They’ve said that in one, unaccountable moment in time, your whole life flashes before your eyes. They lied.
I didn’t see a blinding flash either, or the light at the end of an endless tunnel. None of that. If I had the capacity of being disappointed, I probably would be. But I’m only hesitantly confident to report that it could of been much worse.
For what felt, and I knew, had to be forever and a day, there was pain. It tore, it stung, it burned, it crushed. It was all over, everywhere. In one enormous wave, it crashed on me. Above me, below me. There was no escape, no movement. My eyes wouldn’t open. My body was completely paralyzed.
But in some odd way, it was beyond pleasure that I’ve ever felt. It was warm and full and flowed through me. I felt weightless and I wanted to curl up and melt away in this feeling for as long as I could. It made me forget about everything.
I realized I was being torn two different ways. Excruciating pain one way and enveloping euphoria the other. I couldn’t choose either way, I let the two powerful forces fight each other.
I wasn’t in control of myself. I was aware of what was happened, but either didn’t care or didn’t have to strength to have the power to make any sense of it. Instead, I let happen what happened. I wasn’t sure how long I was swamped in darkness. It could have been a few seconds or a few hours. But it wasn’t exactly a scary darkness. Something loomed inside it. Something I couldn’t exactly describe.
But then it was hard. And cold. All of the bliss was gone.
I was on the ground and I couldn’t move. The substance under my head felt hard. It was rough and rugged, like asphalt. Pain was lighter, but just as prevalent. My legs felt like they had been shattered into a million pieces and my ribs cut into my lungs. It was so difficult to try to breathe. With every breath, my chest closed in on me. I became aware of a large object close to my right side. The taste of metal was in my mouth. I tried to spit it out and a red liquid came out.
My lungs crushed harder on me. I wanted to scream. And again. Wind was howling around my ears. All I could distinguish aside from my shaky, raspy breathing was a heavy, fitful heart beat that I prayed was not mine. It was getting harder to breathe. I couldn’t hear anything, the wind was dulling my senses as if I was submerged underwater.
I looked up. Someone was yelling something at me. He looked around and started yelling at me again. He was blurry. I couldn’t understand anything he said. My ears must have been stuffed with cotton. I squinted to try to read his lips, but he was so out of focus, that I gave up. When I tried to turn away, an unpleasant crack came from my neck. Kneeling down beside me, he opened up my eyes and flashed a light in them which really hurt. I closed them and tried to wave him away.
What is happening? Please leave me alone.
Now someone was carrying me. I screamed in silence. Why can’t anyone hear me? Let me go.
Something sparked in my mind. Where’s Marc?
When I was being picked up off the ground, I was able to see the bumper of a car. It loomed in my face and my head almost hit it. Glass was gleaming faintly on the ground where I was laying. I could make out the dimness of evening. But that’s about all. The man was still staring at me and talking in his muffled language that I didn’t want to understand.
I want to stand up on my own.
Now I was on something soft. Something was being wrapped over my legs and my arm. Something put around my neck. More muffled yelling. More darkness. More movement all around me. I wish I could hear what was going on. The burning in my legs and chest blocked everything out.
It’s starting to hurt more now. What are they doing to me?
I closed my eyes, but it hurt to. I tried to stay awake and figure this out.
A red wall. White too. Red lights. A door. Glass. There were tubes all around my face. These were paramedics. I could recognize the little blue and white symbol anywhere.
I was dying.
Now I was inside where it was small and crowded. The yelling was becoming clearer. I could make out some words that I’ve never heard of before.
Someone who wasn’t a paramedic. A face I’ve seen before. Marc. He looked different. He wasn’t yelling at me. He was just watching me, speechless. His eyes had a peculiar sheen. He was crying. I’ve never seen him cry.
I wanted to touch him. Hold him. Wipe away those tears. Why can’t I move? Please let me have Marc. Marc, please make this go away.
There was something on my fingers. It was soft and warm. Marc.
My eyes closed. The pain was going away. It was getting black again. And it wasn’t the nighttime. As the pain leaked away, that strange feeling before came back. It was replacing the crushing in my chest and the burning in my limbs. It was coming back. Everywhere. It was even stronger and more unexplainable than before. But I had a feeling Marc couldn’t reach me.
Somehow, I came back.
I could see. It was a room I’ve never been in before. My vision was clear now. But I think that’s all that was clear to me. Immediately I felt like something was way off. All the pain was gone. But it felt like I had been hollowed out. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t hear. I couldn’t taste. I couldn’t smell. My senses were gone. Completely gone. I was empty. Everywhere.
As far as I could tell, I was standing, but there was no ground underneath me. It was far away, yet right under my feet.
I looked down at myself. I was the same. Same t-shirt, same jeans, same shoes. My arms and hands were there. I don’t understand it.
Hospitals were not my favorite place to be. They are never fun to be in. But of course, that’s not their purpose. They hold the sick and suffering, not appeal to people’s tastes in cheery wallpapers and cramped waiting rooms. Their walls are never any other color than white, and if they happened to be gifted with any other, it was a grey or beige. A hot pink or lime green wouldn’t be of the proper effect anyways.
If you had the opportunity to stay in one, or even wait in one, you knew what agony it was. Even if you had walked through it’s doors illness-free, you would walk out with a chill down your spine. No one liked to be inside them, even to visit. I don’t know how doctors and nurses were to avoid going insane. The walls trapped you in a vortex of misery. People died everyday, every second. Inside this place.
I saw an occupied chair moved next to the hospital bed. I wandered over to it, without knowing what else to do. What could I do? I slowly sat down on the floor, and leaned my head against Marc’s leg. I couldn’t feel it though.
He was sleeping in the chair, holding one of my jackets that I had left in my truck. He looked like he did when he would fall asleep in my leather chair in the corner or my room. Always peaceful. I missed him already. My heart seemed to tear a little.
This time, he seemed like a dream. A nightmare, maybe. He wasn’t all there, out of reach. Only half Marc. Or maybe it was just me. When I laid my head on him, he didn’t wake up, like I sort of hoped he would. I wanted him to see me. Know I was here.
I sat, alone, looking over at the hospital bed and the girl laying inside it. If I could cry, I would. I don’t think my tears worked anymore. But I knew my heart did. It was being clenched tightly. All that warmth was gone. My heart was not beating fast and my cheeks weren’t burning. All of that was gone.
And suddenly, it hit me. Now I get it.
Sometimes when people think of hospitals, they focus on all the negative, gruesome aspects, that they forget about how many people are saved in them. Doctors give medicine, people get better, they live. They are able to have a life again. They heal, they recover.
I wish I was one of them.
Sitting in this place, where misfortunes and miracles roam, I was not a patient nor a grieving relative. I knew of only one thing I was.