Suddenly, I was staring at an ugly pink and blue curtain in a bright room, and a doctor was there. He told me many things about myself. He told me I was in a hospital. He told me I was running a half marathon. He told me I had lost consciousness at the ten mile mark. He told me that in the ambulance I went into a frenzy and yanked an IV from my arm, but they didn’t end up giving me any drugs. He told me I’m overheating and they are working to get my temperature down. And then there were more doctors. 3, then 4. And questions. What was my name? What was my address? Is there anyone I could call? What was my social security number? Do I remember falling? Do I know where I am?
But who was I? Where was I? I listened to the questions. And focused on the words. I heard them all together, but they hardly made any sense. Slowly, I tried to form answers in my mind. But whose lips were these? How does one move lips? I stared at the doctors, and one looked at a monitor, put a finger on my wrist, went away.
I stared at my purple painted toes. Whose toes are these? A nurse walked in, asking me to roll over. I thought about the words, what they meant. “Roll… over…” I said out loud. I tried to imagine moving an arm, pushing myself over, but couldn’t figure out how to do it, and the nurse went ahead and pushed me onto my side. “Roll… over…” I said again. And my mind echoed back at me: this is your life now.
Later, the fear slowly seeped in. I breathed, sucked on my lip, struggled, strained to speak. “24, 24, 24, 24, 24, 24, 24…”