Hank makes amends with his mentor; another old friend needs HankMed more than it needs him
As we enter the home stretch of our time here with HankMed, things are starting to get pretty emotional. The final season has given us a chance to say goodbye to some of our favorite long-lost friends (like Jill, gulp!), and even though there are still a few episodes left, we’ve now passed the halfway mark, so the tone has officially shifted to unbridled nostalgia.
By paying a visit to Hank’s medical mentor tonight, we find out exactly why Hank’s been so attached to his old Saab all this time. Meanwhile, Jeremiah’s putting his old audio-visual club skills to good use by prepping a sweet little lullaby video for Divya’s new baby, since, ya know, he won’t get to be around the HankMed squad as often as his big sister has (again, GULP).
Even through all the ooey-gooey feelings of finality that are happening, the team’s still hard at work, saving lives and taking names per usual. Here were the cases (which, compared to most, weren’t all that weird this time) from this week’s Royal Pains.
#1: Roid rash is real.
Ken Keller is basically a human tornado of nervous-slash-angry energy, so it’s hard to tell right away that his stress level is indicative of anything other than his usual level of agitation. The self-proclaimed “superstar agent” was all set to be in a fancy Sports Illustrated spread in town, but walked when he found out he’d be standing next to his professional nemesis, Rick “The Prick” Peterson.
Whatever frustration brought him to Hank’s home was good luck, however, because not only is he tachycardic, but it looks like his ticker is kind of a time bomb right now (his EKG shows nonspecific STT changes, along with left atrial and left ventricular hypertrophy — or in Hank’s more layman-friendly words, “something unnatural is causing the chambers of your heart to dilate”).
Ken tries to play it off with his colleagues that he’s taking care of his dad — he doesn’t want to be perceived as the “wounded antelope instead of the lion” — but he’s got a confirmed case of cardiomyopathy, and Hank’s trying to figure out what’s causing it. Ken’s reaction (nope to drugs; nope to diabetes; nope to any bad behavior whatsoever) proves that, yes, all patients can and do lie.
He flatlines at Divya’s baby shower and has to be revived with the crash cart before the guest of honor can even arrive to receive her surprise. That’s when Hank discovers the track marks from Ken’s steroid injections all over his lower back and realizes exactly what’s causing his heart condition. Why the lie? Apparently, he was afraid Hank would get all “judgy” on him (but as Hank rightly points out, he almost got all “dead-y” on him as a consequence of the major omission) because he admires Hank’s free-as-a-bird lifestyle.
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The good news is that Ken’s heart will probably heal all the injectable damage he’s done to it, and now he can flit off to Los Angeles — where he thinks no one gets old — and live the untethered life of luxury he’s always dreamed of, apparently. And with that, another of the show’s long-timers bites the dust. Farewell, Ken Keller!
NEXT: NEVER tell a woman her hormone symptoms are psychosomatic…
#2: Needle squeamishness is all in your head, Evan.
Paige has always been a little too perfect and even-keeled, but the meds she’s taking to prepare her follicles for in-vitro fertilization are taking a serious toll on her right now. She’s nauseous, fatigued, and bloated, among other symptoms, and she’s suffering from a wicked case of Clueless Husband Syndrome (CHS) because Evan actually tries to tell her the symptoms are all in her head, so he can help her get over them. [Insert the scream emoji here.] Plus, he’s basically ready to adopt himself for being such a baby about all the shots Paige is having to give herself.
Paige rightfully tells him off, reminding him of her physical symptoms that cannot be written off as mind over matter (among them her injection rash and “the river of sweat” flowing down her back), but when she loses it over a teddy bear at a potential client’s estate, she decides her emotions might be getting the better of her. Evan tries to go buy the bear (turns out the old thing is a priceless, one-of-a-kind antique) but ends up getting a much more valuable gift from her co-worker: Cut the crap, save your sorries, and don’t do it again.
When he comes home to find that Paige’s follicle count has reached the optimal level, it’s officially “T-Day,” which means she can finally give herself the fateful trigger shot and get ready for implantation. And Evan, he of valuable lesson-learning, decides to step up and give her the final shot, needle-queasy or not. While he does pass out afterward, he gets a tentative “E” for effort, pending future good behavior, of course.
#3: Grave’s Disease doesn’t have to land you six feet under.
Hank pitches Dr. Wickham as the guy for Divya to consult with about the wonders of Stonybrook’s medical program, but all she gets from meeting with him is major attitude — some directed at her for daring to start medical school when her newborn is 5 months old, and the rest aimed at Hank, his former protege, for leaving the Brooklyn ER scene and becoming a concierge doc, effectively quitting the practice of medicine as far as he’s concerned.
He’s grouchy and aging more rapidly than Hank expected, so Hank decides to confront his old mentor and find out what’s aching him, literally and figuratively. Not only is he disappointed in the whole concept of HankMed, but he’s also suffering from the loss of his wife, Lenora, and is disappointed to think his legacy won’t be carried on by Hank the way he’d hoped. “You were the most promising ER physician I ever trained,” he tells him. “I favored you, took you into my home… You waltzed off to the Hamptons to do boobs and botox.”
The thing is, we know just as well as Hank does that he’s no slacker and is still constantly saves lives (even if he does have a nice, cushy view of the beach all the while), but it takes Dr. Wickham falling for him to realize the same.
Hank gathers intel on his symptoms relatively quickly: weight loss, severe dehydration, penchant for keeping his office super-cold, blurred vision, and a fever. Hank’s mental calculator adds up the math at lightning speed and diagnoses the doc as having Graves’ disease and being right in the middle of a thyroid storm.
Thanks to Hank’s quick-thinking ways, Dr. Wickham will get the meds he needs to face his illness. And who knows, maybe there’ll be a cure-all for it on the table one day (“A great doctor once told me, ‘Never assume the treatments will not get better,’” Hank quotes his old instructor). And just like that, Hank’s got his old adviser’s full blessing to keep calm and carry on with whatever he’s doing.
When Hank’s Saab gives him some trouble and he sputters out near the driveway of a beautiful home for sale on a street named Henry Place (and as Evan so thoroughly reminded us last episode, Hank is short for Henry), is it kismet? He whips out his phone with a smile after taking a peek at the number on the sign, so could he be planning to plant roots right here in the Hamptons? After Jill sang a beautiful song about the wonders of being a doctor without borders overseas, it looked like Hank might consider the prospect of rolling up the sleeves of his physician’s coat and joining his friends in Sierra Leone — but now it seems like he might just stay put after all. HankMed HQ at 401 Henry Place. It does have a nice ring to it, no?