Saturday, January 21, 2012


Muffled sounds pierce the thick, warm fog, but they are mere noises, nothing meaningful. The time between becoming conscious of the noises and the point at which they seems to have some rational content might be seconds, but it could just as easily be hours or even days. Finally, or perhaps not finally but just suddenly, an irritatingly repetitive noise becomes louder and louder and then, like the fog was lifted, becomes a question. "Mr. Kneeblood?" Louder: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOuder: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOUder: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOUDer: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOUDER: "MR. KNEEBLOOD?! Can you hear me?"

This questioning robotic voice won't stop until I respond, which I try to do, or think I try to do. I can hear myself responding, but then maybe it's just my brain telling my body to respond. Maybe my body isn't properly interpreting the instruction. I try again. I try again. Nothing. The robotic annoyance continues. "Mr. Kneeblood?!" Then, finally, the blanket of unconciousness that silences my response is torn away. I hear myself respond. "Jesus Christ, yes, I can hear you! Stop it! "

The woman seems pleased. "Good! You're doing fine! It will be just a while longer!"

Longer? For what? I know only that I'm not fully aware of where I am, or even whether I'm awake or am dreaming this. The fog has lifted, but only the heaviest layer. I still feel as though I'm breathing through a mountain of cotton. I feel like my body is wrapped in thick, cold blankets. I don't know exactly where I am. I'm not even conscious of whether I am aware of who I am. But the blankets are being removed, somehow, and I have the odd sensation that I'm getting warmer with the removal of each successive layer. I am becoming more aware, more conscious, more an actor in this environment instead of simply the subject of actions around me.

It seems like I have been wading through this odd purgatory of molasses-speed awareness and slow-motion movement for hours, but it may be only seconds. I see time seems as a physical "thing" that bends and molds around my body, then becomes a fragile mirror that shatters when touched by a feather. Eventually, its tangible presence fades away to reveal only shadows and a sense of loss and vulnerability.

Then I open my eyes. Finally, I open my eyes and that simple act brings the sounds into sharper focus. I hear the hum of the machinery, the beeps of gauges, the repetitive "swoosh" of pumps handling things I can no longer handle on my own.

Hospital. Surgery. Hours? Days? Weeks? Who was calling out his name? Kneeblood. Who the hell is Kneeblood? And then it hits me. It will take some adjustment for all of this to sink in.

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