Ed, a schoolteacher, has been suffering from bouts of severe pain and blackouts. After collapsing at his home one night, he is hospitalized. He is diagnosed with a disease named polyarteritis nodosa, a rare inflammation of the arteries. After learning from doctors that he has only months to live, he agrees to an experimental treatment, which involves doses of the cortisone hormone. Although he makes a remarkable recovery, he soon begins to show some unusual side effects. Soon, it seems that his mental health may be declining.