“Another Reality Within”
by Ricardo Ben-Safed
“WAIT A SECOND!“, a Surgical Intern near the table yelled at another
employee, they were busy in the ER at Kelpius Heart Centre.
“No, The speed of the blood flow is all wrong, and the temperature is too hot. We’re going to boil his brains!”
He shot another glance at the monitor, it flashed back beeping and flashing. A neon light pulsed ominously and blipped a sudden flat line on the monitor. I am the patient, and now (calmly) I am dead. Apparently! Well I was at least technically dead. (I cannot move or get up.)
The irony, I knew, is that this process of dying is a slow process..but doesn’t stop ebbing away until the brain’s electric waves discharge completely becoming weaker and weaker until they stop. I saw the monitor flashing light — “January 12th”. Huh, I’m dying on my birthday?"
The problem of the circuit failure was in HAL’s printed read out indicating a “corrupted text”. The question was the blood temp 99.0 or 80.9 degrees. The light alternating flashing one then the other on the monitor. What was the actual temperature? Did anyone know? I am the patient and I am strangely not feeling anxious or too worried. Are my brains already boiled from the too hot blood? A creeping ominous, moisture was spreading, running, slowly over my body. My nostrils detected a pungent smell. (I hate B.O! )I didn’t know what to make of the smell. Perhaps I WAS already dead and was in putrid decaying.
Looking up I saw a misty shadow, black and grey. Then a loud voice spoke and a flood of random thoughts were drown in my mind. More thoughts, sights, sounds emerged from the dark shadows flooding my mind, and I knew something was very Strange and true. I was not myself, I was different. I just knew it instinctively.
These shadow thoughts grew into a shape or presence like a big bird in my mind. I couldn’t breathe. Maybe I didn’t want to breathe. A different shadow presence moved across my eyes and mind. I am occupied. Now I must re-start my heart and make it beat again. (But I can’t!) The monitor indicated a flat glowing line running across the screen.
The heart was silent and unmoved. So yes, I am dead! I no longer doubt it. Suddenly the monitor flashed a temperature and pressure. It read level at 75.1 degrees. (I was cold!) A chill was rapidly spreading over my body as my core temperature dropped further.
A warm hand began caressing my fingers, touching my hands, rubbing my arms, feet, legs and even my private thigh parts. Hands manipulating my body and visions, images, lighted up in some area of my brain. What. What is happening to me? I don’t know. Warmness spread to my face, I smiled and wondered if my cheeks were glowing.
Then a sudden kind of spasm of energy flowed through me and
over all my body, electrifying me and my nerve cells: –( I orgasm-ed I think!) My limbs twitched involuntarily.
I accepted my status among the newly dead. My heart’s slow beating rhythm had increased and then rapidly collapsed to nothing. Another flat line ran across the screen of the monitor. I had my last heart beat. Some throbbing decreased slowly to small pulses and twitches. I am certainly dead. Yet I experienced a dark cloudy vision in my mind. I heard sounds reverberate and echo in the halls of an abandoned, empty cold storage room. Where did everyone go? Where was I?
I think ‘I am ‘the’ shadow or “cloud” in my mind and quietly peer out from the eye sockets to see the outside world. In another room a surgeon was washing up for delicate protocol operation. So were other Anaesthesiologists technicians preparing for an operation. The Heart/Lung mechanical apparatus was already in a “ready status”.
Then I saw a body on a stretcher (me!), I am being wheeled down the hall into a white sheeted sterilized room. I knew what they were going to do to that body, and they would cut deep into my chest and rib bones, and then into the heart itself: ripping open the heart to cut the Aortic valve out, sew in a new animal one, from a pig, and strip veins from the sides of my legs to restitch them as a bypass around my heart.
I heard The Team (or the mind-shadow) talking that this operation would be completed within 4 or 6 hours. I tried to look at my watch, but couldn’t locate my arm. Shortly after that I heard a whirr sound, and the blades sliced into the flesh of my chest, cutting through the chest bones and the rib cage, forcing them apart. The Surgeon moved quickly, his steady hand, with an eye glancing at the monitors, took a
cut, fumbling a bit with his favorite silver plated knife into my body. I just lay there quiet-like a sacrificial animal on an altar. I saw the knife descend into my body.
In an alarmist mode: I felt a sharp chill-like wave sweep over my whole nude body. And something was leaving me, what?, blood, or my consciousness? Soon the carotid artery was breached open with a gaping and bloody hole, a large catheter was clamped onto my neck. Meanwhile the heart machine pumped my body dry and emptied it of its five quarts of oxygenated blood.
The heart and lungs were stilled at last. And I am dead and dry and empty. Are brain cells dying for lack of oxygenated blood?
The nutritious blood is pooling in a container and is being chemically thinned and watered down as it was drained from the body. I am now preserved like a dead sweet pickle. I watched the blood draining, and being sucked and pumped out of me.
Strangely, I feel abandoned. The blood was quickly snaking its way down inside the plastic tubes and disappearing somewhere into a plastic bottle attached to the HAL machine. HAL is more alive than I am. Anxiety and fear are rising in me again.
I am now aware I just invented these thoughts in my mind. HAL is delivering my life force in liquid form and swallowing me into itself. I suddenly remember that computer monster was created by HAL; (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer) and was first energized on January 12th). HAL and I are ONE, born on the
same day. Are we twin monsters? HAL initiated a voice in an emotionless monotone, that crackled through the
speaker in the operating room: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men…THE SHADOW KNOWS.” The Shadow knows which aortic valve is defective. The darkness morphs and I see a man with a sparkling electric body looking into a book and I hear him chanting or singing something, I can’t seem to properly locate him, or myself’, or in the room or on the operating table either.
“Okay, temp up to 93 degrees, pressure and lung expansion and contraction of lungs all regular and normal now” said another Techie or HAL I felt nothing.
Nothing moved in my body. I was still a defenseless cold naked body on a white but bloody cushion.
Two sets of hands slid down both of my feet, legs and thighs, rubbing and massaging me. “Oh,…that feels nice someone whispered in my mind. A wave of emotions and feelings flooded me.
My eyelids were closed, yet were translucent as I could see through them. But no one ever looked into my eyes, they just kept staring away, at my body. I felt naked.
I tried talking or singing something, I wallowed down something hard, my throat stung. Wandering spinning around in my mind and also around the physical room, I saw everything that was going on. But there was a flurry of movement, motion, and voices. It’s hard to make sense of it all. I tried to focus but could not control my mind or even think any logical thoughts. My thoughts seemed to take on an alternate reality but from within my mind and body. I recoiled as I glanced at the bloody body again.
The time was yesterday and I was walking down the streets breathing hard unable to breathe normally. “Or, am I flying? No… I am just walking too fast now.”
I began to feel dizzy even swimming in my mind and a looming darkness that I instinctively dreaded. The attention of everyone was now focused on the naked bloody body/person laying on the white, red streaked sheets.
“Oh right. I could really use my hearing aids now, and they are lying on the tray on the left side of the empty bed…See them? “Yes I do.” And there is my ring with the engraved script “I am my beloved, and my beloved is mine” The room is three floors and a 100 yards away. I am so confused.
Feeling colder. a sudden hot electric flash ran through me, and tickled my nerve endings in my arms and legs. Similar to when I dove into the Ocean at the “Naturists beach” at the seashore totally nude. I see it now. Brr, I feel the cold water too. (What’s that glowing yellow line on the monitor mean?)
With a salty taste in my mouth. I was surprised to be able to taste the salty taste…from inside my heart. My heart is still not moving or twitching.
Swimming between the waves, and the frothy sea foam, I brush past a dauphin.
“Mother said I had to do a ‘show and tell today.” Am I going to be born, wonder what my first thoughts will be.
” Recording, the Doctor’s voice said:”. “Am turning the heart around to view the aortic valve side, inserting camera into vein, slowly! (Monitor this aside to another aide) Checking Positron 3 D projection….there is the calcified valve. It’s closed completely. Valve is encrusted and opens only 20%. Cutting each of the three flaps of the aortic valve lids and pulling the debris carefully out of the heart and circulation system. “Increase suction with filtering now”, the doctor said while inserting new animal valve, and slowly positioning it carefully, stapling it into place.
Aside to Op Room staff he said: "This will take 20 or 30 minutes more. Some leakage, pour another blood unit into the heart-lung machine."
I seem to fade in and out of consciousness, alternately appearing, then
becoming transparent, or translucent, or something, but I was still able to see though my eye lids. And they are closed. Strange I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I’m thinking now, so I’m still here alive.” All my body parts are so still and quiet! But I am unable to move anything.
The patient looked around at his new reality on the table. Everything was all new and glowing yellow. Befuddled, the patient was unable to use logical thoughts effectively. My brain cells seem connected to my eye lashes and decisions were made in a shift of my eyes. It was too fast and confusing.
A squishing sound on his right carotid vein as a large catheter was inserted and pumping a fluid into his neck. He was dry and drank his own blood hungrily. Mmmmmmm.
He tasted something in the blood, flavored with some kind of spice
or herb, oregano and salt I think. I feel the blood was rushing through my veins, and moving all over my body at the same instant. I am being flooded and soaked with red blood. This is too fast. I am like a giant sponge soaking up blood. I struggled to move a tiny finger to signal for it to stop. But I failed.
Wait, now I am seeing seeing the whole trip to this operating room or
swimming pool raft but I am seeing everything backwards, as if the recording is being played back in reverse like on a VCR. Down the halls, making turns, everybody walking backwards and finally to my room. There’s my bed…but its empty. (Of course.)
“Where am I? And I am not sure of what is happening to me.
HAL filed a coded note in my digital chart. It flatly stated that if the patient could learn all he wanted, by deliberately slow down the movement of time with his mind. Shesh, what do computers know about human thinking or time?
Nevertheless I tried, and discovered that I was unable to manoeuvre my brain cells to do anything. I just invented HAL.
Looking up I dreamed words, “What is the Surgeon doing with that buzz saw on my chest. Ouch! Wow…what a gusher! Many sponges were sopping it up a huge amount of spreading blood…quickly. “Oh, wait….who’s blood is in that bag being put in that machine? The blood began to glow yellow at that second, an exactly matched shade of the blood that was spilling out over my chest and trickling
down my groin wetting my testicles and penis. (I felt an erotic twinge as I thought of the image of where the blood was running, smeared over my body.)
Both streams of blood came together and seemed to sparkle like a sunbeam playing on the leaves, as I walked through the woods near my camp site. The ground was camouflaged and spotted with dancing light beams.
Chilled in my bones as I put on my day robe. My night shirt was too thin and short. Why am I walking about half dressed in a Roman tunic?
Slowly my frozen body, melted and thawed itself alive and warmed up to the room temperature. More time passed…I think.
The Doctor said, “I’m going to remove the ventilator, you may speak if you can, but don’t be alarmed if you can’t.” I couldn’t speak, so I used ASL (American Sign Language) with my fingers. I told him everything with my fingers and hand movements. Strangely, the Surgeon didn’t understand my ASL and continued to adjust something.
“Okay…now try again.”
“I can hear you”, I said loudly.
“Good!” he said smiling, turning to the Male Nurses, “okay, take him to his room.”
I was whisked off, while a dozen people followed.
Sleepy and dazed, somehow contented without much fear, I nodded off. I had survived the operation. I think.