Monday, September 24, 2012

A Few Words Were All He Needed

His air conditioner had fallen off his trailer. He covered the hole with cardboard. The daytime temperature reached 104 degrees. “I can tough it out," he thought.

Like lightning, he had a stroke, then a heart attack. While he lay in his cot he heard a voice telling him he must get up. "You need to get some fluids,” the voice said. He tried to get up, but could not. The voice was his own.

He lay unconscious for a long time, newspapers accumulated. Efforts to call by phone failed. A good friend became concerned and had the life squad break down his door. You was taken to an intensive care unit. Your heart was beating fast, your body was at room temperature.

For a time he remained semi-conscious. A tube was placed in his nose and down his throat to feed him. He helped the woman who did it by swallowing it down. The tube was taped to his nose. "You look like an elephant," a visitor said.

The tube and tape bothered him. Finally he pulled the tube out and peeled off the tape. "Oh, Gerald, look what you’ve done!” a voice said. "Why did you pull out the tube?”

"Something to do," you answered. A grin was formed on your face like a mask.

"I can think of lots of things you could do besides that," The voice was a mournful rebuke. You could not. You went back into a slumber.

As your vision returned, you looked through a hall door. There was a picture on the wall. A woman was held aloft by a crowd of revelers. It was a rite of some kind, maybe a bacchanal . It was an evil scene.

You were being held prisoner by evil people. You had to get away. A friend could help you, though he was unable to drive. He would get a cab and wait outside. You could hide in a woods until they stopped searching for you.

If you could get to the window and get it open. You had read books on how firemen exit a burning building. You had a hook and a descender. You could do it.

Gentle hands were at your face. There was a blue rectangle with a dark cord on it. Someone was giving you something, though you felt nothing. It was gray dark. All you could see was a doorway. Could you get through the door?

A figure appeared in the doorway. He laughed. "You’ll never get out this way," was what he implied.

At last you had recovered enough to be transferred in a wheel chair. Past the picture, it was a little girl picking roses. Their flowers were the crowd you had imagined. No more dreams about being free, then waking up to see the doorway and hearing a hum.

Sense retuned, people had been helping you, they had saved your life . But you had felt so alone and trapped. You could only feel gratitude. But you had needed one thing. Someone to talk to you--maybe a volunteer--telling you where you were and why. You were a word person. All you had needed were a few words.