Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Santa Crazy

Christmas eve morning I woke up in post-op, woozy with morphine. I get my best ideas on the morning liminal, that delicious time between sleep and wake. This was like an über version of that, and I couldn't quite tell the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness. I now know why some people become addicted to opiates, especially creative types, it was like drifting through the imaginations of my favourite artists. Sometimes I'd be in a clinical hospital room, all gloss white and steel, and then I'd turn my head and find I was in an orange wind tunnel with the heroine of one of my short stories and her frock collection.

A beautiful woman with a foreign accent came to visit me. She was wearing a white coat but it was unbuttoned and beneath was a black cocktail dress. Her diamonds glinted as she moved under the strip lights. She spoke and and cooled me with her hands. Then she was gone. Darkness.

Voices: Stevie, Bob and my brother appeared as if on a screenless TV that hadn't been properly tuned in . They pulled up chairs and spoke and I think I answered, but I was walking along a dark street in an unknown city as brightly lit trams carrying multiple Paris Hiltons raced past me. Light. Kerfuffle. Nurses with bright tones.

I was moved to the ward, bed and all, a different ward to the one I'd been in before the operation, but it looked the same. I worried I'd miss the old one. The boys sorted out all my stuff. I was more with it by now so I could direct them, but doing so exhausted me so we agreed they should go home and leave me to sleep, which I did.

I was woken up for the evening meal but couldn't eat it. I sat up though, and chatted to a nurse who checked my wound and various attachments. My entire torso throbbed with pain and I longed for the dark quiet of night. The same few Christmas pop tunes played over and over. My blood pressure and heart rate were taken hourly.

The lights were finally turned off at just after midnight, once I'd been checked over again and had the nippy little injection everyone has to have to thin the blood. Dark was bliss, I disappeared into it.

'Hell-oh!' a semi whisper.
'Hell-oh!' louder.
I opened my eyes and looked up to see a ghostly Santa with wire rimmed spectacles peering over me: 'Hello,' he said.
'Hello,' I replied.
'Have you seen my fairy?' he gesticulated to the end of the bed where a large youth in a tutu with a wand stood. 'Hello,' said the youth.
'Hello,' I replied.
'We have a gift for you,' said Santa, pointing at a large parcel on my table.
'Oh, thank you,' I said.
'Well, goodnight.'
He was gone. I looked at the time, it was 12.45.

I was woken at about tenish by a nurse doing what nurses do. 'Did you see Santa last night?'
I must have looked puzzled because she added, 'he left you a present, look.'
There on my table was a large, crisply wrapped parcel.


savannah said...

incredible, sugar! every time i've been under medically induced euphoria, i've never been able to weave such a tale of remembrance of things in the dark/half light together! xoxoxo

Wigeon said...

Poor you - you've not had a great time and you've really gone through the mill. I hope you're miles better and getting stronger by the day. I never had such amazing visions when 'coming round.'
Pray do say what the red cloaked spectacled bearded fella left you in the parcel?!

newjenny said...

Ooh, good writing! That liminal state, yes, it's great, much better than wakefulness, generally. Some quite brilliant images come to me from nowhere. Good to read of someone else in that space, using it to give perspective on 'reality'.

Not an easy Christmas, but perhaps you made it into a richer one than most of us had,

The World According To Me said...

So what was in the parcel? I hope you're feeling better.

Pat said...

That's what I love about writers. NOTHING is wasted:) Same with actors
- it can all be drawn on.
I'm sorry you had all that pain and discomfort and very relieved you are getting better and feeling like writing again. Give yourself plenty of time to get 100%.

Eryl Shields said...

Savannah ~ tale weaving, it's what I do, XXX

Wigeon ~ much better now, thanks, should see you tomorrow if I can get out of bed!

He left me bubble bath, hand-wash and chocolates, all very nice.

Newjenny ~ it's my favourite time of the day, the only time things make sense, really.

It was one of the most interesting Christmases I've had to date, and I have high hopes for it feeding into my writing at some point.

Worldy ~ feeling much better, thank you. See above for the contents of the parcel.

Eryl Shields said...

Pat ~ we crossed! I am a top recycler, I like to think. Due time will be given, though sometimes I do think I can do more than I can, but I drove today and am feeling very pleased with myself.

Titus said...

Oh, great to have you back! Loved the writing, Santa bit good but it was the multiple Paris Hiltons that got me.

Eryl Shields said...

Titus ~ yes, they were a bit disturbing.

angryparsnip said...


Every time I've been in and coming out of drugs for surgery and pain all I feel and see is me swimming in an ocean of cotton fuzz. Multiple Paris Hiltons are scary and funny at the same time...
Glad you are home and getting better !

x parsnip

Lulu LaBonne said...

Very David Lynch - a couple of days with those hourly visits for poking and prodding would make a girl hallucinate without the drugs

Scarlet Blue said...

Knowing my luck I'd probably end up inside the Celebrity Big Brother house with multiple Z list celebs drinking milk from saucers.
And the nurse would be Peggy Mitchell...

Kim Ayres said...

I've missed your writing, Eryl - wonderful to read you back on form. I'll have to make the most of it before you turn your attention back to your academic stuff.

Since I saw you in hospital, there has been one illness after another, inbetween trying to get the tax sorted out. I'm hopeful that come February I'll be able to pop up and say hello :)

Eryl Shields said...

Parsnip ~ swimming in an ocean of cotton fuzz sounds rather pleasant: springy and warm.

Lulu ~ you're not kidding! They took away the morphine on Christmas morning – how cruel is that? – but the dreams persisted for several more days.

Scarlet ~ in that case make sure you look after yourself!

Kim ~ I look forward to it. Hope you are all better now.

Philip said...

nice work. good to read you again.

debra said...

Good to see you, Eryl, and to read, too. That state between of in-betweeness is an odd one, I think. Neither here. nor. there.
Loved the parcel.

Jean Atkin said...

Hi Eryl, so glad you're back on the blog. Really enjoyed the surreal Santa (and his fairy). There's got to be a published short story in there.
Hope to see you soon! xxx

Eryl Shields said...

Philip ~ thank you.

Debra ~ I, more and more, think it's the creative link between here and there. For me, at least.

Jean ~ Hello! Glad you liked the Santa thing, if he hadn't left a gift I'd have put him down to the morphine, especially as the fairy was a boy!

I'm up and about now so will definitely come to the Open Stage in its new venue, and anything else lit related that you have on, X

The Pollinatrix said...

Bubble bath, hand wash and chocolates - Santa knows what a woman wants!

I'm very curious about the orange wind tunnel. I've been having this thing with orange lately, you see. Was it a recurring thing?

Ha! Word verification: optatide. A good word for what you experienced maybe.

Eryl Shields said...

Hello Pollinatrix, very interested to know more about your orange thing. The wind tunnel didn't recur, but orange did: there was an orange light around Santa, and the lighting in the trams was also orange.

I like 'optatide' it sounds like a word T S Eliot would use.

The Pollinatrix said...

I actually sat down with the intention of posting about my orange thing today, but it ended up going somewhere else. I find it kind of cool when that happens, like the writing has a mind of its own.

The orange has been ubiquitous lately - yours is not the only post that's mentioned something oddly orange in the past few days. I'll eventually get a post up about it.

Have you tried to ascribe any meaning to the orange visions?

hope said...

Just popping in to check on you.

Paris Hilton and Santa? I'm glad you're okay....and that I've never had to endure more than dental surgery. :)

Eryl Shields said...

Pollinatrix ~ I look forward to your orange post – which reminds me I must put you on my blog roll.

Not considered meaning as yet, but orange has been a feature of my life for as long as I can remember. My father was from India and I remember elegant ladies in Saris and liking the orange ones best. I once had a pair of orange flares (early seventies) that I wore until they disintegrated, and one night when my son was tiny I couldn't get him to settle, he was fine when I was with him, but would scream his head off as soon as I left the room. Eventually, as an experiment, I took off my shirt and gave it to him. He fell asleep clutching it and didn't let it out of his sight for months, until all he had left of it was a tiny fragment. That shirt was pale orange.

I wonder why other people are also talking orange, though, I'll have to check it out.

Hope ~ you are kind. I hope you never have to endure even dental surgery in the future.