Y'know, maybe morphine isn't so great after all.
By the time I come around again, I'm so thirsty and I feel like I'm burning up. I blink up at those speckley ceiling tiles, which are in surprisingly sharp focus for someone being pumped full of morphine. I turn my head and squint across the room at nurse guy who's sitting with the clipboard that should be on the end of my bed and a pen, looking just a little bit confused.
"Could you close the blinds?" I ask hoarsely, half shielding my eyes against the glaring sunlight that's bouncing around the room and landing on me. It's really hot in here. In fact, just about every sense seems to be in overdrive - I can hear everything around us, the chatter of people down the hallway and beyond, the breathing of the old guy on the other side of the ward, and the cries of a child somewhere in the hospital, but it's such a confused mess of noise that I can't tell where it's coming from. Oh and I think that the heart monitor is trying to make me go deaf. I hate it. I want to punch it.
I can smell the water in the jug on the cabinet beside my bed, the plastic of the cup waiting to be filled, the stench of the disinfectant that's covering a whole plethora of less pleasant smells which I'd be able to pick out and name for you one by one if I cared that much about it. Just as I'm trying to decide which I should cover more - my eyes, my nose or my ears - nurse guy looks up, surprised and clearly not expecting me to be awake.
"Huh?" He asks, too surprised by me being awake to have listened to my question.
"Close the blinds. Please." Clearly, the morphine gave me back my manners.
"Oh, yeah. Sure." He gets up and closes the blinds and cuts off the light on my bed. Instantly I feel cooler and I relax back into the pillow a little, closing my eyes. I try to swallow and get rid of the thirst that's still burning my throat, but it doesn't work. The barrage of noise and smells is becoming almost painful, and I really want that morphine to come back.
"How are you feeling?" Nurse guy asks after a moment, putting the clipboard back in its holder on the end of my bed. I open my eyes again and look at him. I'm trying to work out what one of the smells in the air is. Under the stink of disinfectant and bleach and vomit and piss, I can smell something else that's like the best thing you ever smelt. Like you know when you wake up to the smell of fresh bread or go into a cafe and the smell of freshly ground coffee just makes you want it really bad? It's like that, but it's not coffee or bread, and it's far stronger than that.
"Thirsty." I murmur, my voice quiet under the rest of the noise in the building. But nurse guy seems to hear me fine and pours me some of that water into the plastic cup. It sounds like a mini waterfall crashing into a cup. He hands it to me and I push myself up, drinking it down quickly, but it doesn't really help.
"Other than thirsty?" he asks, taking the cup back once I'm done with it.
"My head feels like it's about to explode, and it's still a bit bright in here, but it's just like a normal migraine," I mutter, leaning back on the mass of pillows behind me and closing my eyes again. I always wondered why the NHS had no money, but now I know. They spend it all on pillows.
"Hmm," I can almost hear the frown in his voice.
"What's the ‘hmm' for?" I can't help but open my eyes again and watch the guy's face as he deliberates whether to tell me.
"Well... None of us can figure it out, and I have no idea how to tell you, other than put it bluntly-"
"Stop rambling. Just tell me." I cut him off irritably and I feel the expression on my face becoming a glare.
"Um... okay, well your blood pressure is so low you should be in a coma, your pulse is way too slow and your temperature dropped way below thirty seven degrees. In fact, you're coming in at about fifteen. We've been trying to figure it out all night, but it's too impossible. If you were lucky to be alive when you first got here, you're definitely lucky to be alive now." Oh, good. So I should be dead about five times over, since I got here. Wonderful. Well, apart from the coma. Okay, four times, then.
And then I realise what this really means.
"Maybe your equipment is just dodgy," I laugh weakly, trying to hide the hysteria that's threatening to break through in my voice. Except I can't stop laughing, the hysterical edge making itself known.
Because you remember which creatures have a major issue with light and have scarily good senses? Things that I have apparently adopted overnight?
"Or you're just joking. You have to be. It's April fool's day, right? Right? It's impossible to have a temperature that low or - or whatever else it was you said," I wasn't aware of the fact that I'm sitting forward gripping the hair at my temples tightly and still half laughing, but I am now, and the nurse guy tries to lay me back down, reaching out to gently push me back down.
"Get away from me!" I shout, flinching away from his hands, my eyes wide as he backs up a step. I can feel the eyes of the other patients on me curiously and another nurse steps in, closing the curtain around my bed. She stands in the corner near the window and watches warily as the nurse guy tries to calm me down.
This is just a bad dream. A bad dream. I'll wake up in a minute, and laugh at myself for even considering the possibility, and then I'll get up and go to work, and have a good laugh about it with my mates. ‘Cause this can't be happening for real, there's just no way.