Ventura to run the test again, get on the phone with UCLA. Dr. Lee at UCLA confirms: This is Acute Leukemia, hyperleukocidic and most likely myelogenous. This is a medical emergency. This will require immediate, dramatic, and heroic intervention.
How can it be that Aaron, breathing a little hard but sitting up and cracking jokes, is so near death?
The battle begins. Dr. Lee, acting as remote observer, calls in fire. The volleys are liquid, flowing from little plastic bags hung on a post, down through transparent plastic tubes, through a hollow needle penetrating the enemy’s usurped domain.
UCLA prepares a room. Preparing a room isn’t just changing the bedsheets. Legions of technicians, nurses, specialists, doctors, administrators, equipment, supplies, and chemical weapons of mass destruction must be ready when and as needed to effectively wage war. The medical team assembles, and begins to map out strategy. An ambulance is called to make the 75 mile trip from Ojai to Westwood.
It’s just after noon when Aaron arrives at UCLA Medical Center, West Wing, Room 1040. Within minutes, he’s a tangle of tubes, a warren of wires, as he is connected to the machines of war.
There are 2 immediate critical things to do:
Reconnoiter….Begin the lab tests to assess the enemy
Destroy…..Get rid of a few billion Leukocytes.
This cancer is spawning millions of white cells per second. White cells (leukocytes) are supposed to help the body by destroying invaders…fighting disease. But the enemy cells are teenage mutant turncoat cells…huge, sticky premature mutants destroying the body they are supposed to protect. Teenage gangs run amok. And their numbers are overwhelming. They multiply, clump together, stick to the cell walls, turn the blood white. Destroy everything by their overwhelming numbers.
The plan of attack on these mutants is simple: poison them to death, and poison the mutant bone marrow cells that are spawning them. Unfortunately, the poisons that kill the mutants will also kill billions of good cells. Killing the mutants will make Aaron deathly ill. Of course there is no choice, as the mutants are nearly victorious already.
But there’s a problem. The mutants are so profuse, too many good cells will die before the mutants are destroyed, and there will be so many dead mutants that even in death, they may strike a fatal blow.
An ice cream cart bristling with knobs, wires, gages, displays and tubes is wheeled in. Two of its many tubes are connected to Aaron; one to suck his blood out and another to spit it back, sans about 1/3 of the mutants, which will be removed by a centrifuge hidden in the bowels of the ice cream cart. Unfortunately, the mutants are about the same density as platelets, so, not unexpectedly, he needs a platelet transfusion.
After this, Aaron looks a bit improved
The first preparatory poison begins to drip. Not the main attack, just some preliminary strikes to soften the enemy….down the tube, thorough the needle, and into the enemy’s camp.