A strange thing happened to me yesterday. I started by writing this 140 character story:
They are discussing me. My wife and the doctor. “OK,” she wept, “Do it.” “No!’ I shout, “Don’t turn off the life support.” No one heard me.
……. and then almost immediately I felt compelled to write this story.
Who Turned The Lights Out
I’ve been in here nearly two months now. I don’t remember much about the accident, just a hazy image of that lorry swerving across the motorway and coming straight at me. After that everything is blank. The next thing I remember is waking up here in hospital.
Well I say ‘waking up’ but that’s not strictly accurate. I’m awake in as much as I can hear people talking and feel their hands when they touch me but nobody knows that. Apparently my eyes are still closed and I haven’t said anything or moved a muscle, not even a slight twitch, since they wheeled me out of the operating theatre.
At first, all sorts of people used to talk to me as if I could hear them and, of course, I could. So the doctors would tell me what treatment I was getting, the nurses used to tell me about the weather and where they were going on their night out. My family and friends would sit by the bed bringing me up to date with all the latest gossip. I soaked it all up but didn’t reply at all. I wanted to but I just couldn’t.
I smiled at the antics of the young nurses and grinned widely when friends told me of the latest crazy idea the boss at work had instigated. But these smiles and grins were just in my head, nobody out there could see them. Every time anybody at my bedside talked to me I would talk back. But the conversations were always one-sided nobody ever heard my replies.
Things have taken a slight turn for the worse over the past few days. Not with me, I hasten to add, apparently my condition has not changed at all. I heard one of the doctors telling my wife that all my organs were undamaged. That cheered me up until he went on to say that there were people waiting for them and a decision needed to be made soon. What did he mean, ‘there were people waiting for them’ – what was I supposed to do if they were given to someone else.
Then I heard my wife telling the doctor that I always carried a donor card and had always been keen on the idea of donating organs. Well yes I had but at the moment I felt that I wanted to hang on to them. I wasn’t sure that I had finished with them yet. It was strange hearing her talk like that, I’d forgotten I even had a donor card. It’s one of those things that you agree to, keep the card in your wallet and then forget all about it. You don’t ever imagine you will one day be listening to other people talking about giving them away.
It appears that I’m on one of those life support machines. Apparently all this breathing and general living that I’m doing, well I’m not, well not on my own I’m not. Some machine is doing it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. As far as I can work, out this machine has been doing a good job over the last two months and I’m not likely to start criticising now. The thing is that there is some talk about turning the machine off. Understandable I suppose, I mean there can’t be many of these machines around and there’s probably some other poor soul whose turn it now is.
I’ve been trying hard today to attract someone’s attention to let them know that I’m still here. I tried smiling, opening my eyes, wriggling my toes, twitching my fingers. In my head it all worked perfectly but out there nobody seems to have noticed.
It seems to be unusually quiet tonight. My wife is sat by the bed but she doesn’t seem herself. She’s holding my hand and talking to me but it’s difficult to hear what she’s saying through her tears. I’m aware that there are other people in the room. No one is speaking but every now and then, I hear a sob or the shuffling of feet.
Then my wife stands up, leans over the bed and kisses me. She’s wearing that perfume that I bought her last Christmas, the expensive stuff. Her tears fall on to my face and she whispers goodbye in my ear. A doctor says something to her and then I hear the distinct sound of an electric plug being taken out of the wall socket.
“No!” I scream, “Don’t switch it off, I’m not ready yet.” But no one hears me.