Comes the Dawn!
(For John Howell – Re-coup-knee-repl.)
The long night was over: no more voices whispering in the darker shadows of the bedroom; no more misshapen forms parading slowly past the end of the bed, blood pouring in ghastly lava-flows; no more screaming from my beloved wife, not knowing why, but screaming from seeing my white-blanched face, my red, tear-streaked cheeks, and my uncontrollable shaking.
The doctor gave me a mild pre-warning, but I will never forgive myself for the agony I put my good wife Jackie through that first night home from a knee-replacement surgery.
Dr. Driscoll told me that the pain medicine and its delivery system did not necessarily go well with the current pill regimen I was on. “Some medications collide with pain pills, Jeremy, so hallucinations are not out of the question. There is no way to predict the nature of the hallucinations, but I’ve heard some grotesque tales from patients in the past. You must take your medications, so it’s ‘pain or pain-pill’.”
The pain last night was excruciating, so I opted for the ‘pain-pill’, figuring the hallucinations could not be too much worse than the pain. Well, it was a ‘toss-up’! Still, that phantasmagorical experience was a ride down one of Hell’s terrifying roller coasters.
Okay, my pain threshold is weak to cry-babyish! AND, I’m about to take another pain-pill as I’m writing this because the pain is eating me alive – again! And, it’s daytime.
This time, I’m recording both video and sound. Yes, I know! Jackie saw nothing last night, only my writhing body and screams. Let’s just say, I’ve got to do this for myself. If nothing else, I’ll have some history to look back on so I can do a bad imitation of one silly laughing hyena. I’ve sent Jackie and our golden retrievers to the park. Jackie doesn’t want to go, leaving me alone, but I win the argument for her going. Looking at the clock, it is now one-thirty in the afternoon – at least, I made it with the pain for a few hours.
Okay, I’m getting really drowsy as the pain has subsided and sleep is inevitable. I’m closing my eyes now, letting Hypnos have his way with me.
I’m sleeping! I know I’m sleeping, but I also know I’ve got my eyes open watching the thin wispy cirrus clouds go lazily by outside my bedroom window. The pale blue sky is so beautiful, and I’m conscious of the most serene and dominating ether feeling in my body and mind with just a smidgen of numbness in the knee replacement area. In this most languid moment I surrender to the wondrous drowsy feeling and allow sleep to come.
“Oh, God! What is that? No, no! Get away, I’m sleeping and you’re not real. GO! GET AWAY FROM ME! Oh, my God! Help me! Someone, please, help me! The recorder is on! The world will know about you! No! Please, no! Not in bed with me! No! No! My God! It’s opening its long ugly brown jaws! It’s going to eat me! No! No! No!”
Jackie found me asleep on the floor by the bed, softly snoring. There was a huge gash on my right bicep, and the carpet was soaked in my blood. Jackie immediately called 911!
EMTs arrived! Carted me off to hospital emergency as I still slept, unaware this drama was taking place.
I awoke in a hospital bed, confused and unmercifully rude to the nurses and intern servicing me, angry at the alligator-thing that attacked me, angry at my good doctor for performing the knee replacement surgery, angry with Jackie for leaving me alone.
YES, YES, I KNOW! I insisted that she go to the park with our most beautiful Goldens.
GOOD THING! Perhaps! Who knows what the alligator would have done to Jackie and the pets?!
YES, there was an alligator! Believe me! There was an alligator! AND, I have it on audio and video!
Jackie thought she had closed the door when she left for the park, and, perhaps she did… Our Florida home is on the waterway that feeds into the sea.
However, it was Jackie’s re-entry into our lovely home that spooked the alligator enough that it very quickly exited!
All’s well that ends well!
Today, six months later, I’m running a 5K Marathon!
Flash Fiction by BR Chitwood – August 16, 2018
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