by D.P. Lyle
The second Tie-In novel for the popular TV series Royal Pains (after Royal Pains: First, Do No Harm) is titled ROYAL PAINS: SICK RICH and was released January 3, 2012. In this story we find Hank and crew preparing for the 4th of July weekend in the Hamptons. Jill is spearheading the First Annual Hamptons Health and Fitness Fair at a local high school. Hank and Divya will man a medical booth at the fair and Evan, of course, involves himself in everything, the results not always as intended.
The Hamptons: Home Sweet Home
I’m Dr. Hank Lawson. I live in the Hamptons. Specifically, in the guesthouse at Shadow Pond, a sprawling estate owned by the mysterious Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz. I call him simply Boris. The reason for this should be obvious.
The Hamptons weren’t my first choice of a place to practice medicine. Nor the second, third, or any other number you wish to attach. In fact, they didn’t even make the list. Weren’t on my radar.
But life sometimes pushes you along a path you never considered. You’re rolling along, have a great job, a fantastic fiancée, a glowing future. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and violins provide your life’s background music.
Until the train jumps the rails.
The music stops, the birds fly away, clouds darken the sun, and your life looks like the rubble left behind by a hurricane or a tornado or a tsunami.
That’s what happened to me.
I ran a very busy emergency department in a large and prestigious hospital. I was respected by my colleagues and admired by the hospital administration.
Until the train jumped the rails.
I should point out that an emergency room is a very dangerous place, perhaps second only to an aircraft carrier deck during flight operations. People die there all too often. Heart attacks, strokes, auto accidents, shootings and stabbings, runaway infections, and a long list of other maladies can do in even the healthiest among us. And on many occasions do so in short order. I had seen it all and weathered every storm.
Until the train jumped the rails.
My train wreck came in the form of a cardiac death. Not uncommon, but this time the patient was Mr. Clayton Gardner, a man worth billions, with a B, and as fate would have it the major donor to the hospital. I did nothing wrong and in fact nearly saved Mr. Gardner. The board felt otherwise, so I was fired and blackballed from the medical community. No job, no future, and no fiancée. Nicki, who I thought was the love of my life, bailed on me, too. She apparently decided that she needed to marry a real doc, not one who had been kicked to the curb.
The train had not only jumped the rails but had tumbled into a deep, uninhabited gorge.
Unable to deal appropriately with this mountain of setbacks, I drank beer and watched weeks of reruns on TV. This actually made me feel better. Self-pity will do that. It can also be addicting. It hooked me and I settled nicely into a routine of doing nothing. Lucy, Ethel, and I became BFFs.
This stage of my life didn’t last long, though. My brother, Evan, came to the rescue. Not that I went willingly, since I expected that whatever Evan planned would simply be another one of his harebrained schemes. When we were kids it seemed like he came up with two or three a week. Most were stupid and harmless, but a few got us in trouble. Nothing major, but we not infrequently found ourselves on the hot seat. Those are stories for another day. This time his idea was a trip to the Hamptons for Memorial Day weekend. The last thing I wanted to do. But Evan is persistent if nothing else. He also pointed out that I was becoming a slob and rapidly approaching flat broke.
What harm could a trip to the Hamptons do?
Maybe it would cheer me up?
Pushing my doubts on that point aside, I gave up the argument and said yes. My brother is very good at winning wars of attrition.
This little adventure into the wilds of the Hamptons led to a party at Shadow Pond, where I saved the life of one of the guests. A young woman who had inhaled a nasty pesticide while savoring a fragrant rose in Boris’s massive garden.
As a way of saying thanks for my having aborted a medical, social, political, and financial disaster, Boris gave me a gold bar—yes, a real solid gold bar—and settled Evan and me into his guesthouse. He became my first patient.
From there my concierge practice grew. I’m not sure how, since I fought it for months, unconvinced that that type of medicine was right for me. But like breaking in a new pair of jeans, it soon became comfortable.
Now HankMed, the name Evan dreamed up for my practice, is very successful. It still consists of Evan, HankMed’s self-anointed CFO, Divya Katdare, my self-hired physician assistant, and me. Our patient list has grown, we are solvent, even profitable, and once again the future looks bright.
I wish I could feel at ease with that, but the truth is I had my future blow up once before and I know it could happen again. Evan says I worry too much. That it’s in my nature to do so. Divya cautiously agrees. I believe I’m a realist.
D. P. Lyle, MD is the Macavity Award winning and Edgar Award nominated author of the non-fiction books, MURDER & MAYHEM, FORENSICS FOR DUMMIES, FORENSICS & FICTION, MORE FORENSICS & FICTION, and HOWDUNNIT: FORENSICS as well as the Samantha Cody thrillers DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND and DOUBLE BLIND, the Dub Walker Thrillers STRESS FRACTURE and HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL, and the media tie-in novels ROYAL PAINS: FIRST, DO NO HARM and ROYAL PAINS: SICK RICH based on the hit TV series. His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS and his short story “Even Steven” will appear in ITW’s anthology T3: LOVE IS MURDER.
He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars.
He is a practicing Cardiologist in Orange County, California.
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