Real Time Short Stories

The Claymatian Inside

Posted on: November 14, 2014

The bed-wetting reference of the previous post – while an entirely truthful piece of eye-catching amateur Christy Brown-ing, a little league Baubyism – wasn’t the story of last night. That was the piss that made its way into a bottle, held by Laura of the swinging hips, who snaffled the catch with the curly-haired aplomb of Graham Roope, dipping to his right to see an edge on a Geoff Arnold off-cutter find its way home.

Just a word of warning: you won’t need expert medical knowledge to follow this series of posts. You may, however, wish to research domestic and international cricket of the 1970s and 1980s to gain full technical appreciation.

Anyway, with no further catches getting spilled, I can see this being one route out of here: on my back but pissing in the right direction.

I’m still working out all the other ways. Last night and the night before, I’d watched my shift nurses prepare the discharge notes for my transfer to High Dependency, then watched that pristine care melt as my agonised, short breaths, the knuckles pawing for the floor and seizure sweats petrified around me in the claymatian shape of the inside of the ambulance, my last memory of life before the ICU.

Before Steph switched me back on, I was aware I’d been sedated – for how long that had been and how long I was conscious of it, I have no idea – and I worked out from voices I’d started to hear that I’d already come through something, that I was now going to be held in this place before the next something but that I seemed very strong and I have a lovely girlfriend. Remarkably, the first indication ICU nurses were able to give me of the strength I could draw on to get through this, came before they’d even woken me up.

The claymatian inside of the ambulance, of my head, of a muddy River Styx with thousands of naked Morph soldiers commando crawling across it, had until last night been features of the lit-up fantasies whenever I closed my eyes. The morphine was clearly at the root of that. It’s less easy to explain how much it separated my perceptions from reality in my ideas about the medical process taking place here: the casting of the staff and even other patients; the methods used to lull patients into the correct responses; the music playing under and against and sometimes within your pain; the backslang reminiscent at times of Poloni… It doesn’t require anywhere near that amount of puzzling to work out how clever science and skilled, meticulous, loving care are what have saved me on four big occasions so far and been life-affirming the rest of the time.

I’m doing this because what’s happening to me amongst these new friends in ICU feels like it needs more than a thank-you card. And, yes, it’s the journeyman writer’s hopeful step into the territory of the misery memoirist and if one way out of this is via a spot of promo on Woman’s Hour during a focus on Men’s Health and how we never act like we worry about our health until it’s no longer there, I’ll take that.

But if you want to support this blog,please keep reading, reposting, reacting, retweeting. This is raw pamphleteering and if you agree with it, please support the work of the ICU team at the Royal. Not so closely you get to write my sequel, mind you.

Last night I closed my eyes and saw the shadows of the ICU doors, windows and the corridors out. Nine days here and I’ve just arrived.

2 Responses to "The Claymatian Inside"

wonderful Dinesh. when it really matters the maligned NHS really can perform the Lazarus Manoeuvre, can’t it?

You’ve picked the best of the slip fielders there, GRJ Roope. He and Geoff Arnold played together for both Surrey and England I think ?

God bless cricket and the NHS, both doing great things in spite of the toffs at the top of the shop !

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