Joe Malone, Part Forty-Four

Ch 44 – “The Medi-Doctor will see you now.”

The Med-Doc looked like a good one. It was a bathroom cabinet sized wall mounted unit with various tubes and pumps coming from it. A fixed syringe line. A mask for breathing. A weighing seat. Blood pressure cuff. Thermometers and cardio-pads.

The display panel had scanners underneath so swabs and plasters, bandages and other tissue could be screened. There were many acronyms on a metal plate affixed by the power switch. To show the machine was fit for use in the UK and use on the patients of OUR NHS. And was also USA approved so was part of the Johnson era trade deal.
These approvals were hard to get so they were displayed somewhat proudly on the case in embossed lettering.


The brand name on the plate said, ‘Medicalm. A MediTree Product.’

MediTree was an American firm. Bixby wasn’t worried about the takeover of the NHS by the Trump Satanic forces, then.
Medicalm was a top of the range brand. It measured everything.
Anything could be chosen to be monitored from the complicated looking input touch-screen and multiple tubes and scanners.
Anything from urinary tract for infection from a self replacing test strip in the toilet bowl. To Pharyngitis, sore throat, monitoring, from spitting your toothpaste over a similar swab arrangement in the sink. To Human papillomavirus viruses. Genital warts and such. By resting your nads on the pad on the toilet seat. Whatever you chose could be monitored.

This machine was actual, medically trained profession, grade. Unless Bixby was a Senior Fellow specialising in multiple fields he wouldn’t be able to understand half of what the machine was telling him. Which is why it was linked to a real time, remote link, medical computer and data system, in Fresno, California. Where highly paid, Nobel prize winning, beard stroking, deep in thought consultants kept a constant vigil over every heart beat and muscle spasm of the patient.

Or, alternatively, the data went to where first year medical students, bonged out on the drugs they were concocting in the labs, outsourced that work to I.T. kids in India with instructions to ‘tell us if any of these lights turn red, OK dude?”
All depended on whether you believed glossy sales brochures or Internet conspiracy theory websites.

The power was off, so I pressed the button and the lights came on. An annoying, but thankfully fairly quiet jingle played its tones. The welcome to MediTree message appeared on the screen. Along with today’s date and time. And, probably because at some time the device had shut off through a power cut or something and not restarted properly, the current weather in Tokyo.

While I waited for the device to run its start-up program, I used the phone to take pictures of every label on and beside the machine. I didn’t see anything that looked like Bixby’s NHS number.
A lot of the lines on the stickers looked like service calls. Job numbers. Signed off by the engineers. But they could be useful. If Dacia had enough time to find the service companies and search their records to find these servicing dates.
Their records might have the NHS or BUPAplus account numbers.

I really wanted the BUPA number. They would be easier to search. With eighty five million legal people, in England and Wales alone, all entitled to NHS treatment, the NHS data banks took a long time to narrow down files. I knew the numbers I wanted would display once the machine began to run. But it might be password protected.
Bixby had a staff here at his residence. He might not want them tapping the screen and viewing his medical history.

I decided to have a long drink of water from the basin. I was parched. I let the water fill my mouth and flow over my cheeks. I let the cool water flow over my head. Then mopped the wetness with one of Bixby’s fine, white hand towels. It came away dark with grime.

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While I waited I noticed Bixby’s shower and bath was connected up to the Med-Doc too. I could see a recess, like an old moulded soap dish inset, on a 1970’s bath, where water samples were collected for chemical analysis.

For sure the medical numbers would be on the inside of the Med-Doc. Under the panel. But it could be noisy taking it off. And I was pushing my luck already.
Creeping about a house where any number of people might be residing. Any one of which could come in here for some reason, at any moment.

I cursed again that I hadn’t thought to take Bixby’s Fit_Byte smart watch from his wrist when I had the chance. When I has seen it on his arm that was sticking out of the crushed and wire bailed bloody bundle, that was the former Lord Bixby.

The machine was still running the start up. That was a bad sign. It meant it had been switched off for a while. And was uploading, downloading and checking and analysing what it had missed while shut down. The data would all be there. Taken from Bixby’s smart watch. But that would only be his life signs and basics, using that smart device’s sensors, scanners and cameras.

That should be enough for me anyway. I only really wanted to see the moment his lungs stopped. His heart gave out and his brain failed to send any electrical pulses.
Seeing he was supposed to have been killed inside an industrial compactor, they should all be within microseconds of each other. Or, better for me, if they didn’t show that. And showed Bixby starving. Or suffocating, without the brain, skull and lung compression. So he would have to have been smothered to death, not crushed. Or dying from loss of blood and shock. As from gunshot or blunt instrument wounds or other trauma.
I was getting quite excited. Being here was a major breakthrough for me. The electronic patient records almost within my grasp.

I was about to find the exact time, to the nearest second, that old Bix had gone toes up. Then I would head off to the TV studios to tell them all about it, and clear my name. And make a few bucks too for all the trouble they’d put me through. I might make them hold an auction for my side of the story.
“Mr Malone will see you now.” And “I require a specialist to sew up my ear, what is half off. And a dozen top compensation lawyers. Them ones orf the telly.”

Then I felt the elation dissipate as the rational side of the brain chipped into my happy thoughts against the optimistic side.

Even if I found His Lordship had been murdered elsewhere. At another time. Which I had a watertight alibi for. I would still have to be able to get the data to someone I could trust. Who could get it to someone senior enough, who could check it out and get the manhunt called off.

The problem was, for someone to be that senior in society, they were almost certainly a Remainer. And wouldn’t want to believe it. Might not be minded to.

And, of course, someone else had actually killed Lord Bixby. And framed me for the murder. They weren’t just going to leave it at that when it was revealed there was medical evidence available.
They would want to shut me up pretty quickly. And pretty permanently.

Getting all Doctor Kelly on me.

If I wasn’t careful I’d end up as my own meme.

“Joe Malone Didn’t Kill Himself.”

I opened the under sink cabinet and saw a shiny codes manual for the Med-Doc.
This glossary of terms was itself forty pages long. That was just for looking up what the letter codes meant that the device would display.
There was another volume underneath it. Thicker than an airline pilot’s pre flight check list. It gave brief descriptions of what each code meant.
I took out the glossary sheets for reference.

The machine’s display screen was A4 size. The loading wheel that had been spinning as the program ran, now stopped.
A list of codes in a letter format appeared scrolling along the thin glass. These indicated what the Med-Doc had been set to be monitoring.

There were a lot of them. I counted over twenty three codes as they whizzed along the screen. More were coming.
Too many, surely?

Bixby would have only set the thing for general usage and any specific ailments, wouldn’t he? I hoped so. Or I could be here a while.
The glossary of terms was forty odd pages. With fifty codes a page. And sub codes too. I flipped some sheets and searched for a few of the letter groups I’d could read off the display screen

PRM – Per Rectum Monitoring

SUS – Streaming Urine Sample

MAOISEL –Monoamine Oxide Inhibitor Enzyme Level

PVBL – Per Vagina Blood Loss.

Nah..he wouldn’t be monitoring all this. This was just the program. It was doing an entire check-list for all its functions. The machine must have just been switched off for a long time.

I sat on the edge of Bixby’s toilet to rest my aching legs. I’d been doing a lot of walking and a lot of running and a lot of sitting in a very cramped space in a lorry. I was very tired. And probably didn’t smell too good.
I wished I could use Bixby’s shower. Get myself cleaned up. Hair wash. Shave.
Clean the wounds. Lord Bixby’s shower could report on my..
I looked down the page for a suitable code group…

Non Accidental Injuries.

Then it could tell me I needed to lose some weight. Drink less alcohol.
Intake less sugar and get that dark patch under my big toenail checked out.

It was still taking its damn fine time. So I took the opportunity to give my teeth a mostly dry clean. Using the late Lord Bixby’s electronic toothbrush and mouth monitor. Though I didn’t switch it on. Just ran it under the tap for the briefest of seconds. The Bixby’s had good water pressure here. Something that was getting to be a real problem elsewhere in the UK. Not from a water shortage as the planet dried up like a prune, as foretold by the Greta God. But because electric pumps were outlawed.

As I put the toothbrush back on the sink I glanced up at the digital screen. At that moment all the very latest details from Lord Bixby’s programmed medical monitoring history appeared in a sequence down the centre of the screen.

I wasn’t medically trained myself. I’d need the guide to interpret what the display was monitoring.

BOl- N1 – Bowels open something, something, something.

Though the very top line. The one at the very head of the list of codes and data displayed was one I DID know without needing to look it up.

Nothing Abnormal Detected

That was a strange thing to suggest for a person who had been subjected to the pressure of an industrial vice on their throat for an extended period of hours.

Below the NAD message were the most easily understood and most useful streams for the casual Med-Doc user.

BP -Blood Pressure – 95/65mmHg
Green numbers seemed to indicate all was normal.

ECG – Electrocardiogram
A graph showing the lines of the heart rhythm. Again in green. All was well.

GHb – Haemoglobin 14.2. Green writing so I assumed it meant all was well.

UT – Urinary tract – Numbers I didn’t understand. But again in green. So normal.

SRP – Standard Respiratory Monitoring.
Blood pressure95/65mmHg
Oxygen Saturation99

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This was all fine.
These readings were showing a human male in fine medical health.
The old git was in better shape than I was!

Bugger it! It could only mean that this damn data was old!

The machine had been turned off. Bixby’s uploads hadn’t come through. This was just the data from the last time Bixby had switched the machine on and used it in here. Which could have been any time. From days. To weeks. To months. To years.

Why have a machine that cost more than the average holiday home in Devon, and not use it?

I suppose Bixby might have been fed up being told he had a high risk of diabetes. Or the fat on his liver was going to give him cancer. Stopped using it for that.

Or the machine had malfunctioned and he was annoyed it kept telling him his LMPlast menstrual period was significantly late and he should set monitoring for a pregnancy test.

Damn this. I was going to have to do this the hard way. With Dacia searching through records for the Fit_Byte readings. Searching from his NHS number and BUPA insurance records.

I needed to make sure I had those numbers now. I wouldn’t be coming back. So I decided to video the whole medi-machine with Leo’s phone. Then I’d send all the photos and files to Dacia in a burst and let her get on with it. Which would take quite a while.
That meant I was likely to have to spend a few nights in a ditch somewhere. With only my coat or Boris Johnson’s corpse for company.

I took a video stream of the engineers logs again. As I was doing it I noticed something about them. There was a pattern.


And so on down. The first of every month.

These were service calls all right.

Now why would a service call contract keep being made if Marmon-Herrington Bixby didn’t use his Med-Doc?
How likely would the machine have been to be malfunctioning today, seeing as the last service call was only ten days ago?

I looked at the monitor again.

Still said

Nothing Abnormal Detected

But as I watched the rest of the numbers I noticed the respiration rate changed from 16 to 15.

Not possible..

I reopened the cabinet and took out the big volume of codes. Looked down the index for respiration. Aware that I should be getting going before I disturbed someone. Or they disturbed me. If I dropped this thick medical journal it was heavy enough to sound like a thunderclap in here.

I found the passage I wanted.

Respiration rate: The normal respiratory rate can vary slightly between individuals. The usual range for a healthy adult is between 12 and 20 breaths per minute.

I looked back at the monitor and waited. Counting the One Mississippi. Two Mississippi, until near fifty, the number changed to 16 again.

It was then that I knew that this wasn’t old medical data at all. It was current data. It was now. What I was viewing on this medical display screen was occurring in realtime.

The data was a livestream.

And Lord Bixby had just moved from a steady fifteen, to a nothing to worry about, sixteen breaths a minute.

Which was quite a feat.

Considering the last time I had seen him his ribs had been squeezed by an industrial compactor so they had crashed through each other.
And his lungs had been so compressed that they were leaking out of his smashed jawed, broken toothed, mouth.

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