In a vacuum of darkness. Floating. No sound. No feelings. Just nothing. I wasn’t sure if it was hell but it damn sure wasn’t heaven. Maybe purgatory. No time. Just space. And nothingness.
Then there was sound. Faint. Murmurs. Voices. Nothing coherent but it was more than what there had been. At times it was nonstop, then there would be nothing again. Silence. But the beeping. It never stopped. If I wasn’t crazy already, it was going to drive me there. I wanted to scream, shit I tried. Nothing.
“I know you’re in there somewhere.”
It was faint, so faint I couldn’t recognize the voice but it was clear. For some reason that gave me hope. Also proved I wasn’t dead. But I wasn’t exactly alive either. I couldn’t respond, couldn’t tell whoever it was that they were right. That I was still here, wherever the the hell it may have been.
There were more voices now. Sure as I was born I could hear everything. Louder this time. Arguing. Fighting. Threats. And now there was something else. Pain. Everywhere. But it didn’t last. As the beeping picked up, the pain lessened, and eventually there was none. And that first voice came back, just as faint as before.
“If you in there you gotta fight. Please. You ain’t the type to just lay down babyboy. You gotta fight.”
Brion. I could feel him. It was a vague sensation. Maybe his hand on mine. His breath on my ear. But he was there. With me. I wanted to hold him. To touch him.
But he was wrong. I had been that type. Except on the football field. Real life was something different. Until very recently I’d taken the easy route. Lived in my closet. Walked away from the greatest relationship in my life because I couldn’t have the hard conversation. Turned to easy money instead of putting in a little extra effort to work for a living. I wasn’t so dim to realize that the easy way wasn’t the right way. It wasn’t fun either. Sure there were moments but they were few and far between.
I was done laying down. That life wasn’t for me anymore. I wasn’t that guy anymore. I would fight.
And like that I opened my eyes. As simple as that. Everything was blurry and still very dim but that was because the lights were out and the shades closed. As I shift my eyes around, my vision focused and I started to make things out. The lights on the drop ceiling. The TV on the wall. The tubes running out etiler escort of my mouth. The source of that unrelenting beeping. My heart monitor. I watched as the spikes came closer together. Then he was standing over me. His eyes on the monitor, he didn’t notice me staring up at him. And like that he was gone. But a cute tiny redhead returned in his stead. Her badge said her name was Chrissy, ICU Nurse.
“Well look who decided to join us,” she said as she came around the bedside. She hit a couple buttons on the monitor and gave the IV bags a look before she leaned over me with a pinlight. She shined it in my eyes. “Follow it if you can,” she said in a quiet voice before she moved it back and forth. I did as she told me and she smiled wider. “He was right you do have beautiful eye,” she said and I tried to smile but the tubes prevented my lips from spreading. I followed her with my eyes as she moved around to the foot of the bed and pulled the blankets back from my feet. She poked one, then the other and I felt my muscles twitch. Again she smiled and came back up to the head of the bed. She put her hand in mine. It was warm, if not a little clammy but I welcomed the touch and squeezed immediately. She giggled a little and rubbed her thumb along the back of my hand. When she went to pull away, I wouldn’t let go and she smiled down at me. “I’m just going to call the doctor in to check you out. I promise I won’t leave.”
And I released her. True to her word she didn’t go far, grabbed my call button and took my hand back while she waited for a response. A couple minutes later a male voice came over the loudspeaker. “Everything alright in there Chrissy?”
“Sure is. He’s awake, can you get Dr. Steinerman for me.”
I heard the doctor’s name repeated over the intercom and within minutes he stood in the doorway. Decked out in blue scrubs, the middle aged doctor came right in and repeated all the actions Chrissy did without a word. He started with my feet though and finished at my eyes. He did a couple extra things, listened to my chest and poked around at my stomach.
“Welcome back to the world Mr. Sinclair,” He said, finally looking me in the eye. I mean, sure he flashed the light in them but now he looked at me like I was a person. “It was pretty touch and go there for a little while but once we got the bleeding under control it was a matter of wait and see. There’s still a little fluid on your fatih escort lungs but you got good breath sounds. Reflexes are strong but we won’t know for sure the extent of the damage until we get you up and around. Can’t do that until we get those tubes out. What say we get that going, shall we?” He wasn’t exactly asking me but I didn’t mind being included. And when he directed his attention at Chrissy I figured they were done talking to me. It was a lot of medical speak I couldn’t follow anyway and eventually I drifted off.
But it wasn’t like before. There was no vacuum. But I can’t say I dreamed. I could still hear people moving around me. Hands on me. Not the hands I wanted but it was good to feel again. Even if it hurt sometimes. Or it was hard to breath, especially when they cranked the bed up. But I didn’t stop, and neither did my heart. I guessed this was the waning I kept hearing about. I was in and out. Everytime I opened my eyes, I hoped to see him again but there was no such luck.
“You must be some kind of wonderful,” Chrissy said at one point as she opened the shades to let the sun in and after so much time in the dark I appreciated it. “We had to open the conference room for everybody waiting to see you. The doctor will be here in a little bit to give the final word so hopefully in the next couple hours we can get you extubated.” I rolled my eyes at the “couple hours” part and she giggled a little. “I know, I know but trust me it’s better to be safe than sorry. Just sit tight and rest a little while longer. Trust me you’ll be begging to be left alone before too long.” I didn’t really believe her and judging by the look on her face, Chrissy knew it. She adjusted my pillows and changed the channel on my tv from the information channel to ESPN. I watched for a little while before I drifted off again.
I woke up just as she and the doctor were coming back into the room. I wasn’t sure how long I was out since Sportscenter was still on, all that matter to me was Chrissy cranking my bed back down. She didn’t have to tell me what was about to happen but she did anyway. She narrated every move she made, from detaching the ventilator from the tube in my mouth to working the suction tube down my throat. My heart monitor went crazy a few moments but it didn’t last and the doctor went about pulling the tape off my lips. He tried to be gentle and I appreciated it. Whatever meds they were pumping through fındıkzade escort my IV were doing nothing to stop the pain of my beard hair being yanked out.
“Alright big guy. Let’s get this out,” he said with a pat to my chest. “It’s going to be irritating and I want you to cough. Don’t try to hold it in. Ready,” he said but I wasn’t sure what he expected from me by way of answer. I tried to shrug my shoulders but I wasn’t sure if I succeeded until they both laughed. “That’s what I like to see,” he said before he counted down from 3 to 1 and gave the tube a pull.
Irritating was not a strong enough word for how it felt. I could have sworn he pulled my lung out with it but I saw the end of it and it was clean. And I hacked like hell as Chrissy raised the head of my bed back up. She put the suction tube back in my mouth to clear out the gross mucus that came up with my coughing, and held it there until it subsided. As she did the doctor worked a oxygen tube up my nose and around my ears. He told me to breath deep through my nose and I did as he asked as best I could. Which turned out to be good enough. Slowly the beeping on my monitor returned to a steady pace.
“You did great Neville,” Chrissy said and pat my hand.
“Now listen big guy,” the doctor said and I turn my head a little to look at him. “We aren’t out of the woods just yet but this is the first step. Albeit a big one but still, it may be slow going from here. We lost you on the table twice trying to get those bullets out. Your brain scans came back normal but that doesn’t mean you’ll be back to normal right away. You might find it difficult to speak even if you understand everything going on around you. It will be frustrating but be patient. We’ll get you through this.”
It was a lot to take in. Shit I still wasn’t sure how I ended up in the hospital. I mean, obviously I’d been shot but when. The last thing I remembered was leaving my house. I don’t even remember where I was going.
“Just keep breathing through your nose and out through your mouth. And keep coughing. It’s going to hurt but you need to get your lungs back working on their own. I know you don’t want the tube going back in.” I shook my head at that and the doctor smiled, gave my shoulder a pat. “Alright big guy I’m going to leave you in Chrissy’s capable hands. Welcome back.” And like that he was gone.
“So Neville which of your loved ones you want me to send in first. They’re chomping at the bit.”
I knew what I wanted to say and trust me I tried but the signals kept getting crossed between my brain and mouth. Frustrating wasn’t a strong enough word, but the doctor told me to be patient. I took a deep breath, cleared my head, and focused on what I wanted to say.