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Serialized Overdose Story With Several Parts
Part 1: I See You

Vague, fuzzy colours and a humming or buzzing are merged into a single meaningless whole and there is nothing else but this.

The area above me brightens and darkens. When it brightens a second time I open what must have been my eyes and they burn and shrink without supplying any information. I have zero understanding of anything. Shapes gradually distinguish themselves and move slowly left and right and then I sleep for a second or a year. When my eyes reopen there are more shapes moving around me making noises. Some leave or are replaced and objects get rearranged and grow lighter and darker alternately. I don’t know what they are, what I am, or what a single part of any of this means.

A tiny red dot moving up and down inside a thin grey line interests me enough for me to realize my eyes are already open. The grey line has another one next to it and something pink and wide is underneath. I realise this isn’t the centre of me and turn my eyes to the opposite side, where there’s a mirror-copy of everything I just saw. I appear to be bilaterally symmetrical. Were they arms? I decide they are my arms with tubes extending from them. Had I been able to recall what pain was, I’d have noticed that I was entirely free from it. When I come around for the fourth time, apparently after being in the hospital for three days, I don’t immediately recognise the sounds from the face that’s floating in front of me as speech.


Sometime afterwards, I once again watch the tiny blood-red arrow tip as it dances inside the curved, silvery tubes in my arms. I turn my head carefully and see bags hanging from reflective stalks positioned around us as the voice gets louder.

“Hello! You have to wake up. Wake up! Can you tell me your name?”

I can only manage to emit a choked, humming sound. I identify the thing in front of me as a man, who seems pleased by the sound I made. He raises the end of my body that has my eyes in it and this makes it much easier for me to think.

“What is your name please? Your name, can you remember?”

Although I don’t properly comprehend what names are yet, I am able to make what I think is the appropriate sound.

“Excellent” says the man. I sleep again and when he returns, he opens four sets of curtains revealing a glaring, flashing world apparently made entirely out of burning magnesium.

“Do you know where you are?” he asks. This is the first time I've considered this question and I have no answer.

“You’re in hospital in intensive care. Do you understand me?”
“Can you remember how you got here?”
“You’ve hurt yourself, do you remember?”
“How old are you?”

I know the answer is a number and blurt one out. When he asks me to repeat it, I say a different number. Anything beyond the simple existence of numbers, such as how to associate them with things, is too much for me. He tells me he’ll be back later and leaves.

My dry eyes struggle to chart the livid red paths that the IV lines with their little twitching heart-beat indicators make across the blue blanket. I notice a saline tube leading to a huge clear bag and a smaller bag of darker liquid, which is no doubt fed by the catheter in my groin. I can see that the roots of my fingernails and the wrinkles in my wrists are filled with dried brown blood. There are beads of more dry blood on deprecated injection points on the backs of my hands. My throat and one of my nostrils ache painfully as though something has been pushed through them. But whilst I am able to detect and identify all of these things accurately, I have no idea of their implications.

He returns and asks how old I am and I get the answer wrong. He tells me to try again and I get it right out of sheer luck. I can count backwards from twenty with only a couple of stutters. The dates of the first and second world wars, the name of the reigning queen, how many parents I have and what year it currently is are pieces of information which all evade me completely. My mind is an almost empty storeroom where I’m certain I’d left lots of important things. I want to sleep and his questions hurt my mind. He goes away and eventually my eyes adjust to the point where I can stare through the window, repeatedly realising and then forgetting that this room isn't the entire universe. The world outside turns black then light again without me once blinking, because I forget that I can do so, and what ‘me’ means.

It feels as though he waits a very long time before returning. When he does, he wants to know the current year. When I finally get it right, he asks what seem to be much more difficult questions. He wants to know where I live and what my job entails and demands details regarding my friends and family. I get some of this right too and he starts quizzing me in earnest. What’s the last thing that I remember, do I recall my journey here or any of the people I was with, what was I doing, who did I speak with? I tell him all of these things are missing from my memory, which is entirely blank for a period that we establish is four full days. He seems disappointed.

He says they’re bringing food and that after I’ve eaten, someone is coming to talk to me, then leaves me to ponder recent revelations. The world outside has become dark and a screen called Xprezzon behind my head bleeps and traces red and green lines and backwards numbers on the reflective window. I watch liquids passing at different rates through the five tubes connected to my body and I begin my attempt to establish what the fuck is going on, to ascertain why it’s important that I should know the name of the queen or the current year, and to understand what it means if I don’t.

Part 2: Psychotick-box

I’ve carefully eaten all the food they’ve given me and managed to drink what they told me was coffee, all without pulling the tubes out of my arms, which makes me feel loads better but still as rough as guts.

Complex sentence formation and long-term memory retrieval are improving dramatically, albeit from a very crappy starting point. I’m clear with who and where I am, though why and how are a mystery. He arrives alone, all smiles and gentle engagement but with a distinct undercurrent of insincerity. He’s clutching a clipboard which he’s at pains not to position between us. He uses a tone of voice someone might adopt when coaxing a wild animal into a wooden box in order to subsequently heal or eat it. His clothes are styled ten years too young for him and he nods even in the absence of any statement to agree with. He positions himself on a chair on the side of the bed that my head has naturally flopped over onto, so that I can’t turn away from him without discomfort. He describes himself as someone who just needs to ask me a few questions. Apparently, it’s important that I’m completely honest with him, because then he can help me the most. Unsatisfactory and as strange as a box of frogs as this is, I have no good reason not to cooperate, though I strongly suspect the bulk of the information will flow in what for me is the wrong direction. I’m not going to be surprised if I don’t like this person.

“So, how are you feeling?” he began.
“Confused, concerned, disorientated”
“Why do you think that is?”
“I’m in a strange place with tubes in my arms and a pipe coming out of my penis and apparently I’ve had a tube inside my spine too. I can see I’ve been covered in blood and by making myself cross-eyed It’s obvious my nose is broken and my cheeks bruised. I don’t know how this happened and this is why I’m confused, concerned and disorientated.” I genuinely feel these sentences are worthy of some kind of opening response award, given my current circumstances. A bit wordy maybe, but still good. But he seems dissatisfied for reasons I can’t fathom.

“You can’t remember anything about what happened to you or why you’re here?”
“Nothing at all”
“What’s the last thing you recall?”
“Going to sleep in my bed normally after a night out on Tuesday”
“So that’s last Tuesday, four days ago?”
“…Yes.” I say, confirming how long I’d been in the hospital.
“And how had you been feeling up until then, had you been anxious or sad about anything?”
“Not especially”
“Nothing worrying you or stopping you sleep, for instance?”
“No, I sleep fine.”
“So, you wouldn’t say you were depressed?”
“I wouldn’t, no.”
“Do you remember taking something, any medicine or anything, like a drug for example?”
“No. Well, I’d been out drinking, but nothing else.”
“Have you ever self-harmed, like cutting yourself or anything like that?”
“They’re just standard questions we have to ask everybody.”
“No, I’ve never done anything like that.”
“Never, even when you were younger?”
“Do you ever feel like you can control other people’s minds?”
“That I can what, sorry?”
“That you can control other people’s minds”
“I heard you the first time, I just wanted to make you say it again, it’s a joke.” He clearly didn’t find this at all amusing and this was probably the moment when I decided that I didn’t like him.

“Do you ever see or hear people that aren’t there?”
“How would I know?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the fact that I can see and hear someone is how I judge that they are there. I’m not about to start licking, prodding and sniffing people to make sure they’re real”, this rankled him slightly and he forced a sickly smile, as false at it was patronising. He thought I was trying to be cute when really his question was shit. My dislike matured and I wondered if it would develop any further, perhaps becoming loathing or even contempt.

“But do you ever see or hear people you know can’t possibly be there, perhaps people who’ve died in the past, or imaginary characters?”
“…Yes”, I said, after some consideration. This perked him up somewhat, though I was fairly certain this wasn’t a good thing.
“How often does this happen?”
“Probably every day.”, I told him. Whatever he started doing at this point required the use of the pen he had clipped in the front pocket of his suit jacket. He had to press the top twice to get the nib out, because he’d left it un-retracted in his pocket, assumed differently when he pulled it out, but not checked before pressing it initially. This double-click evidently wasn’t the professional pen-extracting flourish he’d been aiming for when he put it in there and judging from his expression, he considered this to be entirely the fault of the pen. At this point he qualified for my bronze loathing award.

“And where are you when this happens?”, he was nodding and I couldn’t with the best will in the world imagine what he was agreeing with or saying yes to.
“It can happen anywhere. At home, out and about, in the car”
“Are you alone or with others when this happens to you?”
“Both, either, doesn’t matter.”
“And are they talking to you personally, when you hear them?”
“Sometimes, yes.”, this he seemed to find especially interesting, which he socialised with increased nodding and a widening of his patronising smile. If I’d been a small animal that he was attempting to coax into a wooden box I’d have drawn his blood and escaped into the undergrowth at this point.

“What kind of things do they say?”
“Mostly just normal conversations, like we’re having now.” More nodding ensued.
“But do these voices ever tell you what to do, give you instructions?”, he asked, enjoying his obviously leading question.
“Oh… sometimes, yes.” There was lots more nodding here. Then he tried to flip his page over but couldn’t get it to stay, eventually deciding to bend it across the middle right through the text he’d written, so that it folded over the top of his clipboard. He considered the formulation of his next question, wearing an expression I’d seen on the faces of old fishermen as they baited their hooks.

“You said you sometimes see and hear them at home.”
“That’s right, most often I see and hear them when I’m at home.”
“So, if you imagine you’re sitting at home now,”
“OK.”, I said, as though I was prepared to let him control my mind.
“Where in the room would you be seeing and hearing these people?”
“On the TV and computer screens and my mobile phone, or maybe the radio.”
“You’re talking about TV shows?”, he looked like someone who’s just reached rudely across a Christmas dinner table for a wafer-thin mint and only discovered that they’d grabbed an empty envelope when they were sitting comfortably back in their chair.
“Or video calls online.”
“But other than entertainment or communication, do you ever see or hear people who aren’t there?”
“No, of course not.”

He looked at me hard for a moment and I’m pleased to report that even in my weakened state I gave him his stare straight back. I’d messed up whatever he was writing. He began point-deleting, then finally drew a large X through a whole section of text and a line across the page. I could fully understand his needing to test me, but I wasn’t cool with his preference for discovering a problem. This person, who was supposedly here to help me, had been wanting me to be mentally ill. He was obviously disappointed that I hadn’t helped him prove it was the case and this was something that pissed me off quite a lot. I may have scowled just a little bit. Either way, we were no longer friends.

“Do you ever feel like someone is after you and wants to harm you, or that you’re being chased or persecuted?” he asked, persisting unwisely despite my show of teeth.
“Not up until around five minutes ago when you started asking these questions, no.” He seemed to regain control over his neck at this point, as all nodding ceased.
“Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?”
“I think we can finish now, thanks for your help,” I said, joining him briefly on Insincerity Island.

He displayed the most saccharine smile I’d ever seen and left the room with his useless notes. But he did so very slowly in a roundabout, semi-reptilian fashion that I found both unprofessional and extremely creepy. What kind of doctor actually prefers their patient to be ill and has no issues with the ethics or efficacy of carrying out a potentially damaging psychological evaluation in an intensive care environment? Freud would have quite correctly called me resistant, but to Dr Psychosis here at least, I appeared to be disappointingly sane.

What an arsehole.
'If you're one of those who can, make certain that you do."
Story if good, it took lot of time to write down for us. Nice piece of information.
I never use drugs overdose up.
Thanks for the advise in the post.
Thanks Natasha, I write like this all day every day so it's not really an effort, or at least it isn't something I can do anything about, but I do worry about boring people. Have your first rep' for taking part in the forum. Ta for the post, here's the next bit...


Part 3: The Ward

They disconnect everything apart from my catheter, slide me off the bed feeling as weak as an unfed baby and sit me in a wheelchair that’s controlled by a large nurse with an evil sense of humour and a laugh like bats flying out of an empty oil drum.

The hospital is apparently enormous. Overcrowded banks of signposts branch and resolve on the walls either side of us whenever we reached a room or junction. Even the nurses themselves struggle to follow the breadcrumbs to our ultimate destination, repeating my room number to themselves so as to not forget where we’re heading. The one pushing the chair laughs, or rather cackles, pretty much continually all the way. The wheelchair has shopping-trolley style steering problems and at several points I’m scraped along walls against a buffer rail apparently designed for this purpose, wondering if my catheter bag might burst hilariously and whether she’ll be laughing then. It takes ten full minutes to reach the room I’m destined for. At one point we find ourselves at the pinnacle of a long and disconcertingly steep slope, where I question the ability of the nurse to control our decent down the not very gradual eighty-foot linoleum incline. But she holds on gamely without too much skidding and we eventually level out and turn sharply right, through a set of doors into a ward made up of numerous rooms.

Every room contains four beds, on each of which is a dangerously underweight human being who’s clearly staring death directly in his cowled and bony face. None of them are younger than ninety years old and all have grey-brown skin stretched over their skulls like balloon rubber. Their heads are thrown back in usually, but not always, silent screams. I feel guilty seeing them like this. Mounds of phlegm labour up and down in their narrow chests and I wonder how they can breathe at all. Surely, I’m not in as serious a state as these poor creatures?

Yet it’s into just such a room that I’m deposited, with my catheter bag hooked at my prepared bedside, by the nurses. They indicate a device near my hand with which I can call for attention and control the bedside light. The one who wheeled me there says “Don’t you be having any wild parties down here, OK?” as she quickly walks, very gratefully it seems to me, back out of the doorway like someone who’s just abandoned a baby on the steps of a church or surreptitiously lit the end of an air-bomb-repeater at the rear of a police convention.  A glance around the room makes it clear that no conversations, light-hearted or otherwise, will be possible with my fellow patients. Three men in their late nineties, with cloudy grey eyes that look like oysters that have been left in the sun peering from their hollow sockets, lie with their heads tilted back on mounds of white bed-pillows. Expressions of bewildered pain and final surrender contort the parts of their faces that I can see either side of their oxygen masks. They sound as though they’re using bagpipes filled with treacle for lungs. The browned bones under their thin skin looks shrunken and bird-like and their bodies seem malnourished, though that can’t be the case. Evidently, this is how life ends if a person makes it to advanced old age. The three blocks of ceiling lights directly over my bed glare as though my eyelids are transparent and I begin the first of three fully conscious days in hell.

The man on my left passes his time filling and spilling his bedpan then shrieking out in mortal horror when he discovers what he’s done. He then calls a nurse, who cleans the whole thing up as he apologises profusely for both the spillage and his continuing existence on planet earth, which he evidently deems a wholly pointless imposition on everyone involved. This happens more or less every twenty minutes. The man in the furthest corner talks incessantly. Initially I think he’s on the phone or addressing the person in the bed next to him, but after a long period of involuntary listening, it transpires that he’s repeatedly re-enacting some kind of traumatic life-event involving at least six different characters, each of whom, despite the oxygen mask covering his mouth, he’s managing to represent using a slightly different voice. The majority of his words are essentially inaudible, making the story he’s telling impossible to follow even if I want to do so. It’s like hearing the rehearsal of an amateur dramatics production through fifty feet of weed-clogged sewer pipe. Throughout my entire time in this room, his dialogue continues seamlessly day and night, pausing only for meals or when he receives visitors, at which times he seems able to become relatively lucid, or at least sufficiently so to interact. The man in the bed next to him is totally silent almost all the time, his head tilted all the way back and his mouth wide open with his false teeth working their way out over a bottom lip increasingly lubricated by white drool. Completely still, with his chest apparently unmoving, I’ve tagged him as the person in the room most likely to be dead, but roughly every hour he suddenly chokes, struggles for breath, panics, flaps his arms around and yells for assistance before remembering the call-button by his side, which he then begins pressing with feverish urgency. When the nurse arrives, he informs her that he needs to urinate and she explains to him, again, that he’s been fitted with a catheter and can do it right in his bed. This is a concept he seems to grasp only partially for a few brief seconds before she has to explain it to him once more. He knows how to wrap the tube around his neck though, as this is invariably the position the nurse finds it in.

The rhythm of the room goes: non-stop talking from the corner, cries of horror from the left as the bedpan spills, nurse arrives and cleans up, talking continues from the corner, another spilled bedpan followed by a clean-up, talking, spillage, nurse, then at the top of every hour the patient opposite chokes on his teeth, calls for help and has his catheter explained to him. It’s tragic, slapstick, twilight comedy-drama, with meal deliveries for commercial breaks. With no sane reference points from which to gauge reality, I find myself counting how often my neighbour spills his bedpan per associated choke and all the while the interminable chatter from the corner bed continues, a never-ending incomprehensible story featuring dead people, told to an imaginary audience by a narrator who will soon join the characters in the earth.

After several hours of this, broken only by the delivery of a nondescript supper, I began to think things can’t get much worse. But eventually, the nurses arrive and tell us it’s night-time and to get some sleep. From the moment the lights go out, it becomes very evident that the demons who are busy haunting my three companions are much more active in the dark. After a few minutes of relative quiet, filled only with the gurgling machinations of gallons of apparently immovable chest-mucus, a cacophony of surprisingly loud and powerful screams suddenly rings out from the darkness over each bed in turn, as though their inhabitants are frightening one another in relay, or someone is circling the room invisibly and branding them with a red-hot iron. Eventually, a flurry of extra-loud screams coincides with the clang of an unusually well-spilled bedpan and a rasping, potentially terminal slurping noise strongly suggestive of an upper or lower denture successfully lodging itself very deeply in someone’s windpipe. The incessant narrative from the corner reaches a dramatic crescendo, alarm buttons are pressed and nurses rush in, turning on all the ceiling lights to see what’s happening. It would be easier to sleep in the fast lane of a motorway being hit by moving vehicles than it is in this room. The operating procedures at Guantanamo Bay read like a holiday camp brochure in comparison. Perhaps a pack of dogs bounding in and biting me from head to toe would increase my discomfort, but only by a comparatively small degree.

Outside in the corridor, I hear crash-team alarms sounding as people expire in their beds or leave their rooms in futile, ill-advised attempts to cling onto life by chasing it through the depths of the hospital. Or, perhaps more likely, evade the angel of death by losing it in the maze which is the floor plan.

Trolleys draped in red blankets, with drip-lines and oxygen canisters and other miscellaneous emergency equipment incorporated into their headrests, glide back and forth past the open doorway like pistons in an engine. A couple of times, patients who are clearly not in possession of a single one of their faculties wander into the room and stand bolt-upright for extended periods in the centre of the floor, glass-eyed and lost in complete and utter confusion, before being discovered by staff and carefully shepherded back to their allocated locations. At one point a woman who seems to have mislaid her false teeth, which are clearly essential to prevent her face collapsing in on itself like a broken peddle-bin, shuffles in looking precisely like the witch in the Hansel and Gretel story, right down to the hump, warts and hooked chin.  As I’m peering through the gloom and trying to decide whether or not she’s actually real, she reaches for the doctor’s notes from one of the other beds and makes off with them at the speed of an opiated sloth, an event which simultaneously constitutes the single most un-cunning theft and slowest getaway I will ever see. This, for some reason, causes substantial alarm to my incessantly talking roommate in the corner, who breaks his dialogue to protest. He calls a nurse to report the heinous crime, who says “Oh, she came in here did she,” seemingly believing this statement fully and sufficiently explains why fairy-tale characters are wandering freely through the hospital.

This continuous, unchoreographed circus of disease, death, defecation, daftness and dementia, shall I cease my alliteration now, seems always about to spiral into random bedlam, but is held together somehow within a wavering, nebulous structure of routine and control, achieved with minimum staffing levels, where the only detectable difference between night and day is the frequency of the meals.

Over time, my consciousness passes into a semi-hallucinatory state of sleep-deprived semi-perception, where I once or twice suspect that I may have attained to some kind of micro-sleep. But I experience no rest if this is the case. Even the initially diverse food menu becomes the epitome of monotony by what I judge to be the third day. A couple of nurses remark that my catheter hasn’t yet been removed, one of them mentioning that it usually happens around midnight. I consider without glee how I’ve reached a place where such diversions are all I have to look forward to and count, for the thousandth time, the things I’ll do when I leave the hospital. A nurse delivering food notices that I still have a tube and a pair of line adapters in the vein of my left arm and gets someone to remove them. I wonder at the state of the sometimes-wet, rusty-coloured dressing covering it, but don’t think much of it.

“How long has that been in there?” the nurse asks reassuringly, wiping the site with a sterile swab and making a cursory check for any infection. I tell her two days and she rolls her eyes and looks at the ceiling, then leaves.

The one on the left shits and yells, rambling continues from the corner and I wait, all but demented myself, for the inevitable choke from the other bed.

Part 4:  The Catheter Witch.

Following the removal of the tube in my vein and it’s questionable, tattered dressing, the catheter became the last remaining invasive insertion present in my body. Knowing I could piss freely even whilst holding eye contact or conversations with nurses had completely lost its novelty. Though not exactly a ball and chain, being a bag and tube, it was restriction regardless and I dearly wanted rid of it, deep roots notwithstanding.

Any interest in extensions to my urinary system had long since been replaced by a rising urgency to be in a place where elderly people didn’t defecate with monkey-like abandon all around me as a random subset of them loudly died, on or off their beds as they deemed fitting in the moment, with doctors and nurses having pursued them to their endpoints according to visibility and energy levels. The rumour that catheters were normally removed around midnight may have kept me awake all by itself, had not the incessant talking, farting, shitting, the comparing and removal of shit, snoring, flashing lights and screaming been doing so anyway. I’d begun to fear interminable delay when the nurse appeared, unannounced and emotionally cold, at 3pm. Neither of us rushed to engage. It was as though an unregistered shipping container had washed onshore and nobody was certain whether it was filled with dead bodies or brand-new motorbikes yet, that kind of dissonance. I hadn’t seen her before. Tall and well-built with strong shoulders and neat shiny black hair that could have been dyed, her nose was long and fairly pointy, though she wasn’t at all ugly. She held a kidney dish, some tubes and bottles of liquid as she closed the curtains around us in two sudden gestures. She wore very little makeup and she smelled of life outside the hospital: trees and mints and the inside of cars, perhaps.

“I’m just here to take your catheter out”, she informed me in a soft voice, as she placed the dish on the bed and started pulling on some thin purple gloves. Presumably, up until she’d made that statement, anything might have followed.  She wasn’t smiling exactly, but neither was it a scowl. Maybe it was that expression snooker players adopt when their opponent leaves an easy red over the pocket, but the shot after that isn’t so obvious.

“Sorry, I’m going to have to uncover you”, she said. Good idea, I thought, that’s probably going to be a lot easier than doing things by touch through two blankets.

She carefully rolled the bedding backwards off me as though she was exposing a wound and gazed on the task strangely predatorialy. I glimpsed the paired output tubes of the catheter as it exited my body, only one of them connected. Presumably, there was a backup to allow a bag-swap without leakage. She pulled the kidney dish closer across the bed and grabbed something in a blue toothpaste tube before turning her back, facing fully away. She was squeezing gel onto the tip of a gloved finger. Next, I felt her applying this, which felt extremely cold, all around the base of the catheter. There was some twisting and gentle pressure, but no pain. In the next moment I saw and heard her drop one of the two plastic outputs into the kidney dish with a clean click, her actions having presumably just removed it.

“Is that it, all done?”, I smiled, half joking but genuinely curious.

“I just need to check if there’s any more water left inside it”, she says, as she suddenly becomes a cyborg, her wide eyes glazed with glittering machine oil. I returned her stare in astonishment from the bed and waited for her to act.

I’m still not sure what she means, perhaps it’s some kind of distraction technique damaged by questionable phrasing. I haven’t analysed it because of what happens next. She leans over me and places her left hand flat on my stomach, pressing carefully down and glancing at me watching her. Then, with the thumb and index finger of her right hand, she pulls eighteen inches of wet rubber tubing out of my cock, more or less in a single movement. I see her like the flash of a nurse-shaped explosion. She lets the tube dangle, rolling it between her fingers triumphantly, gripped like a snake in an eagle’s beak with liquid dripping from its tip. The edges of her mouth curl slightly upwards like a drying autumn leaf and the fugitive light in her eyes fades like goldfish flinching away from the surface of a frozen pond.

I screamed without shame for so long that I silenced the entire ward and more than likely scared the birds in the trees outside. I saw her silhouette as she studied the length of the catheter tube in hungry fascination. My spine struggled to arch, but that hand of hers held me firmly down against the bed. I’d barely managed to resist the instinctive urge to punch her in the face, because it felt as though she’d tugged several meters of vintage WW2 razor wire through my urethra.

Was the evil smirk on her face real?

The next time I blinked, she was on the other side of the bed with her prize, looping the twitching tubing into a waste bag with a professional detachment that she maintained throughout the simultaneous removal of both gloves. I gasped and stared at her, genuinely struggling to process what she’d just done and how she’d just done it. She was carefully avoiding any further eye-contact. My bladder burned with the sort of primordial cystitis I imagine Brontosaurs developed after hiding from Tyrannosaurs in Jurassic swamps full of rotting ferns. I was still panting with sudden horror as two fat tears, born of either pain or shock, tumbled slowly down my cheeks. The last time I’d screamed like that I’d been a small child. Either I’d forgotten what reality was truly like, or I was currently imagining far too many aspects of it for my own good.

But large parts of what I thought I’d just seen couldn’t have been real, surely?

“There might be a bit of trauma,” she’s suggesting, dwelling on the vowels of the final word for an awfully long time, “a few drops of blood in your urine,” this sounds like the addition of vanilla essence in a cake-mix recipe, “but make sure you urinate again within the next hour or so,” she flings the curtains back from around my bed, revealing my pallid face to the others in the room, “because otherwise,” she says, grabbing the kidney dish and its accouterments and walking away with her heels resonating on the paneled flooring, “we’ll have to put the tube back up inside you”.

I heard the smile in her voice and even though the words “I’d like to see you try” rose unbidden in my mind, she’d had me fair and square. I was done, off her the list. On her way to visit fresh unsuspecting meat even as she spoke, there could be no carrion for her. Despite her black plumage, she was a hawk, not a crow.

These and other thoughts swarmed with collective determination like red, green and gold scarab beetles over the shifting sand dunes of my mind in a desert lit only by three bright ceiling lights that night, and geological epochs of time seemed to pass before I was properly able to consider unrelated subjects to any useful depth. This would certainly have kept me awake irrespective of the usual relentless shitting and screaming, which as it turns out, are both exceptionally intense.

Part 5: Sweet Freedom

Breakfast-time arrives and another shit day begins. To say that I’d had enough by this point is like describing getting hung, drawn and quartered as feeling a bit uncomfortable. For some reason, my fellow inmates were talking about full English breakfasts, something that only increased my discomfort when the tick-box menu arrived featuring merely porridge and toast.

A nurse came to check my temperature and blood pressure, remarking that I’d been medically cleared and would probably get discharged today, something that sounded as sweet to my ears as a personal performance of Mozart’s Requiem. Apparently, although I was cleared as medically healthy, some kind of psychiatric screening still needed to happen and rumours of this occurring ‘any time now’ began to be reissued at hourly intervals. Procedural variations on water-torture were evidently normal throughout the institution. As additional meals rolled in and it became apparent that afternoon had arrived, I made it clear to the next nurse who attended me that I’d be leaving today, screened or not. She gave me a stare, no doubt wondering just how difficult I intended to get, but thankfully didn’t realise the full extent of my capabilities. When 4pm came with no sign of any screening happening soon, I took advantage of my new-found catheter-free mobility to check the pockets of the jeans that were stashed in the locker by the bed. A pair of pound coins were in the little pocket. I pulled the jeans on and waited for the nurses to collect the remains of the latest meal, then went to the hospital foyer to make a phone call I wish I’d made much sooner.

“…I’m fine”, I said “But I need some service”. I explained my situation and the location and name of the hospital to my friend on the other end of the line.
“What time’s visiting?”
“Seven pm,” I told him. “I’ll need a new set of clothes”.
“How long have you been in there?”
“One week.”
“I’ll bring some other things.”
“So, you’ll be here at seven?”,  He repeated the hospital name and address.
“I’ll be there with everything you need at seven on the dot”, he told me.

Heed my advice: always have at least one friend you’d trust with your life, no matter what. As I hung up the phone, I literally couldn’t smile wide enough. I resumed my place on the bed in the ward, but now I felt like I’d chipped away a tunnel to freedom and concealed it behind the whiteboard above my head. I felt like I no longer belonged. I was merely biding my time from this point and even the stream of gibberish from the corner and the continuing game of bedpan football and deep-throating of dentures glanced off my awareness like a flat pebble skimmed skilfully across a still lake. At six PM a nurse checking my vital signs asked if someone could collect me during the next visiting session. I told her this had been organised. She said that the screening more than likely would have happened prior to that time.

“I’ll be leaving here at 7pm this evening and if the screening hasn’t happened by then, they can catch up with me later”, I told her. She did a bit of a double-take, but seemed to underestimate my resolution somewhat.

It began snowing outside, something I was only able to glimpse via circular flurries that collected the flakes into vortices whirling outside the window. We were at least two stories below ground floor and the small trees I could see were stunted by a lack of light and a reliance on manual watering. I knew exactly how they felt.  

At 7 on the dot, he came through the door of my room with some of my clothes in a burglar bag. I put them on, wet my hair at the room sink to make myself less recognisable and we went for it.

The first barrier was a door where the lock was controlled from the nurse station. I’d noticed a camera in the ceiling as we approached it. My knowledge of how obsessed humans were with surface information was high and I believed my new clothes and wet hair would be enough to make me look like a visitor. It worked.

For some reason, despite the fact we were inside a hospital not a prison, I was still half-expecting one of the doors to get locked or disabled remotely and a loud voice from behind to halt my escape. But the doors opened just fine, some of them even automatically and after only a minute of travel along two or three corridors and up a few flights of stairs, I was standing in a blizzard looking up at the building from outside. Fat flakes of snow flashed past the streetlights, some of them landing on my cheeks like burning patches of delicious freedom. Rarely have I ever felt more happy and lucky to be alive than I did in that moment. I resolved to realise every ambition held within me, or at least be able to say with honesty that I’d given them a good shot. My friend laughed and pulled the hood of my jacket up over my head. We crossed a tarmac walkway covered in two inches of snowfall with me simply unable to stop smiling.

“Wait until you see the new car”, he was telling me. Coming from him, this wasn’t a trivial comment. His previous vehicle had been a Jaguar XK with a 4-litre engine. I’d been at 136mph in the thing one time, in fog interestingly, the fastest I’ve ever been on a road. He’d had all the engine management chips tweaked to make everything more exciting. But I was pleased to hear he’d bought a different vehicle. Even I could see that a freezing night following a rainy day with a layer of snow settling on the ice wasn’t ideal driving weather for a monstrous sporty grand-tourer. We rounded a corner and suddenly the wind was blowing the snow directly into our faces. I almost walked past the car, so that he had to shout through the blizzard and I barely saw what I was getting into before I grabbed the door and was sitting reclined inside it.

“It’s a XKR-S”, he was telling me, “100 more horses and a supercharged 5 litre engine.” He seemed to be as astonished as myself that we were going to be driving off in this thing across roads as slick as wet glass. He pressed a round blue button on the central console and what sounded like six finely tuned cars started up. I was genuinely concerned for us both at this point. I started asking how sensitive the accelerator was and how wide the tires were.

“I’m too happy to die at the moment”, I told him.

“Shut the fuck up and open the glove box”, he said. He reversed out using only the proximity sensors to guide him, a single wiper cleared the screen completely and away we went through the snow, apparently under full control. I popped the glovebox, which seemed as deep as a coffin, and revealed a full bottle of Hobgoblin and my Smok vaporiser.


I hadn’t even realised I’d had a full week without nicotine. No more than four seconds later I was glugging ale and puffing on the vape without a single care in the world. Which was just as well, because at that very moment, he took a sudden turn which he’d left very late indeed into a depression in the street across an adverse camber. The rear of the car swung so wide that for a moment we were travelling across the ice up the road sideways. I briefly glimpsed a family creeping slowly over the snow towards us in a sensible seven-seater, the driver’s eyes open as wide as his mouth, as the back of our car swung towards his front bumper prior to a seemingly inevitable collision. But then our vehicle realised it needed to correct a degree of over-enthusiasm in its driver, all four wheels locked, released and engaged power independently in a brilliant tactical manoeuvre that only a computer could possibly have executed. The car straightened perfectly and we drove past the seven-seater with the head of it’s driver turning angrily, tracking us through his frosted side-window as we went past safely aside of him and his enclosed family.

“The chips generally take care of any issues”, my friend commented casually. All I could do was laugh and carry on glugging the nectarous ale, but I did notice a small drop in speed from that point onwards. Gary Numan blared from what sounded like a combination of dozens of finely-balanced tweeters, woofers and midrange speakers perfectly positioned all around the car. Machmen were meeting machines down in a park to play kill-by-numbers, with someone apparently called ‘five’ involved, one of my all-time favourites. My driver had put a great deal of thought into getting this pickup just right and succeeded rather spectacularly. The tune ended and ‘My Name is Ruin’ came on.

“Nice time-spread”, I said.
“He’s still good. Fancy a pint then?” I thought about this for so long that he was surprised. Drinking was the last thing I could recall pre-ICU, but there was no way I could have developed an alcohol allergy after decades of hardcore consumption. Anyway, I was prepared to risk it.

“Yes, I do fancy a pint. Yes. In fact, I fancy four of them”.

Two hours later he dropped me at home, happy, drunk and glowing with joie de vivre. I went straight into the kitchen and made some chai. Life, having almost been lost for reasons I didn’t yet fully understand, was good once more.

Part 6: The Turd

As I began adapting to consensus reality once again, it occurred to me that whilst the catheter had taken care of liquids, I couldn’t recall ever passing any solids. Given I’d received 3 days’ worth of IV food followed by a minimum of 4 square meals a day for 4 more days, this was bad news. Twenty-eight meals laid end to end seemed to stretch quite a distance in my imagination and it wasn’t long before this very thought caused the contents of my intestine to clamor for attention.

I sat pointlessly on the toilet, writhing and gurning forlornly, wracked with excretal despair. It was clear whatever was inside me, and there was certainly plenty of it, wasn’t about to leave my alimentary canal without substantial physical modification of some kind. I scrabbled rat-like through my medical box, uncovering several strips of senna pod capsules of which I immediately ingested five or six times the recommended dose, circling back a moment later and swallowing the rest of them for good measure. After briefly consulting several questionable websites, I followed this up with a cupful of olive oil and three mugs of strong coffee. But even as I lay down in my own bed, in a quiet room for the first time in a week, I knew I was in serious trouble. I could feel plotting and scheming inside me from an alien package of evil extending from lungs to groin, formed entirely from bad intentions. I slept, hoping that what I’d taken would soften the problem overnight, but if I’m honest, my hopes weren’t high.

Around six am, I woke with my entire abdomen pulsing with tightly-focussed peristaltic spasms, all of them working in urgent unison towards the immediate expulsion of the monstrosity within me. A naively optimistic session on the toilet proved as fruitless as I feared it might, though the activity seemed to have quelled the frantic cramps momentarily. I used this brief period of respite to look increasingly desperately for remedies online. My browser history rapidly recorded subtle variations of searches constructed around the phrase ‘impacted stools and how to get rid of them at home’. Gravity enemas involving oils and warm water seemed impractical, as did advice to ‘carefully insert two fingers either side of the stool and break it up using a scissor motion’, requiring as it did sufficient space for both stool and two fingers, something which was patently unavailable. Some techniques needed the help of an assistant, which seemed to me a very effective way to kill a relationship of any sort stone dead, should a divorce lawyer be considered too expensive. The cramps and spasms soon returned and I reached a stage where the only way I was able to gain even momentary pain-relief was by raising myself on my tiptoes, bending at thirty degrees from vertical and tightly clutching the top of a chair with both hands. Clearly this wasn’t a permanent solution going forwards. The increasingly powerful yet wholly unproductive contractions ultimately made perfectly clear the terrifying actuality of my situation: I had an enormous turd inside me with a flattened, impacted head-end several times wider than the diameter of my anus even at maximum stretch and I was either going to have to get the thing out myself somehow, or go back to hospital and employ someone there to do it for me. There were no good options, only degrees of horrendousness. A visualisation of my arrival at the hospital bent in pain, frantically explaining the issue to what would more than likely be upwards of half a dozen people each with an active sense of humour prior to seeing the lucky proctologist, drove me to search deeper online. Finally, I found more granular information describing what was euphemistically referred to as ‘manual intervention’. This essentially involved reaching partially or fully up into one’s rectum and withdrawing the stool by hand, either whole or in as many pieces as necessary.

If you’re finding that idea stomach-churning then you really need to stop reading right now, because honestly, this gets way, way worse.

Several urgent, encouragingly painful and highly motivating full-body spasms later, I reluctantly began a physical examination of the opening of my currently fully-distended rectum with a tissue-covered hand, in a preliminary attempt at gaging the practicality of such an approach.

There was nothing sticking out of me. The end of the turd was so wide that it simply gaped my arsehole at full stretch without in itself extending in any way through the opening. The thing was as hard as wood and was beyond question a single amalgam with no discernible fault lines or subunits. Any dreams, or rather nightmares, I had of carefully withdrawing the turd with gloved hands evaporated as surely as had all the liquids which must originally have partially constituted this monstrous arse-goblin, this terrifying furnace-clinker itself. With an ingenuity born of practicality and terror, the final abandonment of all human dignity and a desire to avoid having the surgical removal of an enormous turd on my medical records, I found some disposable sterile gloves and a mirror small enough for me to squat over. Then, not without a diligence befitting the gravity of the situation, I carefully selected from the spare cutlery drawer a teaspoon with a flat curved handle which, on the balance of probabilities, likely as not wouldn’t immediately tear the thin walls of my rectum asunder on first contact. With substantial trepidation, I began what is far and away the most unpleasant, nerve-wracking and just generally horrible activity that I have ever engaged in or described to anybody. Those with queasy stomachs should abandon ship right now and no liability for burned minds or lost dinners will be acknowledged by the author or his representatives. This is your final warning.

I quickly gave up any idea of inserting the actual bowl of the teaspoon itself inside me. Its edges were too sharp and would have led to me being recorded in medical journals as that man who disemboweled himself with a teaspoon, an accolade I could do without, even if it came with impressive silverware.

Rather, I found that by judicious easing and gentle pushing, I was able to introduce the rounded handle of the spoon between the turd and the walls of my rectum. Whereupon, by carefully employing my anus as an effective if unwilling fulcrum, I managed to lever small quantities of stool out onto the tissue-covered floor. This procedure was every bit as repellent, undignified and fucking ridiculous as it sounds, perhaps more so, and believe me having to do it to yourself is much worse than reading about it. So please mix a bit of sympathy in with your disgusted derision. Yield wasn’t high, no more than one or two cubic centimetres at a time, but at least it was coming out. I thought that if I could just remove the head of the mushroom, collapse the walls so to speak, I might subsequently be able to let nature conclude the remainder of the process. This, however, didn’t seem to be happening any time soon. What I was extracting had edges as hard as fibre-board and as shiny as those of a horse chestnut seed. Having been polished against my intestinal wall for a good seven days, it was incredibly dense. Even small quantities made an audible sound when they fell the short distance to the floor. I made sure to rotate as best I could, trying not to favour any particular sector unduly in case I worsened the situation by inadvertently fashioning the turd into a problematic shape, such as a tomahawk, boomerang, set-square or similarly self-defeating angularity. Patiently, I pecked all around the edge, never getting greedy or risking going too deep, until I’d extracted what I judged to be somewhere between a dessertspoon or tablespoon of matter, seeing no reason not to continue the spoon theme by using them as a means of measuring volume. I decided to take a quick break to change the toilet roll on the floor, gathering up the output from my first session and dropping it into the toilet.

Perhaps twenty minutes had passed since I began my probably ill-advised amateur proctology project, and whilst progress was slow, it was definitely progress. As I once again covered the floor with tissue and assumed my insanely undignified, froglike position, I felt a familiar sensation within me. This colossal turd was moving, as well it might, toward my anus. Under its own steam, so to speak. It was taking up the space created by my judicious mining. Unfortunately, any optimism with regards to further desirable developments was unfounded. The part that took up the slack was no narrower or softer than that which I’d removed. I briefly considered whether I might be able to sell a design derived from my experience to the deep-sea drilling industry for keeping well-heads sealed, but rapidly deferred further related considerations in the light of current, more pressing personal issues.

I resumed my stool-scooping, only once attempting to leverage too much in one go, a mistake that produced a terrifying localised pressure suggestive of an imminent split annular muscle. I rapidly weighed the potential rewards of haste against the benefits of having an intact anus when I’d finished, choosing to proceed thereafter at a rate focussed on ensuring the successful preservation of my nipsy. Channelling the patience, industriousness and resolution of mythical dwarves and gnomes, I worked undaunted. Four more times I removed the end of the offending article and four more times I felt it settle stubbornly back into place as before. But on the fifth occasion, after an hour of the most undignified labour a person can conceive of, something changed. Rather than immediately rejecting a clearly impossible task out of hand, my arsehole was apparently giving serious consideration to waving this one through. It was only going to have a bloody pop at it. It was going over the top. I can’t say I shared its confidence, but soon there was no doubt that an attempt was in the early stages of execution despite my misgivings and I quickly scrambled over onto the pot, wishing it the very best of luck. This was indeed the main event. Maximum distention was reached almost instantly and so great was the urgency and total the commitment that there could have been no means to abort the process even if I’d found myself being ripped in two. There would be no breather-rings on this thing. It muscled its way out bombastically, with an attitude somewhere between very angry and extremely insistent, for what seemed like an impossible period of time, with sides that were fiercely parallel and a density which never once exceeded a 3 on the Bristol stool hardness scale. My intestine seemed to be shouting the thing out so loudly and for so long that I wondered if I might break my neck against the ceiling. Twenty-eight nutritionally balanced meals impacted end to end. It didn’t even begin to taper until around meal twenty, when it did so reluctantly in a gradual manner, though I got the impression this was more about moving volume than any kindness to myself. Finally, with a loss of body weight I could feel like the discarding of a haversack, the expulsion ended. It was like having an internal twin removed. I could distinctly feel my organs reorganising to reclaim lost space. When I turned to examine my product, I mean come on I had to look right don’t pretend you wouldn’t, I knew this wouldn’t be one of those that just vanishes round the bend one its own.

Mentally prepared, harbouring dark suspicions and fully expecting something well beyond the ordinary though I was, it was still an incredible sight. I would dispute whether my rectum had been capable of housing even one single additional mouthful of digested food. The turd was the length and width of the lower half of a farmer’s leg and looked like an Aztec temple column carved from polished teak. Had I not known for certain it had recently been contained within my body, I’d have disputed it could possibly be of human origin. I’d seen fishermen tie rowing boats to less substantial moorings. It looked like a mud seal that had swum head-first into a harbour wall. If I’d stumbled across it in a field somewhere, I’d have attributed it to a horse that badly needed to eat less, shit more often and get lots of extra oats and hay into its diet. I gazed at this Elvis-killer in horror and made a solemn promise to my intestine that I would never allow such an aberration to develop again. I shall spare you the details of how I got it down the bend. It’s sufficient if I mention that it definitely didn’t want to go and had a lot of character. But go it did, as such things must, and I was not sorry to see it do so.

I collected everything involved in the entire sorry episode, even the mirror, which in my mind was now forever tainted by association and in which I would never be able to look at my own reflection again, double-bagged them and threw them in the bin. Then, I disinfected the bathroom floor, subsequently including the walls and surfaces for good measure, bleached the toilet, flung wide both windows, took a shower with the disinfectant and spent a long time scrubbing my nails with a brush, in case any obscure, mutant, rubber-penetrating microbes had made it through the gloves. Finally, I did two circuits of the room with an anti-bacterial spray in one hand and an air-freshener in the other. I lamented the impossibility of cleansing my memory of the event so easily. But it was pretty sweet drinking a few beers on the sofa without that hot, poisonous tenant pulsing away inside of me, and each time I crossed the floor for a refill I seemed to be dancing on air. It truly was a weight off my mind. Over time, the horror and unpleasant details of the operation faded and on balance, I was satisfied that I’d done the right thing, utterly undignified and fraught with the potential for total anal disaster though it was. I was proud of my arsehole for handling it and very pleased that I hadn’t had to go to hospital. I even began to congratulate myself on my ingenuity. Hopefully it’s clear I would never recommend this experience or course of action to anybody else. None of this is medical advice and I’d strongly advise against allowing pride or embarrassment to prevent anyone from seeking necessary treatment by fully-trained professional dirtbox-professors. After all, they’ll have seen much worse and probably experienced more than their fair share of personal ridicule from peers who chose to specialise in medical disciplines with a different focus.

It was a massive turd though.
'If you're one of those who can, make certain that you do."
Patiently waiting on Part 7 popcorn
>> [04/03 04:32 AM]Fenrir:bunch of drama queens in my head <<

Part 7) How I was Found

I awoke to banging on the front door and as I pulled on my jeans and a hoodie, I noticed several unexplained dark patches on the carpet of the shadowed bedroom. I decided I’d investigate these later and hurried downstairs, where I met a neighbour and drinking-partner at the door.

“Are you OK?” he said, appearing strangely concerned.

“I’m fine, yeah. Got back last night.”

“Can you remember what happened?” I really didn’t like the look on his face at this point.


“It was me who found you.”

“Come in then…” It seemed we were about to have a deep and disturbing conversation, so I served up a couple of whiskeys and we sat in the living room a few feet apart.

“I pressed your doorbell to see whether you wanted to go out and I could hear this weird sound. Really loud moaning, then a yell, like someone trying to wake up out of a nightmare or something. It was from your room upstairs. So, I went and got the key and came in the house to see if you were OK. It sounded like you were getting strangled. I stood outside the door for a while, wondering if there was any pervy shit going on. When I knocked you didn’t answer, so I went into the room.”

I could see he was struggling with the next part and whatever had happened had really disturbed him. I also became aware there was a fair possibility I owed him my life. He took a surprisingly large slug of spirits and continued.

“You were on the floor, having a fit. There was blood everywhere, on your hands, all over the room, your whole head was covered in it. You kept trying to stand up and collapsing onto you face. I thought someone had attacked you, but there was no one else there and the door had been locked, so.”

“What the hell?”

“That’s what I thought. I just phoned the ambulance and they got here really fast, maybe ten minutes. But then you started to kick off when they went near you. And you couldn’t talk properly. They tried to give you an injection but you flipped when you saw the needle, so they called the police.”

“Was I that bad?”

“You were scary. Even when the police got here they were pretty twitchy and alert when you got close. They tried to get you downstairs and you just threw them off. That’s when they started asking me what you’d taken.”


“They thought you were on PCP or that face-eater stuff, or something.”

I didn’t even have words at this point. None of this information had been available in the hospital and it sounded like a very messy episode indeed, just from the part he’d mentioned so far. But there was plenty more to come.

“So, they got some more police, with a drug dog.”


“Yeah, there were three cars and an ambulance outside here”

“What time?”

“This was the middle of the day. The dog didn’t find anything, I watched in case they got too cheeky, which they didn’t like. Then you started fitting again and they all grabbed you and managed to get you downstairs. You were screaming that you were OK, but then you went quiet, silent. They put you in the ambulance laid down and told me to go home.”

And three days later I’d woken with all the tubes inside me. We chatted for a while longer, discussing the likely impact on the surrounding neighbourhood gossips, some of whom were irritatingly influential amongst networks of similar fuckwits. There’d be fallout, but nothing too serious to handle. He accepted another drink and we lapsed into reminiscence. He was very pleased that I was OK and I did in fact feel absolutely fine. In fact, I felt more motivated and capable than I ever had before. Such are near-death experiences. We were both squiffy when he left, but I had work to do.

I went upstairs to examine the bedroom, turning on the lights to reveal half a dozen patches of deep, dark blood at intervals around the carpet. They told a story. I appeared to have lurched, or fallen, off the bed onto my face, then repeatedly crawled and collapsed head-first onto the floor, obviously seizing in the process. A long arch of especially dark blood in a crescent shape reminded me of something, but I wasn’t able to recall what.

Then I noticed the bags of phenibut and piracetam next to the bed and understood what had happened. I remembered getting home and wanting a good night’s sleep and taking a stiff dose. It would appear I’d forgotten doing this and repeated the exercise, perhaps a total of ten grams. The combination with piracetam had obviously been too much for my GABA to handle and everything had gone haywire. It had almost killed me.

The level of drive and focus which resulted from this experience cannot be over-emphasised, not to mention the obvious behavioural changes. Be careful with substances that you're familiar with. Just that extra push can be the step that takes you over. What stuck in my mind somewhat was that the paramedic had taken 45 minutes before getting me to the ambulance and on my way to hospital, having waited on several sets of police before doing so. This wasn’t acceptable to me. I made an appointment to view and copy my medical records and a subject access request for any additional data. Then, I suddenly realised what the crescent arc of blood on my bedroom carpet was shaped like.

Death’s scythe.
'If you're one of those who can, make certain that you do."

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