You’re Not Dead ch.3 : Home {ANEWSIN VOL. 5 — Jason Garden}

Cambridge.

The Hero spent the majority of his life loafing around the centres of that city, and he loathed that place very much.

It was horribly arrogant, and had little reason to be.

Oh: it was pretty. It was at the intersection of two rivers, and forests lined the banks of the water. That was, however, being destroyed in attempts to make everything more commercial. More “convenient” for residents and tourists alike.

Forrest were destroyed at a rapid pace. Rivers were exploited for their eye-candy, and ironically treated horribly during their exploitation.

He was brought into Cambridge Memorial Hospital. It was explained to him that this was his second time inside that building since his journey started. He cannot remember the first time.

He finds that haunting – wrong almost. He feels like the month before he fell into a coma was narrated by someone else, but he still acted out the conclusions of his actions. He was left to wonder: did he really mean everything his husk did?

The first room he was placed into was a grand size (or at least he thought it was). He had two other roommates, which was something he was very not accustomed to.He had been kept in solitary rooms until this point in his journey. They kept to themselves. He never did hear much regarding their stories.

The one guy was about ten years the Hero’s senior. He seemed very sick and was quarantined several times in the week they shared that room. The other gentleman was much older: probably in his 60s. The younger gentleman had a few visitors, mostly friends and family, that seemed to come on an almost daily schedule. The older patron had, what the Hero assumed, a wife that came when she could. She came out to be a healthy amount, but the man was left alone more often than not.

There was a sense that whatever the older man was in the hospital for was acute and he would be out in time. The Hero had the feeling it would not be to his house, but at least back into society.

Not so much with the other gentleman. The Hero wished he knew what was wrong. He was under quarantine most of the time.

This was all just speculation made by the Hero, however.

The nursing staff was horrible. They were clearly overworked.

Or they were just incredibly apathetic.
Or they were just horribly stupid.

One such nurse seemed to mean well, but would just say and do all the wrong things.

The Hero was reminded of that person who would be in your high school class that, no matter how right or wrong she was, you would just cringe with every noise she made. She would always speak to everyone else in the room, and talk to the Hero as if he was a child.

He wanted to tell her off. He wanted to remind her that he was human.

He still could not speak.

The Hero was visited several times by his friends Shannon and Ryan. He loved them both very much, and was glad every time he saw their faces. They would crack jokes at everything they could, and kept everyone in good spirits. Shannon, in particular, has been a friend of the family for many years. Her presence was greatly appreciated by the present company.

During one visit from the pair, the Nasal Gastric tube that was in the Hero was bothering him.

A Nasal Gastric tube is a tube that travels through a nose, down a throat, and creates a clear path between a face and a stomach. It is used to administer medications and some paste that is meant to pass for food.

It was annoying and obstructive. there was a chance that, if he got food into his mouth somehow, he would choke and die.

The Hero still did not have movement in any part of his arms. So, in pathetic attempts and whimpers, he gestured towards removing it. The nurse he did not like refused on multiple occasions.

“It’s necessary.” She would harp without further explanation. This statement was usually followed by a sharp turn to anyone else and disregard for any further attempt at communication made by the Hero.

The Hero hated her so much.

Shannon noticed how uncomfortable the tube made the Hero immediately. Carefully, she removed it. The Hero could feel the plastic rubbing against the inside of his throat, which was mildly uncomfortable. The hated nurse stood and watched as the tube came out.

She waited for the tube to be fully removed before making her presence known.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” The nurse shrieked as loud as she could. It was piercing. “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE?!”

She ripped the tube from Shannon’s hand and grumbled as she left the room. Funny enough, the Hero never saw her after that. He hoped that event caused some sort of hammer to be brought from on high to get her in trouble. He kept wishing she would just stick her head in and apologize so he could refuse her existence entirely, but he never wanted to see her again.

The Hero was moved around the hospital often. He had a constant worry that something would vanish, and stuff did, but nothing important ever got left behind.

He did loose a stuffed toy that his friends Chrissy and Adam had given him. It was a Narwhale. He was fantastic, and the Hero was not above admitting that. Yes, it was juvenile, but he breathed through a machine. The Hero doubted that anyone would give him a hard time right now.

The exact time or place that went missing is unknown. The Hero assumed that is had been gone since he left Toronto.

The hospital in Cambridge, though close to friends and family, was lonelier than his solitary room in Toronto. The fanfare of his survival has subsided, and he was reduced to spending much of his time alone.

To be clear, he did have a few visitors, but not as many as he would have liked.

He felt selfish. He knew that it must have been far from entertaining to talk to a lifeless lump, but he still wanted someone to talk at him. Yet, day after day, he was left alone with nothing interrupting all of his thoughts.

***

The medical staff decided that he needed what they referred to as a “PLEX” about a week or two days or a few hours after he got there.

PLEX is the removal of the Plasma from his blood followed by its reintroduction within seconds. It is kind of like a blood transfusion mixed with a blood cleaning. The Hero did not quite understand, but he was in no position to object.

Another needle: after what the Hero had been through, he was far from afraid.

He should have been.

He still did not know his age and barely knew his name.

On a winter afternoon, or day, or night, or morning, the Hero was wheeled across the hospital. It was quiet, and the wing he was brought to was relatively empty. He was deposited into a room where he waited for the specialist.

The Hero was in and out of conscious during the whole ordeal. After all was said and done, he was assured that he missed little, but the following he remembered all too well.

The PLEX required a major artery. They went through the Hero’s jugular. For the uneducated, that is the major artery in the neck.

Surprise!
The Hero had feeling there.

He really wished he did not have feeling there.

After the piercing of flesh, the machine turned on. Out of view of the Hero, the machine made stereotypical machine sounds: a constant buzzing and whirling permeated the room with a great weight and volume.

The needle hurt. Even after all of his piercings and two tattoos, the needle was the worst pain the Hero had ever felt. That time he broke his ankle was preferable to this. It was probably not five inches long, but you could have fooled the him.

There was a sharp sting as they pierced the flesh in his neck. He stayed conscious, but just barely. Everyone involved looked incredibly bored, like it was just another day at the office.

The nurses, who were normally smiling, had faces of stone. His mother could do nothing but hold his hand and reassure him that everything would be over soon. His brother remained stoic in the corner of the room.

He was completely unaware of how long the procedure actually took, but it felt like an eon.

People swear the room was well lit. It was in a hospital, and they have very sterile lights that light the corners with uniform persuasion.

He remembered it as a dull grey room full of hate, despair, and pain.

The sounds from the machine coupled with the long shaft of metal in his neck probably altered his view on the situation slightly.

“Why me? Why now?” He thought to himself while trying to distract himself from the pain. The whole thing was horrible. He wanted to scream out. All he could manage was darting eyes from corner to corner of the ceiling while tears were streaming from his eyes.

This was horrible.

He already had a blood transfusion back in Toronto.Apparently, he has a very rare blood type for no good reason. His mother is A+. His father is A-. His brother is A+. The Hero, for some reason, is O-. Less than 7% of the world population is O-.

The first donation of blood came to him because that night a man died in a motor vehicle accident. Not ideal, but it came at the eleventh hour, apparently. He was in the coma at the time, and heard the story from a doctor who was having a particularly bad day. The blood donation involved with the “PLEX” came in a similar fashion: someones death.

Now: he could claim to be a new man, and mean it! He died twice, he had the blood of at least two other people in his veins. This came with new responsibilities, however. Now, he felt the burden, of not only being the best he can be for him, but of also the best for everyone involved in his life. He was given a second and third chance.

Finally, the machine wound down, the needle was removed and he was set free. The nurses moved the Hero from where they were doing the operation back to his room. Luckily for him, his bed had wheels. This meant that he never had to try to hobble down halls or be awkwardly placed into a wheelchair. He could not help but feel a twisted sense relief in this situation.

Back to his corner of the world, surrounded by a thin curtain. He laughed at its existence. It was supposed to somehow guard against infectious diseases and viruses. The Hero could make shapes of people out through the pale yellow veil it cast in the room. The curtains did nothing to inhibit light from outside gracing the corners of his bed.

It was around this time that he was fit with a (temporary) wheelchair. Hospital grade, it gave him some sort of mobility. He still could not move his arms, legs, or neck. He still could not speak. The Hero still did not know what was actually going on, even though he had heard the stories, and every time he has to remember they are about him.

I thought that I would share parts of the rewrite of You’re Not Dead. Please support me on Patreon. Donating $3 or more a month will allow you to see the parts that I have not made available to the public. There are, at time of writing this, two additional parts of the story I have completed.

If you wish to support this piece, but do not wish to fight with Patreon, here is the PayPal link where you can offer what you want with no obligation.

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Writing Update and Patreon News

I know: I dropped so many balls that saying that analogy now has become reminiscent of a gay porno. I apologize, and I hope I am going to make everything better in the next few months!

So as you noticed, the ansP that was published on the first was the first chapter of my book, You’re Not Dead. It was reworked, and I put probably ten or more hours into reworking and rewriting a good portion of it. I am going to be giving the rest of the book the same level of TLC over the next few weeks. The Patreons who pay more than $3 until it is ready will receive the whole work in its redone splendour. The old version is still available for E-Readers, but is not in print any longer. It would have cost me way too much money to just repress, and that does not include re-editing and re-working everything to make it up to the standards seen as decent enough for publishers.

Onto ansP news: I will be publishing chapter two of You’re Not Dead, half because I am too burnt out to write something new right now, half because I am working on something that is going to take me a very long time to get to a point I will be happy with it.

THAT BRINGS ME TO MY SEEMINGLY LAZY PATREON UPDATE!

Martha donated near the end of October. When I asked her whether she would rather a bio on how we know each other or a story about dragons (because her and I don’t have a huge history to go into), she gave me outlines for a fiction she wants in her name.

Initially, I found this task daunting. I was intimidated as to write something for anyone but me, let alone for her. I respect and admire her greatly, and I want to make the ensuring story the best it can be.

Now, that sounds like I am making excuses for not doing things, but really I am putting more time to make sure everything is right. I am going to make her story the next ansP after You’re Not Dead ch.2 comes out in December.

My good flying nun, I am excited.

ANYWAY: Check out the Patreon. Check out the stories I have so far. Let me know of what you think of the new You’re Not Dead rework!

What happens next?

I love being asked that question when it comes to my writing. I don’t know: maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I need to make it more obvious in what I dictate that the point is uncertainty?

In life, you live through events and either never grasp their ramifications, or they go right over your head all together. That is how I write. I never really solve the narrative in the strictest sense. I tend to leave the reader with all the information – all the events – and just come to AN ending.

Is that not what I am supposed to do? Do I do it wrong?

I have been inundated with questions regarding You’re Not Dead (which is fitting because production stopped on the fifth. There are still some copies on Amazon) questioning why I ended it the way I did. The response to that is very simple: it was a reflection on the year I had during the events of that book. The ending is not explicit because I have not found out yet. The only ending I will find is my death.

What I find more interesting was how many people have asked me if the next chapter of Elaine is going to sort out some questions.

Allow me to make this as clear as I can: that was a self-contained story. There is no ‘Part Two’ or happy ribbon to mark it off the ol’ reading list. That was never the point and will never be the point to most short stories I write, I do not see our lives as having an intro, conflict, resolution — or at least not often I know that I, personally, have never been privy to such splendour.

I have run into another issue: Should I stick to my guns for my release schedule of ansP stories, or move it over since I already fucked it up? I am not even asking because I want (no, NEED) to release Hannah’s piece, but I feel like I confused the situation already and I want to fix it. Any thought?

OR WE COULD ALL LOOK AT MY PATREON AND HIT $100 A MONTH SO WE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT AND YOU GET A STORY EVERY MONTH.

Guess what I have been doing?

What a misleading title. It implies that I have been doing something interesting, but, alas, unless you find me rewriting You’re Not Dead interesting, you will feel cheated.

You’re Not Dead is coming up to being released two years ago in July. My contract with Friessen is up, and I am planning on doing a second release with more meat in its bones. I have already fixed two grammar and a continuity error. Both of these items embarrassed me greatly, but filled me with much rage as I had an editor who, apparently, did fuck all.

UPDATE A FEW HOURS BEFORE UPLOAD! I found a form that I misread at the time. Though it does not excuse everything, there were some ideas that I just did not take to heart at the time.

So, yes: there will be more news on that front as it cumulates.

I have also started piecing together my next release. I am planning a series of short stories bound together in one collection. My publicist thinks it a good plan, but I am curious what the general populace thinks?

Also, I know I just said something about it, but I have changed my Patreon already to make it a five dollar donation gets you whatever I am working on. I decided to lower the bar for entry simply because the releases will not be edited.

Interesting news about the week: my brother turns 28 today (the 25th)! Is that not exciting as fuck!? I know this will post a couple of days late (and I will see him before it goes live) so happy belated!

I have also found a better way of doing the “Have You Not HEARD” posts. Every blog I am going to put a song you need in your life. I will also state if the whole album is worth your time, or just that song.

This week, it was a toss-up, but I am going with my favourite music video. Listing by Minus the Bear gets the title simply because it is just so damned cute. Does not help that the song is amazing, and the whole album is a Godsend.
I digress. Jazzy, calm, amazing. Great to drum to, a lot of fun to sing with. Far from my favourite MtB song, but easily in my top ten. Please, listen and enjoy.

A story about a tramp named Oline

I do not think I have already written about this, but if I have: PLEASE STOP ME!

Hahaha… you’re already reading it, so: too late!

When I was in school, suffering and not knowing why, I stayed in the residence on campus. It was okay, I guess, but it was far from interesting. People were (mostly) okay mannered when it came to the kid in the wheelchair, and the tight-nit staff were always fantastic to chat to when we all had time.

One hugely ironic thing I had to deal with was at at floor meeting. We were all gathered into the common room on the flood to discus what we could do as a group for, you know, “getting to know people” shit. Yeah, that’s what it was called!

I digress.

So yes, we were all gathered into this large room to toss out ideas for group activities. I heard tag being mentioned a few times, as well as poker and hide and seek. I was not planning on doing any of this, but it was interesting to hear the general mindset of everyone I would be spending the next eight months to a year with.

The floor co-ordinator rose up triumphantly and said “I was just asking out of formality. We already have started to organize a group trampoline day!”

The room then went very quiet as all eyes set on me and my roommate. He was in a wheelchair, as well, and you could almost hear everyone asking how we would be involved even though no one said it.

The reason this was hilarious, by the way, was because our floor leader-person-whatever was this girl who was just finishing her PhD in sociology specializing in involvement and inter-personal relationships. She only acknowledged my roommate and I when someone spoke up.

“Uh.. what are they supposed to do?”

It was a bit heartless and cold, but the point was sound. Her reccomendation for a trampoline party was without any consideration for anyone who physically could not conform.

She got visibly angry as she finally noticed my roommate and I, did not say anything, then quickly adverted her eyes away from our direction. She spent the rest of the evening pretending we did not exist.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out the irony between what she was sporting educationally and regurgitating verbally. She could not think of a world where someone might not be able to conform to her brilliance.

That really seems to be the issue with western society at large. There is little to no consideration for those who are physically disabled. Sure, there are bylaws and previsions put in place. They are, however, put in place over a world designed for the abled. Far too often have I seen a ramp that goes to an automatic door where the door then swings TOWARDS the person, pushing them back down the ramp.

I realize how stern I sound in that last paragraph, but I am far from angry. I find the intentional blinders put up by society the funniest things ever.

On an unrelated note, my book has gone up in price by one Canadian dollar for the digital copy. I hope you don’t mind. I like making rent.

Price Drop

Hi everyone!

As I have stated (over, and over again) my book is out!

You probably noticed that I had it initially priced at $2.99 CND for digital copies. I am sorry for that: it was a recommended price that I have subsequently fixed.

Now, on Kobo and Kindle, the book is available for 99cents! Softcover copies are already as low as I can make them and still make some sort of profit.

I am still scouring the internet looking for other avenues to put my book for sale. If you know of one, leave a comment below or get hold of me somehow and let me know your idea!