No hallucinations whatsoever

During my stay in CCU, I was very tired and tended to sleep periodically during the day. Occasionally, this meant I found it difficult to get to sleep at night.

One night, I was trying to get comfortable in bed when I heard an alarm sound. It was louder and more urgent than the repeated beep that sounds when an IV drip has run out and needs attention. Immediately, I saw and heard a flurry of activity. My dedicated nurse left her station and hurried across to the bay diagonally opposite me where a clutch of doctors and nurses were gathering.

This looked serious – then it struck me – I was in an intensive care unit. By definition, patients in here were seriously ill (including me). What followed was like an episode from ‘Casualty’ as the defibrillator machine was called for and the ‘crash team’ was assembled. ‘OK – charging to 140. Stand back please.’ I couldn’t hear the jolt or see the patient as an electric charge was delivered to the heart but I could imagine it. Vividly.

Three more attempts were made but all efforts appeared to be in vain and I was shocked to hear a doctor say ‘Sorry everybody. There’s no more we can do here. Thanks for all your help’ followed by a slight pause ‘Time of death: 02:17’.

I pondered on the fragility of life and wondered about the friends and family of the poor man. If I was restless before, it would be impossible to get to sleep now. I considered asking for some sleeping tablets but my train of thought was interrupted by the arrival of two men, dressed in immaculate dark suits with white shirts. They were wheeling a trolley onto the ward. Not unusual in a hospital but this trolley had a coffin on it. A beautiful coffin, sturdy, build from a light coloured wood with brass fittings.

The men encountered a problem as they wheeled the trolley down a sloping incline with a glass partition. The coffin was slightly too large and was scraping the glass partition. They probably could have forced it but they halted and one man walked away and returned minutes later with a plane. He then proceeded to plane the wood on one side of the coffin and to ensure symmetry, did the same on the other side. Now the coffin fitted and they were able to position it next to the bed. A few minutes later, with some assistance from male nurses, they silently and respectfully wheeled the coffin away.

A couple of nights later, there was a shift change and I found myself attended to by two Asian male nurses during the night shift. After my surgery, I was on bed rest but there was a slight complication – I couldn’t lie on my back to keep pressure off my backside. This meant I could lie on my side but every 2 1/2 hours I had to be turned to avoid bedsores from lying in the same position for too long. This 2 1/2 hour interval was adhered to religiously – even during the night, which was frustrating if you had just got off to sleep.

The two Asian male nurses were incredibly efficient. They rolled me at 00:30 and you knew they would return at 03:00am and 05:30am. Precisely. I am a ‘big bloke’ (medical speak for overweight fatty) so they used an orange blanket to effect the manoeuvre. Quickly and efficiently. Then they would dispense the drugs and move on to the next patient.

One night, as they turned me, I felt a slight stabbing pain on the back of my neck. This was strange as most of my pain was around the pelvis and lower back. The turn was completed and the two nurses quickly exchanged words in Chinese. What were they saying ? What were they doing ?

They went to the lady in the adjacent bed. I was facing the right way to watch as they attended to her. One of them intentionally stood to block my view but I am sure they did something to the back of the lady’s neck. Just like they did to me.

I told myself to stop being paranoid and get some sleep before the next visit in 2 1./2 hours. Only I couldn’t. The two Chinese angels of mercy had reached the elderly gentleman in bay 5. He started shouting. I assumed he was disoriented after being woken up coupled with the effects of medication. ‘Stop it. Stop it. Leave me alone. You are not stabbing me with that needle. LEAVE ME ALONE’.

This confirmed it for me. Without any doubt, the two Asian male nurses were imposters and were actually inserting microchips into the backs of every patient’s neck so the aliens could monitor us.

After another sleepless night and enduring one more visit from the male nurses (who wore different uniforms from everyone else – how had no-one picked up on this obvious clue ?), morning arrived and the day staff came on. The doctors rounds started. A Dr. Williams introduced himself ‘Good morning, Mr. Brightside. I am the pain relief doctor responsible for checking your pain levels and prescribed medication. Now, any bad dreams, nightmares or hallucinations ?’

I looked him straight in the eye and uttered the immortal words

‘No. No hallucinations whatsoever’.