Thirty Days Ago
The Sesla seas were welcoming as Rydon Nekuma, the Tos-Xiron resident, was steering his rented fishing boat. Her breeze was calm, her waters steady, and her Sun was warm as he steered the older, leased schooner into position.
Soon, his position was perfect. He dropped the anchor and quickly baited his numerous hooks and dropped the lines.
This part of the Sesla Sea was abundant with her marine life and fishing with a net is illegal. In much of the Sesla Sea, fishing is limited to a hook and line by the local authorities. This area of her sea was under that ordinance.
As Sesla’s sun shone brightly on his face, he waited patiently for his first fish.
A Brief Time Later
Rydon’s lines were moving. “I’ve got fish!” he exclaimed excitedly, “I need a big catch today.” He quickly retrieved his catch. One by one, he removed them from his line, re-baited the hooks, and dropped the lines again. “I’m doing great today,” he said excitedly as he worked very steadily at his solitary trade.
As the day progressed, he not only caught numerous fish, he also snagged several much sought after sea doxers. The doxer is a favorite in restaurants. Many Sesleans consider them very tasty. “The doxers sell for more Joxels that the fish,” he thought as he began to count his profits, “So far, I’m going great. I’m making a lot of money.”
By the afternoon, he was feeling confident about his catch. “If my luck holds out, this will be a very good day,” he exclaimed as he fished.
Suddenly, Sesla’s weather started to change. Her clouds began to roll. Her wind started to blow. Her once calm waters were very choppy.
He was worried as Sesla’s weather worsened. “I need to continue fishing. I need more fish and doxers to sell at the market. I really need a big catch today. The rent on my boat is due. I don’t have the Joxels yet. I can’t be short again this month. Mr. Zinqwin won’t tolerate me being short on my rent two months in a row. Without a big catch today, I’m going to lose my boat,” he muttered as he stared at the churning, darkening Sesla sky.
He took a moment to examine Sesla’s darkening sky as his rented boat was being tossed by the increasingly rough Sesla sea. He thought, “She seems angry, I don’t know why. For my own safety, I need to pull up the anchor and get back to the port as quickly as possible.”
He frantically reeled in the anchor and raised the sails. He began his disappointing and turbulent journey back to the dock.
As he speedily sailed back to the port at Tos-Xiron, Sesla blew her strong winds. Her waters rolled. She also began to deliver a horrific downpour. He was completely drenched as he frantically sailed.
He was discouraged and frightened as he sailed at full speed through the turbulent waters, during the downpour, back to the marina at Tos-Xiron.
Once At The Dock
Rydon rapidly began tying down his rented, drenched schooner. Sesla’s horrific downpour lessoned as he tied the ropes. While being distracted by the unexpected weather and deep in thought about his dismal financial situation, he quickly finished tying down his rented schooner and began to unload his small catch.
He seemed to be on autopilot, not really paying attention to the proper handling of his cargo, as he quickly began to unload his fish and doxers into the market carts.
While being distracted by his financial hardship, he unknowingly and unwisely handled the fish and sea doxers without gloves. Numerous sea doxer’s ridged dorsal fins stabbed him on both of his hands as he frantically worked, oblivious to his dangerous actions.
Rydon quickly placed his numerous fish and doxers in the fish carts and began pushing them to the market. As he pushed, he was still unaware that he had forgotten to wear his gloves.
The carts were difficult to roll on the rough surface of the waterfront decking as he wheeled them into the market, oblivious to the enormous risk he had just taken.
Mr. Zinqwin, the owner of Rydon’s rented fishing boat, was standing a short distance from the fish market while watching Rydon push his cart. He patiently waited for Rydon to exit the market.
A short time later, a very disappointed and soaked Rydon depressingly walked out of the fish market. He was short on his rent again. As he exited the market, he was oblivious to the redness and pain in both of his hands. He slowly and depressingly began walking down the long dock toward his rented room.
“Rydon,” said Mr. Zinqwin, “How was your catch today?”
He was worried as he replied, “My catch was a little short today. I had to quit early due to Sesla’s weather.”
Mr. Zinqwin coyly chuckled. “Sorry to hear that. Your boat rent is due. Do you have my Joxels?”
He nervously frowned. “I’m a little short this month. I’ll make it up next month.” He smiled sheepishly as he handed Mr. Zinqwin his reduced amount of rent money.
Mr. Zinqwin shook his head in disappointment as he accepted the short amount. “This makes two months in a row that you’re short. Next month, you’ll owe the full rent, plus the shortages. If you’re short next month, I’m taking my boat back. Understand?”
He embarrassingly replied, “Thanks Mr. Zinqwin. I’ll make it all up next month.”
Mr. Zinqwin shook his head in disbelief. “That would be wise if you want to use my boat. Remember, I’m giving you a deal. I can get more rent from anyone else. Many residents would like to have my schooner for their fishing business. Don’t forget that.” He paused as he stared at Rydon’s red hands. “Your hands don’t look very good. Maybe you should see a doctor,” he said.
Rydon glanced at his red, swollen, rash covered hands. He said, “They’re fine.” He was still completely unaware of his extremely foolish act while unloading his doxers.
Later That Same Night; Still Thirty Days Ago
Rydon was sitting on his well-worn couch in his small, rented room. He was watching the local channel on his very small, outdated TV set. He was struggling to hold his glass as he sipped his drink. His hands were painfully swollen, and covered in a rash.
As he watched TV and painfully sipped from his glass, he recalled his conversation with Mr. Punmirre, the owner of his rented room, several days ago when he gave him the short amount of rent money.
Mr. Punmirre gave him notice. “You were short last month. Now, you’re short again. If you’re short again next month, I will evict you. I will throw you out. Do I make myself clear?”
He took a large drink from his glass as he also recalled his conversation earlier today with Mr. Zinqwin, the owner of his rented boat. He recalled Mr. Zinqwin’s threat of taking his boat away from him and his advice to see a doctor concerning his hands.
He took another large drink from his glass and further contemplated his financial dilemma. He continued to ignore his painfully swollen, rash covered hands.
Fourteen Days Ago
Rydon was lying on his small bed in his rented room in Tos-Xiron. He was burning up with fever. His red rash covered arms and hands were unbearably painful. The grotesque red rash was spreading to his body. He thought as he lay feverous on his bed, “I need to go to Tos-Xiron Mitzid Hospital.”
He slowly and painfully crawled out of his drooping bed. His clothes that he was wearing were soaked with his fever perspiration. He slowly and painfully put on fresh clothes.
He slowly exited his rented room and entered his small, older car. He had trouble focusing as he drove due to his high fever. He incoherently drove the short distance to Tos-Xiron Mitzid Emergency Entrance. He parked and hobbled inside.
The emergency room attendants quickly surrounded him and evaluated his condition. The staff recognized his condition and assigned Dr. Teqre Zewio, doxer fever specialists, to his case. The staff took him straight to a room.
Dr. Zewio was notified of his new patient. He prescribed the overnight treatment. He would check on the progress of his new patient tomorrow morning.
Morning; Thirteen Days Ago
Dr. Zewio entered Rydon Nekuma’s room. “How are you feeling?” he asked as he reviewed the charts.
Rydon painfully replied from his hospital bed, “A little better. Last night was scary. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
Dr. Zewio replied, “Your fever was very high last night. It is lower today. How is your rash? Let me have a look.” He rolled back Rydon’s blanket. “Your rash is a little better. It isn’t as red as was reported last night. It seems to cover both of your hands, arms, and much of your torso.” He paused to check the charts again. “How did you acquire doxer fever?” he asked.
Rydon was shocked as he stated, “That’s impossible! I don’t have doxer fever.” Suddenly he remembered the storm. “While being distracted by a storm and my financial concerns, I unloaded the fish and doxers from my boat without my gloves. The doxer’s ridged dorsal fins stabbed me several times on both of my hands. I didn’t even notice. I was so distracted,” he said as a panic began. He looked at Dr. Zewio with horror. “Am I going to mutate?” he asked as he trembled.
Dr. Zewio replied, “At this point, I couldn’t say. Doxer fever is a little different for each patient. When did you encounter the doxers?”
Rydon replied as he trembled from fear, “Maybe two weeks ago. I’m not really sure.”
Dr. Zewio was surprised as he replied, “Usually the doxer’s venom reacts much faster than that. With many victims, it’s instantaneous. Your symptoms are developing much slower than usual.”
Rydon replied as he trembled, “I had a small case of doxer fever once before. I only got a small rash. It was nothing.”
“That could explain it. You might have some resistance to the doxer’s venom,” he said with hope.
Rydon looked hopeful as well. “Do you think that will help? Do you think that will stop me from mutating?” he asked as he trembled.
Dr. Zewio responded, “Only time will tell. For now, I’m going to keep you one more day and continue with the medications that I have you on. Your symptoms should go into remission, at least for a while. Again, only time will tell.”
Terror gripped him as he said, “You mean, I’m going to be sick again?”
Dr. Zewio replied, “I’m afraid that’s the nature of doxer fever. The symptoms seem to repeat. We will get you feeling better and send you home.” He quickly exited the room.
Instantly, he recalled Lyndi’s doxer fever. He thought, “Her condition has slowly progressed to the point that she is in Dunjyn Asylum.” He was horrified. He began to imagine and fear the horrific possibilities of his mutations…
Seven Days Ago
Rydon Nekuma was lying in the hospital bed at Tos-Xiron Mitzid Hospital, again. The high fever from his doxer fever had returned. He was very sick again. He was terrified as he laid waiting for Dr. Teqre Zewio, the doxer fever specialist.
Thirty minutes later: Dr. Zewio entered his room and began reading his charts again. “I see your back. How do you feel?” he asked.
“Not so good,” replied, the very ill Rydon, slowly.
“I see from your charts that you came in late last night with the same high fever and painful rash. The staff restarted you on the same medications as I prescribed before. Do you feel they are working?” asked Dr. Zewio.
“I’m not sure. I don’t feel very good right now. Is there anything else you can do?” asked the frightened Rydon as he trembled.
“Let me take a look at your rash,” said Dr. Zewio as he rolled back his blanket. “Your rash is covering your torso.” He was alarmed at what he saw. “I’m afraid the mutations have begun. Your hands and arms are in the beginning phase of mutating into doxer fins.”
Dr. Zewio rolled back the blanket on Rydon’s legs. The sight was equally alarming. “It would appear that your legs are also mutating. Your feet are mutating into fins as well. You’re also forming a dorsal fin. Are you experiencing bewilderment, psychosis, or incoherence?” he asked.
With horror, Rydon replied, “I don’t know,” he replied as his inner fear and horror exploded.
Dr. Zewio replied, “That would be normal. Patients with those symptoms are usually not aware of their condition.” He scanned Rydon’s chart again. “At least your fever is subsided again. I’m afraid at this point, there isn’t anything more I can do for you. I will have you discharged. When the fever returns, give us another visit if you like. I put your medications on your medical records in case you need to return here or somewhere else. I want to make it as easy as possible for you,” he said as he put the charts away and exited the room.
Rydon was horrified. He thought, “I’m mutating. I’m going to be just like Lyndi. I’m going to end up in a doxer fever asylum.” As he waited for the staff to discharge him, he continued with his frightening and horrifying thoughts and predictions about his grim future as a doxer fever mutant…
Still Seven Days Ago; Later That Night
Rydon sighed deeply as he lay on his bed in his rented room. “I can feel my fever returning. My entire body is aching from this rash,” he thought as he wiped the feverish sweat from his forehead.
“My clothes are becoming soaked from my high fever perspiration,” he thought as he wiped the fever sweat from his forehead again. “I feel sick. I’m mutating,” he thought, “I hope I don’t have to go to the hospital again.”
He thought as he lay on his fever soaked bed, “Mr. Punmirre will want his rent money for this room soon, plus the back shortages I owe him, and I don’t have it.”
He wiped the sweat from his forehead as he thought, “My boat rent is also due. Mr. Zinqwin will want his rent money soon plus the back shortages. I don’t have his money either.”
He pondered his dilemma as he wiped his feverous sweat again. “I also owe money to Dymor Zur, my gambling agent in Tos-Xiron. Thanks to this doxer fever, I’m going to lose everything,” he thought.
The pain in his hands was becoming unbearable again. He quickly checked his rash and mutations. He was horrified. He said, “I’m mutating fast! My hands are turning into doxer fins. I’m growing a dorsal fin. My feet are mutating into doxer fins as well. If I start getting the bewilderment, mania, or delusions, I will end up in a doxer fever asylum. I would rather die!”
He tried to regain his sanity. “I need to remain calm,” he said, “I don’t have the money that I owe. I’ve made some very powerful enemies. I’m not safe here. I’d better leave Tos-Xiron before everyone that I owe money to, comes after me. I had better leave while I still can.”
He pondered his dangerous dilemma as he feverishly sweated. Due to his high fever, he was soaking through his clothes again. “I will leave tonight, after midnight. But where will I go?” he said as he wiped the fever sweat from his face again.
Two Days Ago
Rydon Nekuma awoke from his feverish sleep. He had fallen asleep in the back seat of his car again. Now that he had fled from Tos-Xiron, his car, and his clothes that he was wearing were his only possessions. His clothes were soaked from his fever perspiration. He thought, “I know my fever is very high again. I feel very sick.”
He horrifyingly peaked at his painful, red, rash covered hands and arms. He was horrified at what he saw. “I’m mutating fast! I’m mutating into a sea doxer! My arms are becoming shorter and my hands are becoming fin-like. This grotesque red rash covers my entire body,” he exclaimed with terror.
Rydon terrifyingly pulled up his pants legs and looked. He was even more horrified at what he saw. “My legs have dorsal fins growing out of the backs of them. My feet are more like fins than feet,” he said with terror, “Can I still walk?”
He thought in horror, “I don’t know where I am. I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t know where this is or what time.” He was terrified as he recalled Dr. Teqre Zewio, the doxer fever specialists warning, “A psychosis that includes prolonged bewilderment, mania, delusions, hallucinations, incoherence, and distorted perceptions of reality will soon start.”
Rydon thought, “I’m already experiencing the bewilderment, mania, hallucinations, and delusions. I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know when this is.”
He was horrified, as he lay soaked from the high fever sweat in his back seat. He said, “I’m mutating fast! The mania and delusions are starting. Soon, I won’t be able to drive or walk.” He was horrified as he thought, “The psychosis has started. Soon I won’t be able to think or function.”
Suddenly he remembered Lyndi at Dunjyn Asylum, again. He was terrified as he thought about the horrific possibility. “I don’t want to be in a doxer fever asylum like Lyndi. I need help. I don’t know where to go. I have to think of something while I can still think.”
Later That Night
Rydon Nekuma was delirious and grotesquely mutating as he painfully drove. He could hardly stay on the Wyluxx Hwy as he swerved back and forth while attempting to drive with his mutating feet and hands toward Wyluxx City.
“Am I on the right road?” He wondered as his doxer fever manipulated his brain. He drifted in and out of hallucinations as the psychosis played tricks with his very ill mind. He was swerving back and forth, as he incoherently drove. He wasn’t sure where he was or when it was. “I hope I’m heading toward Wyluxx City,” he said.
The psychosis from his doxer fever was causing him to drift in and out of reality. It was overpowering his sanity. He was experiencing extended periods of prolonged bewilderment, mania, delusions, hallucinations, incoherence, and distorted perceptions of reality. He was experiencing the full effects of the doxer’s powerful venom. “I’m going insane!” he said loudly as he drove toward Wyluxx City.
The pain from his full body grotesque rash and his mutations was unbearable, as he swerved. The venom was mutating him into a sea doxer. His arms and hands were mutating into fin like appendages. His legs and feet were mutating into fin like extremities as well.
He was growing a full length, ridged, very sharp, webbed dorsal fin. His dorsal fin started at his forehead, just above his eyes and ran along his back all the way to his lumber where it split, it continued down the back of both of his mutated legs. “The pain from my dorsal fin is excruciating!” he said loudly as he winced from the pain while driving on the Wyluxx Highway through the desert toward Wyluxx City in the blackness of night.
He was incoherent and almost unconscious as he deliriously drove into the Wyluxx City Memorial Hospital Emergency Entrance. The emergency room staff removed him from his car and quickly evaluated his condition and reviewed his medical records.
The staff doctor admitted him into room number 1642 and notified Dr. Vinco Blixs, the hospital’s doxer fever specialist. Dr. Blixs checked Rydon’s medical records and prescribed the same treatments that Dr. Teqre Zewio, doxer fever specialist at Tos-Xiron Mitzid Hospital prescribed, only a stronger dosage. He attempted to lower the extremely high fever and abate the quickly advancing mutations.
Rydon was still receiving the heavily dosages of medications that Dr. Vinco Blixs prescribed the previous night in an attempt to reduce the extremely high fever and force the mutations into remission.
Dr. Blixs entered Rydon’s room. He quickly read his patient’s chart. He was concerned. “Even with the higher dosages, the medications seem ineffective in abating his mutations,” he thought, “To me, the mutations seem more advanced than what the emergency room doctor previously described on this medical chart, only his fever is improving.”
With alarm and great concern, he changed the medications in a frantic attempt to stop the progressing mutations. He thought, “I will know in a few hours if this medication works.”
With little confidence, Dr. Blixs exited the room as Rydon lay in his bed unconscious due to the heavy medication. He still had a high fever, a grotesque red full-body rash, and was mutating rapidly.
Several Hours Later
Dr. Blixs returned to Rydon’s room. Rydon was still unconscious. He checked his charts again. “At least his fever is improving,” thought Dr. Blixs. He rolled back his fever sweat soaked blanket in anticipation of improvement. He was alarmed and horrified at what he saw. Rydon’s mutations were progressing at an alarming rate. He appeared more doxer than Seslean. Dr. Blixs shook his head as he made his grim decision. He thought, “I am powerless to slow the mutations.” He exited the room.
He walked to his office. “Nurse Koytin, get me Rydon Nekuma’s family,” he said grimly.
Nurse Kaayt Koytin searched on her computer. She was alarmed at what she read. “His former wife Lyndi Nekuma is a resident in Dunjyn Asylum. His son lives here in town. His name is Arthor Nekuma. His phone number is 577-301-22,” she stated.
Dr. Blixs dialed Arthor Nekuma’s phone number.
At Art’s Home in Wyluxx City
Arthor Nekuma, Detective Maxx Zeqster’s unlicensed apprentice, had just arrived home after buying a few groceries and a magazine at LyMuuke’s Food Center in Wyluxx City.
He was sitting on his well-worn, frugal couch while eating and reading. He was reading his copy of The Visqaser Report, “Who is Sesla and Who Are Her Coteries,” which he purchased at the store. He was reading the monthly geological, historical, medical and science magazine that Dr. Krag Visqaser, MD and Dr. Qen Pytmor, PhD, scientists started fifteen years ago during their later retirement.
He was reading an article by freelance science writer J.A. Ireland entitled: Qashlet Laboratories Facilities, Dr. Rewqust, Insists Sesleans Evolved from the Sea Doxer
The Visqaser Report: Recently, my esteemed colleagues and I interviewed Dr. Rewqust at the Qashlet Laboratories Facility in Guytic City. In attendance were Sygil Zeeg, Guytic City TV Science Editor; Ti Wopqir, Kinkorx TV Science Editor; and myself.
We discussed the genetic similarities between Sesleans and the sea doxer with the respected scientist. Due to Dr. Rewqust’s refusal, we were unable to address the very controversial, DNA genetic engineering experiments, or the other questionable research that the scientists at Qashlet Lab are working on.
Dr. Rewqust feels that the scientific evidence is irrefutable. He stated, “There are many genetic similarities between our species and the doxer. Sesleans have fair, leathery skin like the doxer. All Sesleans feet have a fin-like look and structure that is similar to the doxer. We have a sharp row of bone in the entrance of our mouths like the doxer.
Their young hatch from eggs, as do ours.
The doxer has a webbed dorsal fin that runs the entire length of its elongated leathery body. Sesleans have the genetic remains of the dorsal fin running down our backs and the back of our legs. This partial dorsal fin is visible on many coteries, and is perhaps the strongest evidence of our genetic connection.
The evidence is overwhelming, even though many Sesleans do not like it. The genetic similarities strongly suggest the evolution. The mutations that occur because of doxer fever validate the genetic similarities as well. Frankly, I do not understand the controversy or the outrage.”
It would seem that Dr. Rewqust agrees with his colleagues that Sesleans are genetically similar to the sea doxer. However, he failed to prove the scientific theory that Sesleans are an evolved species, evolved directly from the doxer. That scientific theory remains just that a theory. The theory also remains unaccepted in most circles, circles that are non-scientific.
After reading the article, Art thought sadly, “That would explain mom’s condition. She has mutated into half Seslean and half sea doxer. She even swims like a doxer when she dreams.”
Suddenly he remembered his road trip to the Qashlet Lab. He thought, “We sure outsmarted Dr. Rewqust and his Mad scientists when we rescued Dr. Leqtus Kin, the genetic engineer, from his clutches, right under his nose. His thug, Fyrtee Huytek, was going to inject Leqtus Kin with doxer venom and enjoy watching him mutate.” He laughed.
Suddenly his phone began to ring. “That must be my boss, Detective Zeqster,” He hurried to the phone. “Hello,” he said with a smile as he anticipated his cherished employer, Detective Maxx Zeqster, to be on the line.
“This is Dr. Vinco Blixs from Wyluxx City Memorial Hospital. Is this Arthor Nekuma?”
Art was horrified. He wondered frantically if his mom was in the hospital. “This is Art. What’s wrong with my mom?”
Dr. Vinco Blixs replied grimly, “This is about your father. He’s here at Wyluxx City Memorial, he is very ill. Can you come over?”
Art was shocked. “What!” he thought, “I’ve never seen my father.” He said, “I’ll be right there.” He hurried out of the house and jumped into his car. He hysterically drove to the hospital. It was a brief, but panic filled drive.
A Short Time Later
Upon arriving at the nurse’s desk, Art asked, “Rydon Nekuma’s room number please?”
“Are you a relative?” asked Nurse TeDia Beem while sitting at her desk.
He paused. “I’m his son,” he replied uncomfortably with hesitation.
She began searching for his name. She had difficulty finding it. She sighed with irritation, “Spell it,” she said.
He shook his head with exasperation. “N…E…K…U…M…A.”
She did not appreciate the demeaning, exasperated look. She scowled as she said, “He’s in room 1642. It’s just down the hall.” She pointed.
“Thanks,” he said. He hurried along the hallway to his dad’s room.
As he entered room 1642, Dr. Vinco Blixs was examining his father’s chart. “I’m Art, we spoke on the phone,” he said while still in shock.
Dr. Blixs put down his charts. “Your father admitted himself last night. He is suffering from acute doxer fever. I have him on the strongest medications that are available. I have reduced his fever,” He frowned. “I have been unsuccessful in slowing his mutations. Take a look,” he said as he pulled back Rydon’s blanket.
Art was horrified at what he saw. The unfamiliar Seslean lying there was unconscious. He was more doxer than Seslean. His arms and hands were long mutated fins. His legs and feet were mutated, disfigured appendages with malformed fins. He had a prominent dorsal fin running the entire length of his forehead, back, and the back of his mutated legs. A grotesque red rash covered his entire mutated body. The ghastly sights instantly made Art feel sick.
Dr. Blixs continued. “There is nothing additional that I can do for him. My recommendation is to assign him to a doxer fever asylum. Asylum doctors can continue with these medications. Hopefully in time he will improve,” said the doctor grimly.
Art was horrified. “What about his,” he paused to control his nausea, “mutations?”
Dr. Blixs replied sharply, “As I said, there seems to be very little that I can do to lessen or even stabilize them. An asylum doctor can continue these medications. Let the nurse’s staff know what your decision is.” He quickly exited the room.
Art stood next to his doxer fever stricken father. His shock was easing. He thought for a moment. He made his decision. He walked back to the nurse’s station. Nurse TeDia Beem was still working the desk. “What did you decide?” she asked coldly as she anticipated his decision.
“I’m putting him in Dunjyn Asylum,” he declared.
She was horrified at his cruel, uncaring decision. “Are you sure?”
He ignored her strong body language. “Yes,” he stated strongly.
“I will have him transported there immediately. He will be there in less than an hour,” Nurse Beem said with a disgusted, “How can you put your parents in Dunjyn Asylum,” expression.
Art further ordered as she glared at him, “Put in room 38. It’s the room next to Lyndi Nekuma, my mother. It’s available.”
Nurse Beem was appalled, and shocked, “You’re in charge. I’ll take care of it. He’ll be there in about an hour,” she stated disgustedly.
Art walked away from the nurse’s desk. He thought as he walked toward the exit, “I’ll check on them tomorrow. I’m sure Dr. Neafyndrer will handle the situation properly.” He sighed as he walked and thought, “Now both of my parents are in Dunjyn Asylum. I have double the worries.”
Art exited the hospital and began his short drive home.