I don’t want to write the rest of this. I have been feeling fine the past few days and I am hesitant to bring it all up again. But I’ve learnt that I’m really good at pushing forward.
My doctor was neither white nor Greek and I remember being impressed by this. On the bed, I tried to sit up straight (must.not.look.fat) but I could no longer stretch my body. I was shaking violently. As my doctor prepared the necessary tools, he asked me questions. How did this happen? Did I have a particular fondness for sheep? Where was I from? What kinds of things did I write about? I answered as best I could, through panicked breaths and a rattling voice. I couldn’t help it. My panic was purely physical. All I could do was control the psychological. I didn’t want to be like those hysterical women that won’t shut up.
Meanwhile, a nurse soothed my hands with sterilised water. This helped calm me. She went back and forth getting new bottles. During these breaks, the pain came rushing back. I felt like I was on fire all over again. It was unbearable and it was all I could do not to freak out. At one point, she was taking too long so I begged her to hurry. I started hearing my voice rise. At some point, I must have shouted. It was the first time I exhibited some form of panic in that room. When she came back she sounded annoyed, ‘Calm down already. Control yourself.’
‘Calm down? I am calm , I’m just in a lot of fucking pain! I’ve been calm this whole time, don’t you dare tell me otherwise!’
My doctor rushed over. He actually was calm. He said, ‘Nurse, get out. Tell Nurse X to come inside.’ She protested. He insisted.That was the first thing he did to make me realise he was awesome.
He took me over to the sink and let me hold my hands under the runnings tap. When he was ready, he said, ‘Darling, I can’t treat you until you’ve stopped shaking.’
Was I crying at this point? I don’t know. I do remember that I apologised. Through clenched teeth, I tried to steady my voice, ‘I’m sorry. I’m trying.’
He said, ‘I know.’
A few minutes later, I concentrated really hard and I started shaking less.
My skin was hanging off my hands in long black and silver tendrils. My arms were melted and charred. He worked his way through it all. First he cut off the dead skin. Then he had to remove all the tooth paste from the wounds. I remember this but I don’t really remember feeling it and I don’t remember details. When he was done, I felt light all of a sudden. I mumbled, ‘I think I’m going to faint.’
I considered holding myself up but I just felt too weak. I let myself drop. He caught me and called for assistance. He held me there, with my head on his shoulder, until he sat me up in the wheelchair.
I don’t remember what happened as I left the room. Who was there? How did they react? What did they say?
I was asked if I could stand up so they could get me on the gurney. Of course! Being accommodating is part of my nature.
That part, lying on a gurney, was unsettling. From that position, I couldn’t quite see things. Everyone going by was staring at me. I think I waited there, in the corridor for a few minutes but maybe not.
At some point, a nurse came up to me and smiled. She said, ‘Hi, how’re you doing?’
I said, ‘Super! How are you?’
She said, ‘I’m very well, thank you. We’re going to take care of you now, okay?’
I said, ‘That would be lovely.’
She said, ‘We’ve got a few tests to do and then we’ll take you to your room.’
I said, ‘Okay. Thank you. What’s your name?’
She said, ‘My name’s Evangelia and I’m going to be with you every step of the way.’
I was wheeled into a room and I heard Nurse Evangelia give my story to the doctors. She said I was going in for a head scan and she apologised for not being able to be with me but assured me I’d be out in no time. She was right. She was back by my side a few minutes later to get me a heart scan. And she was still there when they took me to see the eye/throat specialist. We laughed because I just couldn’t say it right: orolarigologos…
The ori… eye/throat doctor was young and sweet and pretty. She stuck a banana-flavoured tube up my nose and down my throat in order to see if there was any smoke in my lungs. It turns out that there was but not a lot but still, she reminded me constantly that she was almost done, and at the end she told me how good I was, how brave.
I was ready to go to my room. My friends could finally talk to me. I looked up and saw my friend Sixty. He looked so worried which was pretty funny seeing as he was dressed as a Dalmation. I smiled and said, ‘Don’t worry. This is going to be a really funny story one day. You guys look ridiculous.’
Throughout the night, I had been begging my friends not to call my parents. I thought that they were going to be angry with me for -get this- being silly enough to bend over a candle. Imagine my surprise when I turned my head and saw my parents standing over me. My first words to my mother were, ‘I’m sorry.’
In turn, hers to me were, ‘Don’t be silly.’
They wheeled me to the ward. They turned on the lights and I told off the ward nurse. Then I apologised to the two patients who were already next to me.
‘Don’t worry, honey. We know how this works.’
I asked them for their names too. Andromachi and Varvara.
I was smiling by now. The drugs had kicked in. I was still in a lot of pain but, compared to before, it was bearable. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my friend, the parrot, starting to cry. I protested. She apologised. I said, ‘Don’t apologise, just don’t cry. Get out and come back in when you’ve composed yourself.’
I was harsh. But I couldn’t help it.
Within a few minutes, everyone was kicked out. I insisted that my mother stay. She was allowed to because I was incapable of doing anything for myself. I had to sleep on special silver sheets otherwise my burnt body, all that flesh, would stick to the bed. It was the first of several long nights.
Once more, I feel like I need to apologise for the flatness of this story. I feel like its tone is so cold. Like I’m failing in depicting the horror of the experience. There is no emotion here and I know it makes it boring but I just can’t bring myself to put those two -events and emotion- together. But then this makes it feel like I’m cheating. If this is a story told for cathartic purposes, surely I should be putting more effort into it, no matter how difficult. Anyway, I am looking forward to finishing this so I can start my Ten Day Challenge Meme!