Who Was The Matter?

By Atom Bergstrom

Atom’s Blog

The first part of this story might apply to anyone entering a hospital with a diagnosis of COVID-19.


First part of the story …

Cate (not her real name) went to a hospital with a flu.

She started having seizures in the emergency room.

She stayed in the hospital a week, undergoing thousands of dollars worth of tests.

I saw her between hospital stays, asking her, “Can you stick out your tongue?”

“No,” she replied.

“Could you stick out your tongue before you went to the hospital?”

“Yes.” she replied.

“And no one ever asked you that question?” I scoffed.

“No,” she replied.

“Did they give you any drugs in the E.R.?” I asked


“Nothing at all?”

“No drugs at all.”

“Are you sure they didn’t give you anything?” I persisted.

“Well, they did give me three Tylenols.”

“You have Tylenol poisoning!” I said.


The seizures continued.

Cate returned to the hospital for another week of testing and “expert” opinions, including a cardiac specialist and a psychiatrist.

What was the final diagnosis? Reyes syndrome from three Tylenol caplets prescribed and swallowed in the emergency room.


Second part of the story …

But WHO was the Cause of the Cause of the Cause?

WHO was the matter with Cate?

Her RIGHT leg stiffened up like a block of wood when she mentioned her boss’s name — her sister-in-law.

I advised Cate to quit her job and move far away.

If she got well enough to return to work, she would almost certainly have had a relapse, perhaps a fatal one.

Cate and her husband moved 800 miles away.


'Who Was The Matter?' have 3 comments

  1. July 23, 2020 @ 2:12 pm Atom

    Maria Konnikova (“The Surprising Science of Yawning,” The New Yorker, Apr. 14, 2014) wrote …

    “In 1923, Sir Francis Walshe, a British neurologist, noticed something interesting while testing the reflexes of patients who were paralyzed on one side of their bodies. When they yawned, they would spontaneously regain their motor functions. In case after case, the same thing happened; it was as if, for the six or so seconds the yawn lasted, the patients were no longer paralyzed. What’s more, Walshe reported that some of his patients had noticed ‘that when the fingers are extended and abducted during a yawn, they are able to flex and extend them rapidly, a thing they were unable to do at any other time. Indeed, one man added that he always waited for a yawn so that he might exercise his fingers in this way.’



  2. July 23, 2020 @ 2:14 pm Atom

    Dan Buettner (“The Island Where People Forget to Die,” The New York Times Magazine, Oct. 24, 2012) wrote …

    “Six months came and went. Moraitis didn’t die. Instead, he reaped his garden and, feeling emboldened, cleaned up the family vineyard as well. Easing himself into the island routine, he woke up when he felt like it, worked in the vineyards until midafternoon, made himself lunch and then took a long nap. In the evenings, he often walked to the local tavern, where he played dominoes past midnight. The years passed. His health continued to improve. He added a couple of rooms to his parents’ home so his children could visit. He built up the vineyard until it produced 400 gallons of wine a year. Today, three and a half decades later, he’s 97 years old – according to an official document he disputes; he says he’s 102 – and cancer-free. He never went through chemotherapy, took drugs or sought therapy of any sort. All he did was move home to Ikaria.”



  3. July 23, 2020 @ 2:16 pm Atom

    What if an actual burn on one side of the body could be transferred to the other side with a magnet?


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