Read After Covid…34

Paralysis comes with dreams. It arrives at the moment when sudden movement is required and needs the reptilian brain to inform it of danger. Being in hospital during those days was like going to a safaris park, getting out of your car and taunting the lions. It should have been easy to climb back into the safety of the driver’s seat, put on the belt, and switch the ignition before pulling away as the muffled screams of others begin to puncture the your sense of safety. I had been delivered to a ward on which the only screams were mine as the jarring of my broken bones rubbed salt into my still fresh wounds. With nothing better to spend my time on, other than the quick-fire response of pain receptors, I listened to the sounds of the ward. If the lions came for me, I would be a static feast.

Paralysis is the double-edge sword that leaves the body unfit for purpose. A middle-aged man becomes an infant again, mewling and puking when limbs refuse to work. The body closes down in stages in response to the pain-relief. I had been on morphine based medicine and that not only transported me through time but also denied me the capacity to escape my newly bestowed physical restrictions..

 I have a habit of swearing, when I am in extreme pain. Research suggests that cursing cures, or at least alleviates the pain. Fuck it, who’s to know for sure? But I was locked and loaded for the battle to come. At this point, i was not aware that the pain-relief that I had been given during the darkness of the night. I can remember watching the light on the ceiling of my room slowly evolve into a Venus Fly Trap. Faces were sprouting from the wall and then the Fly Trap became a scene in front of a dark forest in which a Hansel and Gretel pondered their journey through the forest. Their innocence made the realisation that danger moved in a dark shadow just behind the first tree-line. They would step into the woods and there was nothing I could do to disturb their narrative pre-determination.  I watched with fascination as the ever-growing Fly-Trap returned and did my best to grip the anchorless sheets that had rested beneath me. They were real and so were the scenes that I was witnessing.

I think that I phoned an old friend, now slightly distanced through time, and related what I was going through. If I had a tinge of madness before, this was an absolute confirmation of my departure from the norm. My hallucinations filled me with me with contentment. Good writers needed interesting trips through otherwise unvisited doors and I had obviously reached a level that qualified me for entry. Satisfied, I slept.

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