It starts off black. It is a blissful blackness that seemingly has no end. That is, until I start to become aware of my surroundings. It is slow going at first, but once I know I am conscious, there is no stopping it. My senses start to kick in. Smell. . . everything smells clean, almost sterile. There is also a hint of latex. Sound. . . I could hear something that sounded like metal clashing with each other. Scissors, maybe? Voices mumble around me but I can’t tell what they are saying. A persistent beeping resonates in the background. I feel a slight tugging sensation in my chest that becomes more persistent. I know I am lying on a hard surface, but not much else other than that.
I try to slowly blink my eyes open. Everything is a bit blurry before my eyes can adjust. A bright light overhead dazes me.
“I am so sleepy!” I try to say.
Try. I can’t move my lips. I try to wiggle them in the vain hopes that my mouth would open and close but nothing happens. Am I paralyzed? That is when I hear the sound of those scissors again and I start to feel the pain. It feels like a knife is slicing directly into my heart. I want to scream. Want to but can’t. I am confused, delirious from the pain.
“Stop! You’re hurting me!” I scream. Or, at least I think I did. I try to turn my head to better see what is going on around me. I can’t. I strain the muscles in my neck hoping that my head would budge but to no avail. I try to wiggle my toes and make my fingers twitch. Nothing. No part of my body moves a single inch. The frustration makes tears prick at the corner of my eyes but they do not fall.
Someone leans over me and more pain that feels like fire wracks my chest. I want to kick, I want to scream, I want to struggle. I can’t move a single muscle. This blind panic continues for what seems like forever before I can convince myself to start thinking straight.
Where am I? How did I get here?
I try to remember what had happened over the last few days but it’s hard. I am too distracted by the continuous pain brought on by these people. Was I abducted by aliens? Am I being probed? What happened to me? I try to discern my surroundings once again and see if that will trigger a memory.
I remember the place seems sterile. There is the sound of metal clashing. Metal that brings on the pain in waves. People are bent over me, seeming intent on my chest. I try to move my neck again to see if I could make out what these people look like and what they are doing. Nothing happens. I resign myself to the limited movement I have in just my eyes.
These people. . . they are wearing face masks and gloves. That’s where I get the smell of latex from. Those hands move towards my chest with what looks like a surgical tool and the intense pain wracks over my body once again. Surgeons? Am I in surgery? But what happened and why am I awake?
The surgeon’s hand comes down onto my chest again and my thoughts scatter. I try to get the surgeon’s attention. I scream in my head, I’m awake! For the love of god, I am wide awake! But nothing happens. The surgeon keeps inflicting this horror on me with cold determination. What did I do to deserve this? Why am I awake? All I can do is count the cuts. And with each cut comes a flash of memory. One cut. . .intense pain in my chest, like an anvil is crushing it. . . . Two cuts. . .can’t. . .breathe. . .struggling. . . . Three cuts. . .the dial tone. . . . Four cuts. . .“9-1-1 what’s your emergency. . . .” Five cuts . . .a gurney. . .
The tears in my eyes finally escape and run down my temples and into my hair line. The surgeons don’t notice. I try to get my heart rate to elevate, but to no avail. My heart pumps at a steady pace that doesn’t match what I feel inside.
I reach twelve cuts when the surgeon gives the ok to stitch me back up and I start to count those too. I don’t want to feel the needle pierce through my skin and then the unpleasant tug as it’s pulled over my exposed heart.
But I do. I feel everything.