Uprooted Memories, Vol. 2: “The Possibility of Physical and Mental Collapse is Now Very Real…”

PAIN, FEAR AND INSANITY INSIDE THE BOWELS OF HELL

485817_287026561383202_928552709_n (2) (192x217)The body and mind are truly fascinating things. Perhaps even more amazing, is how much shit we put them through…and knowingly!! They are often put through grueling tests that don’t always mean anything – tests which only seem to prove that we can in fact do it, for whatever that’s worth…

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We’d been up most of the night, only crashing in the last two or three hours of the morning, once all the drugs and alcohol had been consumed. That was the second or third fucked-up night in a row. During the days, we’d been tooling around town in our little grey sedan, completely twisted but definitely on the calm side. I’m sure that everyone we interacted with was able to tell, too; if not from the glazed eyes and huge bags under our eyes – since at least we were wearing sunglasses –, or the rambling though lucid conversations we’d establish with them, the powerful odour of Rum and Sweat emanating from us like steam out of subway vents was sure to give us away. Luckily, our charming personalities seem to have gotten through to them, because no one dared call the police on us…and for what? What would they say? Officer, these gentlemen reeking of rum keep bothering the help, jabbering about music and other things. Sure, we’d probably get some Public Drunkenness ticket, but it wouldn’t go further than that; there was no reason why it should, and The Fuzz doesn’t appreciate being called to places when there really aren’t any emergencies…The only hard time we came across was at some strip-joint, where we were being forced to leave for being too drunk and “harassing the help”. I can’t defend or attest or protest anything, because, quite frankly, I don’t remember. But nothing else came out of that. Once all the bars were closed, we’d head back to their place to reload on whatever it was we were packing for that night. But apparently shit was about to hit the fan, and our luck would run out…or at least mine.

We opened our eyes to the rays of light coming through the wide-opened window, which felt like daggers piercing our faces. My eyes hurt so much, way more than my head and body, which seemed to be vibrating and twitching all over; they felt like the amps in speakers when they throb violently back and forth because of the booming bass. I felt dizzy and groggy, and it took me a few minutes to realize exactly where I was. Eventually, after much noise and shuffling, everyone was up and sitting dispersedly around the room, on whatever they could find that was not wet, dirty or stacked with all kinds of things, from clothes to electronics and even some cutlery. We were watching T.V., just flipping around to find something easy to watch; something that wouldn’t take much effort to pay attention to – something like a funny movie or some cartoons. The dog also seemed lethargic and somewhat hung-over, though he had only drunk a few sips of beer and hadn’t really acted drunk, as other times, when he’d roll around with his ear to the ground, as if trying to dig out a tick gnawing at his brain. We sat quietly for a long time, unable to conjure any energy to even say a word. Suddenly, my insides began rumbling and in that calmness it was easily audible to everyone so that they all looked at me curiously. I instantly got up and ran to the bathroom, which was directly across the room, and slammed the door shut. I got down on my knees and was suddenly looking at chunks of half-digested food twirling inside a thick black and red liquid – which I was convinced was blood diluted in alcohol – pouring like a mini Niagara Falls into the toilet. But I wasn’t necessarily worried at that point – we’d all done the “Big Spit”, as the Good Doctor once described it, and knew what it was like and what was to be expected. But I did begin to get worried after my third trip – which was just as vile, if not more, and which happened within six or seven minutes from the first one. Everyone was beginning to ask me questions, though their words sounded like muffled woooas wooas wooas or something else nonsensical. I could hardly gather the strength to respond, much less move myself between rooms so constantly and frantically, so I decided to stay in the washroom after my fifth or sixth trip, when there were no longer any solids coming out but only a slimy residue which I figured was bale mixed with other stomach acids. I was now beginning to seriously worry, and my immediate though was that I should get to a hospital as soon as I get up and cleanse myself. But that would never happen, because almost as if being punished for even thinking that by some higher power, I began a descent into a physical and psychological hell I had never until then seen or been a part of, and to which I wish to never return.

The washroom door, which was half opened, became extremely blurry, and the little bit of light that was coming through it finished blinding me. Nevertheless, I could hear the background noise – voices, the television, water running somewhere – just a bunch of noises that clustered together into a deafening and constant hum. I felt as if I was tumbling around violently inside a running laundry machine. I wanted to say something to someone or to call them near, but I was losing my ability to speak. But I quickly lost sight of those facts when I began throwing up again, though this time nothing was coming out; I was dry-heaving savagely, completely reddened all over and pouring sweat and, more alarmingly, I was beginning to feel numb. First it started on my legs: like a small surge of electricity beginning on my toes, it kept creeping up my feet, then my legs and finally onto my torso, where it felt as if someone had smeared nitrogen inside and it was now spreading. Then my hands, which were clutching the sides of the toilet, began to contort: my fingers were slowly becoming warped, like deformed claws recoiling onto themselves, so that it was impossible to hold anything. Unable to hold the toilet, I fell back onto the wall, with my legs spread out in front of me and my arms paralyzed in the shape of tree-branches and half-opened claws twitching like spider legs after they’ve been stepped on. My neck was also beginning to stiffen on one side, so that by the end of my transformation I was left looking a paraplegic who had fallen off his chair, or some kind of disturbing realist sculpture symbolizing the Pain of Man or something of the sort. It was a horrific sight, like something out of a horror movie. With the bit of strength I had, I yelled out something incoherent and someone rushed in. Upon seeing me like that, they called someone else urgently, which worried me even more. It was all noise in the background to me; just voices without bodies moving around like wind and disappearing just like the same. At one point I heard one of them say, “no…I can’t see that again…just take him to the doctor’s…” or something like that. I couldn’t understand, but later, when everything had calmed down, he had told me that he’d seen too many of his friends die like that and he himself had been too close-a-call to go through it all again. Anyway, in that state I couldn’t even make sense of what was happening; all I knew was that I felt as if I were dying. Then I saw the legs of one of them moving around in the room again, and before they could leave, I pleaded the only thing I could muster at the moment: “Could you please…uh…just turn on the cold water….and shove me in the shower…”…

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When I came to, the shower was running at full strength and freezing water was coming down on my face. For second, I thought I was drowning at the bottom of the ocean: that’s why I’m still fully clothed and I can’t move or breathe, I thought. But after a second or two I realized I was in the bath-tub, and that my fingers and legs were finally beginning to loosen up. Though my arms and legs laid in front me in the exact same position I was in when on the ground, my fingers were slowly moving until eventually I could make a fist and open it back up. Then I began moving my legs slowly, pulling them back and stretching them again; though they hurt, it felt wonderful to be able to move again. I laid there, letting the freezing water hit me for a good 10 minutes before I dragged myself out. I was shivering from the cold, but I was actually moving again, which was the only thing I cared about. Everyone was asking me if I was ok and if I needed a doctor. In retrospect, I should have gone, but at the moment I figured I should just rest.

After an hour or so, continuing to shiver and feeling my shins cramped up, though still able to move, I got up and decided to leave. I sat on the passenger seat staring out the window the entire ride home as my girlfriend, who had been with us only the last night and was unaware of everything else that had come before that, drove the car, quietly sobbing and wiping away tears. I knew it was a terrible thing to have seen, and I felt the fear and disappointment that emanated from her as strongly as her delicate yet powerful scent. I felt guilty, but mostly I felt scared: scared that I had nearly died; but particularly scared that I had exchanged what was then one of the most important things in my life for an unadulterated and savage physical and mental test that in the end, had meant nothing.

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…Still, in some sinister corner of my mind, there was a perverse sense of victory at having stood on the edge of some kind of hell that most will never experience, and having pulled back just before it was too late…Though, of course, after one visit, I vowed to never return.

CHAPTER 1: “The Nervous Nurse, The Good Doctor and The Young Man” – AN ADAPTATION

It must have been around 6 am when the young nurse appeared in the doctors’ office with apologetic eyes and speaking with a slight lilt in her voice. “Excuse me? Doctor? Do you have a moment?” She was obviously shaken, for their small town was not used to having this much commotion this early in the morning…or at all, for that matter. Buried in a small town deep inside the valley, most of the days were routine but for the strangely odd shooting or OD’ing – which, for the most part, were out of towners. But this morning had brought something entirely different through the big, blue revolving doors of the town hospital – screaming and screeching incoherencies that the likes of this small town burrowed in between two unnamed mountains would probably never hear outside of a movie or perhaps a ‘new-age’ or ‘modern’ play. The Good Doctor – a serene-looking man in his mid-40s with the air of a person who has definitive answers, who had been sitting at his desk fumbling through documents – calmly raised his eyes over his silver-rimmed glasses and responded with a reassuring tone: “A moment? What’s the question?”

“More of a situation,” replied the nurse with a nervous smile. “A gentleman in exam [room] three.”

The Good Doctor sat up straight and placed his elbows on the desk, cupping his left fist with his right palm and resting his chin on top. He studied the nurse intensely and finally asked her, “What’s the problem?”

She looked uneasy for a moment as she frantically searched inside her head for a rational, coherent or, at the very least, professional answer, but could find none. “That is the problem,” she finally said, sounding almost defeated as she let out a small sigh. “We’re not sure.”

Despite being a small hospital – or perhaps because of it – they were used to running a pretty tight ship, and this nurse in particular had always proven herself more than responsible and diligent. So it came as a surprise and a bit of a concern to the Good Doctor to hear her uttering those words.

“You got the chart?” he calmly asked, extending his left arm as he stood up.

“Right here,” she replied, and handed him the wooden clipboard.

As he looked through it he let out the same type of sigh the nurse had, and with a small shrug of the shoulders and his eyebrows faintly raised, bottom lip curving downwards, he muttered half-loudly, “Not much here to say…”

“No Doctor,” chimed in the nurse, now sounding more alarmed. “No obvious physical trauma; vitals are stable!”

“Name?” he asked.

“No, sir.”

He sat back down on his black leather chair and thought for a moment. His elbows were on the desk again but this time he had the tip of his fingers touching, forming a pyramid against which his lips rested. “Did someone drop him off?” he finally asked. “Maybe we could speak to them. Let’s get some background on this fella.”

“No ID. Nothing!” she answered, losing more and more calm with every word. She was beginning to breathe harder, almost scared to utter the next words, her eyes widening slightly. “And he won’t speak to anybody…”

With a resolute look and aura surrounding him, the Good Doctor stood back up one more time and put on the white coat that was resting on the back of his black leather chair. “Well, let’s say hello,” he said, and signaled the nurse to lead him to the young man’s room. They walked down the hall silently until they arrived at room 008. When they opened the door, they found the shoe-less young man sitting on the bed wearing dirty and torn black-jeans and a black t-shirt with the word “TOOL” written in block letters in the front and an eye with two pupils emerging from fire in the back; his gaze was fixed on the wall and his lips were moving almost imperceptibly as he muttered inaudibly to himself.

“Good morning,” the Good Doctor began. “I’m Dr. Lawson. How are you today?”

There was no response, just a blank stare.

“How – are – you – today?!” he asked again, slowly and loudly as he shone his small flashlight in each eye.

The Good Doctor took a step back and a deep sigh. “Look son, you’re in a safe place,” he said, sounding genuinely friendly. “We want to help in whatever way we can. But you need to talk to us. We can’t help you otherwise. What’s happened? Tell me everything.”

The young man showed his first signs of life as he shot his eyes from the wall to the Doctor, then to the nurse and then back to the Doctor again. He began breathing harder and appearing exasperated and confused. Then he shut his eyes tightly for just a second and re-opened them just as he let out a big breath, as if about to unload a great pain from within…

“Alrighty, then,” he said, tilting his head sideways and raising one eyebrow. “Picture this if you will…”

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