Beyond Ice by Helene Levey Zemel
Title: Beyond Ice
Author: Helene Levey Zemel
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR
After the death of his wife, Dr. Martin Singh has become more and more involved in his work. He and his associate, Professor Jim Harrison, believe that they may be on to some important scientific discoveries that will help to prolong human life. They are intent on keeping their discoveries under wraps for the time being because they don’t believe that the scientific community is quite ready for what their research reveals. They set up a secret laboratory in the beautiful wilderness of the Maine North Woods and are excited because Martin’s son, Pete, and his young bride, Liz, will soon be joining them at the laboratory.
As the story opens up, we find Julie Miller, a Long Island housewife and well respected high school music teacher, looking forward to the start of the new school year. While busy at work preparing her music students for the school’s annual musical production, she suddenly falls ill with a life- threatening illness. This upsets the entire Miller family including family dog, Seymour. Julie turns to the Internet to find support from fellow sufferers. One of the members of her Internet forum recommends that she attend a conference given by the brilliant but reclusive Dr. Martin Singh and his associate. Could this offer Julie hope or might it lead her down a dangerous path?
Several days have gone by, and Jim and Martin have been keeping Julie heavily sedated and in bed in preparation for her cryopreservation. Due to the heavy sedation, Julie can barely move although she struggles with whatever little strength she still has. Martin and Jim walk into the bedroom where Julie is being kept.
“Get away from me, Martin,” Julie screams. “Leave me alone. Why are you doing this to me?” She rips off her blankets and tries to get up from the bed.
“I’m sorry, Julie, but Jim and I will have to restrain you. It is essential that you remain calm if you are to heal.”
Julie continues to struggle. She tries to scratch Martin’s face. Martin grabs Julie’s arms and pins her down. He sits on her legs to keep her from moving. Being so weak, Julie is no match for Martin’s strength. She cries out.
“Jim, please get the restraints,” exclaimed Martin as he continued to hold Julie down. “We need to restrain Julie.”
Jim brings in the restraints and they strap Julie in by her wrists and ankles. Julie trashes around and pushes against the restraints, but her efforts are no match for the strength of the two men and the restraints. Julie lets out a weak scream.
“Shush, shush, Julie. We are doing this for your own good. You are going to go to sleep now and when you wake up you will be fully healed just like my little monkey, Gita. Don’t worry. You won’t feel a thing. Martin, start the IV.”
Martin attaches a bag of saline to the IV stand. A feeling of dread overcomes Julie and she shudders. She is suddenly aware that Martin and Jim are planning to freeze her alive just like they did with little Gita. She struggles against the restraints, but Martin holds her down and is able to insert the IV infusion tubing into the port attached to her body that had been used for the chemotherapy sessions. Mixed in the saline solution is Midazolam, a strong tranquilizer. The drug quickly takes effect, and Julie stops struggling.
“Martin, start the propofol.”
Martin hooks up a bottle of propofol to the IV drip. He quickly intubates Julie and hooks her up to a ventilator so that she will have plenty of oxygen going into her cells. He attaches monitoring equipment to check on Julie’s vital signs. He gives Julie an injection of Fentanyl to enhance the anesthesia effect and make sure that she will not experience any pain.
“Jim, help me move Julie into the bathtub. We’ll have to go slowly so that we can take the IV stand and monitoring equipment into the bathroom.”
Martin and Jim place Julie into the bathtub and manage to move the IV stand and the monitoring equipment at the same time. They plan to ice Julie’s body and bring down her temperature before placing her into the liquid nitrogen Dewar. They remove her clothing. A rectal probe is placed in Julie in order to monitor her core body temperature.
“Jim, bring up two bags of ice. We’ll place them carefully around her body. After we do that, I’ll get two more bags of ice to place around her body.”
Jim returns with two bags full of ice. The two scientists place ice all around Julie’s body as she lays unconscious in the bathtub. Martin goes down to the cellar and returns with two additional bags of ice. They cover Julie with the additional ice and then place a Mylar blanket over her to help maintain the cold temperature. They later add dry ice to bring her temperature down even further. When she is sufficiently cooled down, they will transfer her into the liquid nitrogen bath.
“Martin, how do her vital signs look?”
“She is doing fine. Her blood pressure and heart rate are going down and her respiration has slowed. Her body temperature is coming down.”
“Good. We will soon be able to transfer her to the liquid nitrogen.”
“We’ll have to move her into the laboratory. We can temporarily unhook the monitoring and IV equipment, but we will have to be quick so that we can re-establish anesthesia and monitoring of her vital signs. Jim, keep the Mylar blanket wrapped around her. We’ll continue to ice her once we go downstairs.”
Jim and Martin carry Julie downstairs to the laboratory where the Dewar of liquid nitrogen is waiting for her. Because Julie has lost so much weight due to cachexia from the cancer, she only weighs ninety-six pounds and the two scientists have no trouble carrying her. When they reach the laboratory, they place Julie on a laboratory table and surround her with towels. They re-attach the monitoring equipment to check on Julie’s vital signs. They re-establish the IV connection so that they can maintain anesthesia and analgesia. They continue to ice Julie’s body to slow down her bodily functions and metabolism still further.
“Martin, has Julie’s core temperature been sufficiently reduced for us to begin withdrawing some of her blood?”
“Yes, I believe that we are ready. We can store several quarts of her blood in our refrigerator.”
“What if we have an electrical failure?”
“That is exactly why we bought the extra generator. Besides we will analyze her blood so that we have a complete blood profile and blood type.”
The scientists withdraw and collect six quarts of Julie’s blood while they continue to keep her on ice. They replace the IV bag of saline solution with the vitrification solution that worked so well on Gita. This will keep Julie’s body from forming destructive ice crystals that could damage her cells. They add some glucose to the IV. They stop the Propofol and Fentanyl as they are no longer needed for anesthesia. Julie’s bodily functions have slowed down so much that she can no longer feel any pain, and she remains unconscious. Once she is placed in the liquid nitrogen her heart and breathing will stop, and she will be in suspended animation until she can be reanimated.
“Jim, is the liquid nitrogen Dewar ready for Julie?”
“Yes, we’re ready to go. Let’s put on our protective gloves and carefully lower Julie into the liquid nitrogen.”
The two scientists put on their gloves and then gently lower Julie’s body upside down into the Dewar of liquid nitrogen. After they finish placing Julie into the liquid nitrogen, they high five and congratulate each other. After assuring that all the dials on the Dewar are perfectly set, they go upstairs for some lunch. A few hours later they go downstairs to check on Julie.
“Martin, do you think that we did the right thing by cryopreserving Julie Miller. I am having second thoughts.”
“Jim, it is way too late for second thoughts. Besides, it would only be a few weeks before Julie would have died anyway even with the best of conventional medicine. You know what harm chemotherapy and radiation can do to the body. Julie is now perfectly preserved in suspended animation, and her body will be in good condition when we reanimate her once a cure for her cancer is found.”
“Martin, we should look for another volunteer.”
“Yes, I’ll troll the cancer forums and start to look for a suitable candidate.”
“I think that we should start to think of moving our operation. As much as I like it here, the authorities will eventually come looking for Julie and link her disappearance to us. If they can’t find us, they will probably find Pete and Liz. We’ll need to find a location that even Pete and Liz won’t know about.”
“You’re right as always, Jim. But right now let’s go upstairs and celebrate our first cryopreserved human patient.”