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This is my entry for this week of LJ Idol, Season 9. Please check out the entries of my fellow competitors and consider joining the therealljidol community. This week's topic was "Keep calm and end this meme."

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - A medical miracle has transformed into a medical mystery for Main Line resident Alexandria Edmund, whose revolutionary heart treatment has led to some baffling side effects.

Edmund, 37, of Bryn Mawr, received genetic therapy from Jefferson University Hospital on March 16. The treatment, which is still in the testing phases, involves using a patient's own cellular material to produce a targeted medicine to reverse heart disease.

Since her treatment, Edmund has become almost entirely nocturnal. She reportedly has trouble keeping her eyes open as long as the sun is up. Just recently, Edmund lost her job as a middle-school teacher when she was repeatedly found taking a nap in a patch of sun on her desk.

Until the procedure she was a strict vegetarian, but now Edmund can stomach nothing but meat, especially fish and canned tuna.

A colleague, Lainey Downington, 53, Ardmore, was among the first to notice the change. "We were attending the local school board meeting in order to represent the teachers' union, when I noticed that Alex was fixated on the board president's laser pen. As the president was making his budget presentation, Alex kept jumping up from her seat and waving her arms. At first I thought that she was objecting to the pathetic increase in teacher salaries, but after a while it began to dawn on me that she was actually batting at the little red dot."

Even more troubling to the former reading specialist, Edmund's form of speech has entirely changed. Once a stickler for grammar, she now breaks nearly every rule on a regular basis. Edmund's former fiancée, Gerald Firetruck, described the troublesome change: "Instead of asking me where I'd like to go to dinner, she would say, 'Can haz dinner nao?' After a while, I just couldn't take it."

Firetruck said the last straw was when he caught her hissing at his pug, Buster. "Poor little guy couldn't understand what was happening. He tried to kiss her on the nose, which used to make her giggle, but she arched her back, reached out her hand, and smacked his backside. He ran yelping into the kitchen with his fat little legs skidding on the floor behind him." A viral video matching the events of this alleged incident has just been posted by a Mrpugface on YouTube. Firetruck denies any involvement.

A source who asked to remain anonymous said that Edmund has been humiliated by the changes that she says she can't control. "I mean, the other day I was showing her my baby, and she leaned into the carrier and licked him like she was grooming a little kitten. I won't be able to let her babysit anymore."

This same source also had a theory about the reason for the change. "Our parents -- I mean, her parents were out of town for a big trip to Hawaii to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Alex was watching their cat, Bubbles, while they were gone. She was normally a very neat person, but I noticed a few stray cat hairs on her cardigan as I accompanied her to her procedure. I keep wondering if it's possible those hairs could've ended up in the sample that the doctors took, and if the medicine they developed was altered as a result."

The medical world is full of stories about changes that have taken place to transplant patients' personalities and behavior following an operation. Usually, these are assumed to derive from the preferences of the donor patient, although the true mechanism of transmission is unknown. However, no such cases have ever been noted so far in this new treatment.

While the doctors who performed the procedure refuse to speak about the case, citing legal and privacy concerns, Stig Branson, an adjunct professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, poured cold water on the cat-hair theory. "The rigorous conditions required for the drawing of the sample would make it extremely unlikely that any foreign matter would be included," Branson said. He suggested that perhaps Edmund's personality change is a psychological condition that would benefit from counseling.

Regardless of the cause of her transformation, Edmund today has become reclusive. According to sources close to Edmund, she has made a full recovery from her heart disease, despite the troubling side effects.

The anonymous source summed it up: "My sister –- I mean Alex -- has turned into a completely different person. She has more in common now with Bubbles than she does with the rest of the family." After a pause the source continued, "I'm afraid at 37 my sister has become a cat lady."

Those interested in the studies regarding gene therapy for cardiovascular disease at Jefferson can find more at their web site.

For a medical perspective on the phenomenon of transplant patients encountering personality changes, read "Can An Organ Transplant Change A Recipient's Personality? Cell Memory Theory Affirms 'Yes'"

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( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 19th, 2014 09:41 pm (UTC)
This was fun, and educational to boot! =D
May. 20th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
Thanks! And thanks for the kitteh!
May. 19th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
May. 20th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
May. 20th, 2014 04:42 am (UTC)
A very entertaining read! I particularly loved the formatting that you chose for it. Very well thought out.
May. 23rd, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
Thank you! Telling it as a newspaper story seemed like a good way to go, because it allowed me to bring in different outsiders to tell the tale without getting too bogged down.
May. 20th, 2014 11:05 am (UTC)
lol This was very cute!
May. 23rd, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
Thanks! This entry is Luke approved.
May. 20th, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
Ha! "a cat lady"!!!
May. 23rd, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
I had to. Sorry about that. Hope you weren't drinking milk when you read that line. :)
May. 20th, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC)
I saw the "used cat genetic material by accident" thing coming, but I didn't expect the Cat Lady joke at the end, and it made me actually laugh out loud. The Python-esque names, and the goofy stuff in general (the anonymous source slipping up and saying "my sister", for instance) really made this one for me.

Also, my cat is named Bubbles. ;)

[Bubbles Adventure The Rompus]
fabulous toes
May. 20th, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
For realz? Give that cities an ear rub (or whatever she prefers). The last joke didn't occur to me until the end, but once it did, I couldn't pass it up. Thanks for calling it Pythonesque! I consider that a high compliment.

(no subject) - alycewilson - May. 23rd, 2014 12:48 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 20th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
Very cute :)
May. 23rd, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
Thank you!
May. 20th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC)
What a fun entry!
May. 23rd, 2014 05:31 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
May. 20th, 2014 10:06 pm (UTC)
What a story!
May. 23rd, 2014 08:57 am (UTC)
Thanks. Nice to hear from a true story-teller.
May. 20th, 2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
Kitty Power! Meow!
(Pet of AdoptedWriter)
May. 23rd, 2014 08:58 am (UTC)
Yay for cats! Meow!
May. 20th, 2014 11:22 pm (UTC)
Fun story:)
May. 23rd, 2014 08:59 am (UTC)
Thank you! The topic struck me as one ripe for play.
May. 21st, 2014 11:31 am (UTC)
An interesting and fun entry! :)
May. 23rd, 2014 08:59 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you had fun.
May. 21st, 2014 06:49 pm (UTC)
Clever take on the topic! I love the "Newsreel-y" tone.
May. 23rd, 2014 09:00 am (UTC)
Thanks! I thought that approach would allow me to tell a fuller story without it getting too long.
May. 22nd, 2014 01:40 am (UTC)
Very interesting info! I like the way you've combined both an actual meme and the ideas-moving-from-person-to-person concept.
May. 23rd, 2014 09:01 am (UTC)
Thanks! That's exactly what I was trying to do, but I didn't want to hit anyone over the head with it. I'd just coincidentally read an article in the "Fortean Times" about personality transfer from transplants when the topic was announced. Talk about fortuitous timing!
(no subject) - jem0000000 - Jun. 7th, 2014 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 22nd, 2014 06:12 am (UTC)
What a neat way to take off from that medical concept!
May. 23rd, 2014 09:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! The two ideas blended in my head, and I took it from there.
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( 57 comments — Leave a comment )

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