The air around was trembling bright and full of dancing specks of light. How it came, I cannot tell but all my sentiments danced as well.
It has been three days since I started my various therapies. Physiotherapy, food therapy, mental therapy… My physiotherapist was a bland Marie biscuit of a lady and I dreaded her visits because of the pain they invoked. A necessary pain. She had a mild demeanor and shuffled her feet to the side of my bed. Dusty pink shirt, khaki cargo pants and the most unflattering pair of orthopedic shoes I have ever seen. I should be last to talk about fashion, still sporting my hospital gown with a bare bum. Why was I not permitted pants? ICU was a pants-less environment, it seems. She would make me breath into a green automated machine of sorts. The other nurses would laugh questioning its relevance to movement assistance. I too wondered how this breathing apparatus was to facilitate my movement but did not ask. The process started with me lying on my back and trying to lift my limbs up one at a time. A simple task for the abled but quite tedious for me. The right side of my body was a particular bastard. Left arm and leg rose to the occasion slowly but surely, right arm and leg stagnated. She rolled me over on my left side, still on the bed, and impulses relaying pain shot trough the lower half of my body. To be expected, she said. Deal with it, said her mind. My torso was as limber as an empty barrel right now and I felt the tears welling up. No. Do not succumb to the blissful darkness of dread and defeat. Fight. Fight the ever lurking terror of non being and rise to the light. She willed my right arm to rise and the weight of the limb made me question if this is indeed my arm. She released her grip but my arm would not maintain its height. It simply fell to my side. I would need to work on this. Practice. My right leg received the memo from the arm and also would not comply. Patience, she says. Your body needs to remember how to work, she persists. She beckoned two nurses for assistance and they were to move me to a large, leather reclining chair. I was thrilled at the thought of getting out of this bed. When they gripped me by the shoulders to usher me towards the chair, I had thought that my body would automatically remember and it would be a piece of cake. They lifted me up and gravity threw me to the ground landing on all but one of my drips. Blood oozed out of the needles and I lied there in a contorted mass of flesh and bone, partially under my bed. I was there for all of a few seconds before the nurses fumbled me back to normal height but it felt like an eternity. Pity ensued and I was slumped into the chair that looked so comfortable but felt like I was sitting on a wooden plank. My body fell on the right and I just sat there, grateful for a new perspective of the ICU. My spine struggled to support my skin. Nurses were mending my broken drips. They had placed my bag of urine and bag of blood on my lap while they tried to restore normality or at least a sense thereof. There I was. Sitting with the liquids that my body had deemed unnecessary. Falling to my right. Craving pants. Wanting sunlight. Beckoning sleep. They placed the bags to the side of me on a metal stand and the machines beeped in unison once more. How fucking dramatic. A simple matter of getting out of bed to sit in a chair had become so dramatic and tedious. They left me there for about thirty minutes as I watched the patients shuffle to the loo. The nurses fill out their paperwork. The cleaners mopping up my blood. I was riddled with pain and longed for my clinical hospital bed once more. The breakfast trolley arrives.
I was moved back onto the comfort of my coffin, I mean bed, when a tray of eats was placed before me. Still on a liquid diet. Watery chicken soup, green jelly, apple juice. The usual. Everything tasted like the remnants of fire. Burn. Smoke. Char. When will this go away so I can eat? Still so very hungry. The occupational therapist had popped by baring a huge smile and some rubber gadgetry. A rubber band to strap a spoon or toothbrush to my wrist. My fine motor skills were severely lacking of course so this presented some hope in terms of restoring my independence. She strapped a spoon to my left hand and I tried to scoop up some jelly. It worked. Where is my mouth? My hand seems to have forgotten as I lifted the spoon up to my ear. We both laughed for an instant and the jelly was flung onto her shirt. I hadn’t laughed in ages. It felt amazing and my cheeks ached. She was very excited and started snapping pictures of me with spoon in hand. Progress! She showed me the photos on her phone and I sunk in my sheets. Disheveled mane of curly, black hair. Purple, dehydrated lips. Dark, sullen rings around the eyes. Cheekbones pronounced from lack of food. Bandage around the neck. Skin an odd tinge of brownish yellow. All of my piercings had been removed. Who was this banshee staring blankly back at me? This is… me? My, how ugly I am now. Sickly and tainted. Tarnished and damaged. Starving yet hopeful. Yes. Hopeful. I have a spoon now. Things will and must change.