A part of me knew I was in the hospital bed and knew I’d been there for quite awhile. I drifted in and out of my dream state, never quite waking, not sleeping very soundly. I felt the cool sheet against my cheek, felt the weight of the blanket on my legs, but had no other sensations. A fog rolled through my head, sometimes thinning, sometimes overpoweringly thick, never quite dissipating.
Voice number 1, again, “Well, none of our drugs are helping and I’m at a loss about what to do next.” This was the medical voice, perhaps a consulting physician.
Voice number 2, “Doctor, is there any hope?” Sadness in that voice. A relative? A nurse?
Number 1, “All we can do is try.”
I was walking down a long dark corridor, door after door on left and right, only enough light to see these faint images, not enough for clarity. Occasionally a bit of light escaped from under one of the doors but no one responded to my knock; I moved on. At the end of the corridor was a source of light but I seemed to be getting no nearer to it.
A new Voice, “You say there is no sign of brain activity? Is it time to make the decision?” I tried to shout out, “I’m alive! Don’t do this thing!” I couldn’t make the sounds. Who was asking this dreadful question?
More doors, more small beams of light under the doorways. Still no answer, no matter how I pounded on the doors. The light at the end of the corridor might be marginally brighter now; was it my imagination?
The same legal-sounding Voice, “Call in the family, I’ll get the forms ready.” Forms? Did I need to sign something? Why can’t they wake me?
I look up from the depths, trying to find the surface of this pool, if there be a surface. Where am I? Back in the corridor again; was there ever a pool at all? More lights, sometimes some faint sounds. Am I the only real person in this strange dark world? The light at the end of this never-ending corridor is definitely brighter now. I try to hurry, hoping to catch it.
A kindly Voice, “Are you sure? Can nothing be done?” Spoken with tears and deep sadness. The sound of finality.
I’m running now, almost to the light, almost to… what? It’s a doorway with frosted glass in the upper half, its existence beckons me. I reach the door, push against the brass plate and the door swings wide. I pass through and find myself floating above a hospital room; there’s a patient in the bed. Can it be? Is it me? There are shiny decorations on a small tree by the bedside; a woman is seated in a bedside chair, sleeping. Outside the window, snowflakes drift down, blurring the city lights. I hear a Christmas carol on the television set above the bed.
Lower I float, lower and lower until I am touching the still body in the bed, now actually entering the body, feeling more and more sensations within it; the smell of the flowers, the rustling sounds of paper as a lady in a business suit is working with a clipboard at the foot of the bed. I reach up, touch the face of the sleeping woman and she is startled awake. She jumps to her feet and looks down at me, shouting, “My Samantha! Are you alive? Are you back?” Now she is kissing me, hugging me, crying my name.
I’m only six years old but I feel like so much has happened. I want to tell my mother all about the corridor, but that can wait. For now, I’ll enjoy Christmas morning.