John Casey, Serious As Cardio-Myopathy.

Summary: John Casey, patient is male, aged in his late forties. Smoker. It was only a matter of time, really.


As of 16 June I don't own the characters from the television show 'Chuck' et al.

This was written while I was a guest of the Royal North Shore hospital, cardiac ward (6-B). I was lucky, with almost no symptoms I went to my local doctor. I then spent the subsequent 13 (and counting) days and nights in hospital. Longer than when I was hatched. Um, Caesared. Whatever.

My dad tells of his first patient in his new practice. Called out to a farm some twenty miles out of town, he found his patient sitting in his shed, sucking on the oxy hose from the oxy/acetylene cutter, giving himself external cardiac massage. Well, trying to give himself external….

It turned out he wasn't having a heart attack. His name was Frank, and he and my dad became friends.


First off, let me make this absolutely crystal clear. This is all Walker and Bartowski's damned fault. If I'd been allowed to shoot him in the first place, back up on that rooftop, none of this would have happened.

And I would have gotten my pancakes for breakfast.

The other thing, was almost amusing. No-one, absolutely no-one, has used the phrase 'heart attack.' They have been, in fact, extremely careful to not use that phrase.

I'd been doing my job, defending the moron who couldn't stay in the car, and shooting bad guys who specialized in shooting morons who didn't listen to their handlers and decide for idiotic reason best know to themselves to get out of their nice, safe cars in the first place.

In other words, a normal mission. So it got a little hairy when Walker and I were down to our last magazines each. I shared a glance with Walker. We'd both been in this position before.

And then, there was no air.

I was lying on my side, and Bartowski was bumping his gums (loudly) about something. Third time I'd tried to inhale, and barely nothing. This might be serious…..

And then Bartowski took the .45 from my hands and started shooting at bad guys….. You'll notice I said 'at' bad guys. It did however allow Walker to actually shoot baddies.

He actually looked like he knew what he was doing. I'll give him this, he knew where the bad guys were, and fired at them (all the time still screaming like a My Magic Pony that's just realized that collectables might not all be collectable). If it wasn't for the problem I had with breathing, this might have been one of my best memories. Of this hole, at least.

As Bartowski called an ambulance, and Walker had the clean-up crew on the other line, it was all I could do to just to lie there. It was like I'd just run a marathon, without the joy of actually having run a marathon.

We spent half an hour in triage, and then I got moved to emergency. Once they had me on oxygen, things were better. I could breath.

The doctor, seriously, everyone in scrubs at this point looked like they were eighteen or so. So the doctor or nurse kept asking me about pain. They didn't seem to understand I had no pain.

I got allocated a bed about three the next morning. I'd sent the moron and his doe eyed skirt home about midnight. I got wheeled into my new home some time around 0330, eighth floor, ward C for Charlie. A shared room, three other incumbents.

Naturally, my doctor turned out to be Devon 'Awesome' Woodcomb. Awesome. Terrific. A city, a major US city, the size of Los Angeles, and the gorran Bartowski clan just keeps cropping up. No wonder bad guys have no problems finding him here. All they have to do is stand still anywhere within the city limits, and some Bartowski cloneling pops by to offer them a flower and directions to the mother ship.

"Mister Casey? Everything alright? The monitor shows you in fibrillation," asked a nurse, as she and a friend then proceeded to give me a full ECG, not exactly waiting for my permission to go ahead.

The same thing had happened that afternoon just after I'd had a bowel movement. They plugged me back in and ECG'd me. Bottom line, and I have the medical proof, Bartowski affects me as much as I give a shi….. thinking about Bartowski can cause my heart rate to spike.

Gotta say this for an age of litigation. They tell you everything. So, while I hadn't had symptoms as such, obviously I'd had a heart problem for a bit. So, I had, from the top, an enlarged heart, which may have caused the partial kidney failure, leaking from, not one, but both atrial (the ones at the top) valves, the combination of which almost certainly caused the rapid pulse – 160 per minute, okay I'll give that as fast – and then the crowning glory, atrial flutter. My atria were tap dancing, independently of each other by the way, to a different bagpipe player as the rest of my heart. Apparently this is a situation where atrial fibrillation is actually an improvement. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

That would be why, on Wednesday, I found four fresh faced, wholesome idiots who introduced them selves from the foot of my bed as medical students, and they'd been told I was 'interesting.'

Interesting. I'd spent my entire career avoiding 'interesting.' My first platoon sergeant once gave me excellent advise – that is kind of what platoon sergeants are for – 'never be first, never be last and never volunteer.'

In other words, try to not be interesting.

So here I was, being found interesting by the next generation of doctors…. And if they can learn something from me as opposed to reading about it in a book…

They left me, chatting animatedly amongst themselves, making ess shaped wiggles with their hands and muttering the word 'Kentucky' excitedly. Maybe there was hope for the future, these idiots seemed pretty bright. For idiots.

Coincidentally, Wednesday was the day I got fed up with wearing a skirt. Hospital gowns probably have a use, but pajamas are better. At no point, I want to make this clear, at no point would my position be described as a 'hissy fit.'

Technically, as Walker points out, it's my own fault. And as pajamas are mainly worn by young children, the designs for larger sizes are, well the same. That and apparently I didn't tell the moron to not buy me Sponge Bob Square Pant pajamas.

Until this moment, I'd only vaguely had an idea who or what a Sponge Bob was. The evil bastard held them up, dancing back, out of reach. She was just as bad as he was…

They were enjoying this. Bastards.

At least I could walk like a man again. Even if Devon pointed out, "Nice Sponge Bob jamies there, John."

Because of alleged kidney damage, honestly, it looked and smelled normal, I was given diuretics to ease the function back to normal, and also remove the fluid on my lungs (yeah, forgot about that, that was the reason I had trouble breathing in the first place). So, I'm peeing like a fire-hose. Every half an hour or so, and off I trot again. So by Thursday, they give me a measuring cup, and ask me to keep score.

At least the iPhone that the moron insisted I get has a use now. The little on-screen note pages….. three thousand 'mils,' is that a lot? Feels like it is. Oh, look, the metric converter the phone has says that three thousand mils is… well, that just can't be right.


I'm not admitting I looked forward to Walker and the moron visiting me. But it would be wrong of me to say I wasn't worried about them turning up and I was out, having a procedure. The damn procedure was vaguely promised/threatened all day. So for the third day, my breakfast paid a visit before it was taken away. This time they did the same with lunch (lamb curry from memory – but memory of what I order and what does turn up don't always agree). So I was getting peckish by about four in the afternoon. By four thirty, I figured nothing was going to happen and I snuck down to the vending machines near the elevators. Choice between a Mars bar or a Coke. Coke won. I had literally taken a sip when they took me.

The next thing I know, Angela (bossy, part Asian – I'm guessing Pilipino – I like her) had me in my bed demanding I take my pants off, and then she and the transport nurse changed me into the gown. My opened Coke, corp ring and watch were left next to the DVD player Bartowski'd given me, paused on one of the cop shows he'd loaned me (it's okay, but the main players need to get their shit in order, and stop dancing around their feelings for each other)….

Anyway, I'm taken away with zero notice down to theatre, where Angela and I wait. And wait. And then I conform I am the one who signed the consent form, yes, my mother's maiden name was… and yes, I do have a mole the shape of Hugh Heffner on my….

And then I'm taken to a waiting room outside (I presume) the theatre. A spray of something nasty down my throat, and a drip. I'm not tired. I'm not tired at all. I'm not tired, this is interesting…. I'm just closing my eyes, but I'm not tire….

…d at all. See? I'm awake, I didn't sleep.

Why are they moving me?

They tell me that my heart is back in sinus rhythm, beating the way it was meant to. They tell me everything went fine. My throat hurts….

When I get back to the ward, Bartowski and Walker are waiting for me. I check my watch as I put it back on. It's almost seven pm.

"Did you pair wait three hours?"

"Yeah." Says Bartowski, as if I'd been stupid for asking.

I looked at the now room temperature Coke. My dinner had been delivered, about two hours ago. I lifted the plastic cover on the mains… Moroccan Beef. It looked like it would have been nice when it was warm.

While I'm sitting there after Angela pointedly reminds me while the morons, one armed one not, both dangerous, are sitting there that I cannot drink or eat anything for another forty five minutes.

Walker nods to Angela that the message has been received. After Angela moves on, Walker smiles at me, "Bossy. I like her."

Bartowski opens his mouth to agree or something, and then spots the way Walker is smiling at him. Good lad, he shuts his mouth.