A little step back in time as I recount
a true story of events experienced by me
in the hospital after hip replacement surgery.
The hallucinations were as real as my 2008 accident
and I remember even the minutest of details.
Originally published in 2021.
“Use the call button on the side panel of your bed if you need a nurse. My shift is almost over. Can I get you anything before I leave?”
It took me a few seconds to remember where I was as I stared at the friendly face of the nurse standing over me.
“Pain meds would be lovely” I answered, grimacing.
“You’re hooked up to a morphine drip; you should begin to feel much more comfortable very soon. Until then, try to get some rest” the nurse suggested.
I had been in an accident a day or two earlier, falling off a three-foot-high deck and landing on my left side with tremendous impact. As I lay stunned on the hard ground, my face resting on my outstretched left arm, I felt absolutely nothing. I thought I had survived the fall unscathed. Then I realized I could not move my feet or wiggle my toes. When the emergency medical teams arrived, they tried to gently and ever so slowly shift my body in order to slide a stretcher under me. That’s when it hit. Moving even a millimeter caused the most excruciating pain I had ever experienced in my life. It shot all the way down my motionless leg to my unmoving Apple Green painted toenails.
My hip was not broken; it was demolished.
I’m a firm believer that copious amounts of pain medication should be dispensed frequently to patients in need. I smiled wanly at the nurse and asked for my iPhone; while I waited for the morphine to take me to another dimension, I would lose myself in my playlist.
If you’re sick or injured, a hospital is the last place you want to be. Trying to rest is next to impossible. Patients pleading, buzzers buzzing, machines murmuring, carts careening, elevators elevating, doctors discussing, nurses needling. Even the mourning doves who kept watch on my windowsill were cooing ceaselessly.
I slipped in my earbuds and cued up The Beatles “Helter Skelter“. No matter how horrendous I may be feeling at any given moment, listening to that masterpiece makes life perfect for 4 minutes and 29 seconds.
Someone wheels in my dinner cart. Lifting the lid I see a salad, a medium-rare hamburger, a beverage and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Not feeling hungry just yet, I go through my collection of albums trying to decide which one to play. Ah, “Revolver”. You can never go wrong with that beauty. I close my eyes and revel in the brilliance of “Tomorrow Never Knows”.
I’m suddenly aware of a rush of air and find I am now outside floating uptown over the streets of Manhattan, my hospital gown flapping like laundry on a clothesline. I hear the old Klaxon car horn sound of “AHOOGA!” behind me and swivel round to see a flying ice cream truck being driven by none other than John Lennon. Somehow, as bizarre as it all is, it seems perfectly normal.
“You getting in? We don’t want to be late” John says.
“Late for what?” I ask.
“For whatever comes next” John replies with a grin and I slide onto the seat beside him. “It’s very rude to be late, isn’t it?” and we zoom off.
“What’s on your bucket list, me darlin’?” John asks me and I answer without hesitation “To go to Liverpool!”
“Ah, lovely Liverpool. I won’t be going back there again, I’m afraid. Next stop: The Dakota!” John calls out and we swoosh away.
“No, John. You mustn’t!” I beg him and I start to cry.
“Oh, but I must! Now dry those green eyes. It is my destiny and we can’t change that.“
He was silent for a moment, deep in thought, then he spoke very quietly to me:
“Nancy girl, listen to what I’m going to say. Aim for the stars. Love with your whole heart. Work hard. Be the best person you can be but never ever forget to have fun. Time is fleeting and tomorrow never knows so always eat dessert first. Got it? Good! Now, let’s be on our way.”
As I nod in agreement I can hear the faint words “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.”
And in a flash John and his flying ice cream truck are gone.
I open my eyes and gingerly prop myself up on my hospital bed pillow. Dinner is still there, right where I left it, and I find I’m suddenly starving. Ignoring everything else on my tray, I go directly to the Ben & Jerry’s, pop open the container of ice cream and dig in.
And in that moment I realize nothing in my life ever tasted so delicious.
NAR © 2023
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