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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You’re Not Dead ch.1: The Rude Awakening {ANEWSIN VOL. 4 — Jason Garden}

The Hero awakes from a deep slumber. He is not in his bed. He actually has no clue where he is.

There is an intrusive beeping of monitors and hospital equipment all around him. The room was not black, but it was dark. Lights flashed on machines and noises echoed in the room. He notices a cup of water a few feet from where he lies, and thinks how his mouth feels rather dry. The cool liquid would feel fantastic at this time.

He tries to lift his arms: no luck, for some reason.

He then tries to call out for someone.
Anyone.
He has no voice.

He strives to run out of the room and down whatever hall is in front of him. He wants to flee from the threat of something he does not understand. However, his legs are as lame as his arms.

Confused. Alone. He cries silent tears for what feels like an eternity.

Finally, his mother and father come into frame. Their faces gleaming with joy, tears in the crevices of their faces. This made him cry harder. He tries to ask what happened. He tries to offer some form of condolence. He tries to do pretty much anything to gesture that he is okay.

He is unable. His arms are paralyzed and he is mute.

Defeated, he closes his eyes again and hopes that either everything changes when he awakes. That, or, he never comes to consciousness again.

The Hero awakes from the quick bout of overwhelming reality. He is still confused, but his parents are around him.

They explain how he died.
They explained that he is physically unable to do anything right now.
They show him the tube coming out of the front of his throat his throat and explain that is how is breathing now.
They try to keep their spirits up, but the Hero can see their confidence faltering in their expression.

They explain that something happened. He got sick. He was asleep for a long time. He died. Twice. Now he is back and they were happy. They explained how the medical personnel wanted to pull life support weeks prior but they refused to let them. Then, they explained that life support was pulled anyway, but he did not die after a few hours. They explained that hundreds of people have been through the room to either wish him condolences, or wish him back to life.

The Hero still just wanted a drink of water.

His parents finally try to explain the beginning. Apparently, he contracted some sort of flu and his body reacted by inducing encephalitis.

Encephalitis is where the fluid surrounding the brain collects and crushes the grey matter. In his particular case, it crushed the cerebellum and effected a good portion, if not all, the major motor and health functions. Primarily, those dealing with limb control, nerve reaction, heart rate, and heat regulation. In a way, the Hero was lucky. If it had been the frontal cortex or any of his memory functions, it would have destroyed who he was. Who he is. His memories, personality, and humour would all be lost.

Legally, he was a quadriplegic. He has no ability to move his legs or arms. Even the movement of his neck was very difficult, if not impossible. The Hero was unable to swallow. He dreamed of drinking water, but was then informed that he would most likely choke. Even the movements of his tongue could be fatal.

That is when the Hero noticed all of the metal. He counted four long bits of medical steel jutting from each of his forearms. They punctured on the perfect angles to avoid nerves, so they did not hurt.

Maybe he could not feel them, anyway.

The Hero was not new to the idea of metal piercing flesh. He had received over fifteen body piercings in his life: something he was quite proud of. It was a kind of identity for him. Everyone was the same, but he had shit in his face.

Enter the health care professional. They just came in to check the Hero’s vitals and breathing machine. They were surprised that he was as responsive as he was, and started immediately asking a million questions. That was when the Hero was unable to move his middle finger to gesture them on their way. They left, eventually, and immediately the Hero started silently crying again.

The Hero was an hour from home, laying in Toronto Western Hospital. He remembered that he was somewhat close to people he knew. He wondered if they would know where he was or what state he was in. The door burst open at that point, and Luka ran in.

Luka was the Hero’s greatest and longest friend. She had lived in Toronto for a number of years at this point, and he had attempted to make it out to see her and her dog at least once a week before he wound up in hospital.

He was ecstatic to see her, and tried his best to put a smile and a brave face on. She took one look at him and immediately burst into tears of celebration.

It turns out that she was informed the Hero had died about a month before this day. Then, she discovered that he was alive not a week later: close to death, but also down the road. She had been there most days, talking to the unresponsive body. Wishing him back to reality. She told him over and over again how she couldn’t bare life without him. When he was informed of all of this, he cried again.

He felt pathetic: crying three times in (what he assumed was) one day. He was just so happy to see her.

He was just so happy to be able to see everyone again.

Luka hugged him. He tried as hard as he could to hug back. He tried to call her a fool for thinking he was gone. He tried many things.

Luka was no where near the only visitor that the Hero was happy to see. While in a coma, he had apparently shut down the main waiting room with all of the people clambering to see him for, what they believed to be, the last time.

That is when the Hero had discovered that the idea had gotten around that he died. Many people came to pay their respects, to both him, and his family. When it was reported that he, in fact, did not die: more people came around out of celebration. Benefit concerts that would be held in his memory were simply forgotten due to redundancy.

A great percentage of the people the Hero had interacted with came out to wish him well: to remind him just how much he meant to them.

It was January.

The month was even lonelier than usual. People popped in and out of existence all the time. The Hero would live, for what seemed like days, alone. In reality, it was just a few hours. Time drags on and on when you are in a hospital. Even the sweet embrace of sleep would not save the Hero feeling truly alone. He spent a lot of time imagining fantastical worlds.

In one such day dream; he was a hunter. He would venture out of his holdings to find rare and mystical beasts to kill them. He remembered vividly thanking them before he ate them. He was a decent chef, but he would cringe when biting into the meat he prepared. A cool breeze would float between the sea of green leaves and across his face.

Once, while he slept, he dreamt that he was flying through the skies. Observing the world around him, drifting between trees and hills. He saw valleys that were coated in green grass, clouds as large as he could picture, and mountains that were red and towering. His speed never held much concern, for the air around him was always warm. He never got lost, for there was no destination. On occasion, his arms were massive wings, twice the size probably needed to hold one human. He rarely landed, and simply got sustenance while soaring around in the clouds.

The dreams reminded him a lot of what life was. He felt like life was just a series of events not narrated by anyone or anything. Everything happened by accident. All you could do was learn from an experience and move on.

Then he would wake. It was still a jarring resurrection. It often involved tears and frustration. When the dreams ended, he would have to face a version of reality that he did not want. He wanted to escape into that world that he was just in and get lost in it forever. He knew it would be an end, but that did not bother him. He just did not want to find that end.

The nurses would come in. Check vitals. Talk at him (never to him). Leave the room. This was a fate worse than death, he would think. At least if he was dead.

Oh; at least if he was dead.

Bad days seemed to trivial before. He would forget something important, do something stupid, or say something regretful.

Now, bad days were because his body would not let him do what he wants to do. Now, bad days were because he felt trapped. Now, he could not even escape to his old stand-by of driving for a great distance to avoid life. Before, he could leave if he got upset by someones arrogance or crude depiction of the world. He never saw himself as super intelligent, but he regarded himself as extremely open-minded and he was always willing to do research to elaborate on topics he was uneducated about. He had to accept what was around him. He had to endure the oppressive hate and malice that the world contained.

People pretended to be understanding about his condition, and the Hero could sense this. They would put on a brave face, say things that they thought were politically correct, and carry on with their interpersonal relationships.

The Hero could see through all of this. He knew that people were frightened, that they were curious how this would effect their life. Even his parents, who were nothing but supportive, were concerned about how their life would change. How he changed their life.

It was, after all, his fault.

I thought that I would share the rewrite of You’re Not Dead. Please support me on Patreon.

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.

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.

I talk too much…

This blog post commends my 200th permanent blog post on WordPress! If you are one of those strange individuals who follow my every post, I’m sorry. If you just feel the urge to check in every once-in-a-while: I am also, very sorry.

I kid. I play. Thank you all so much for lending me your eyes as I type out whatever is on my mind.

I know that I have digressed hard from my initial regiment of posting about wheelchair life and my personal condition. It is not from lack of new information, just from me being far too overwhelmed at the incredible pace that everything moves at. I hope that I will have something substantial very soon.

As I have mentioned, the story from Hannah Jordan posts on the first of September. It is fantastic, and I am very excited to share it with you all!

As far as life things go, the biggest news that I have going right now is: I AM STILL ALIVE! Is that not cool?

Speaking of not being dead, You’re Not Dead is no longer in production. It is still available on iTunes, Kindle, Kobo, and Google Play, but nothing physical will be released again. I am sorry if you wanted a copy, but THANK YOU to those who picked one up!

Anyway, I will let you carry on with your day. Have a fantastic one!

Oh: to those keeping track. This marks 8hrs after my first anniversary with my beautiful wife. Also, exciting news: TOMORROW IS HER BIRTHDAY! So, please, leave love for her in comments and on social media.

Books I Read?

In the week before the first short story launches, I thought I would post some of my recommendations for other pieces to read. Now, to not delve into a rabbit hole, I am sticking to one book per author (in cases I love more, I will simply let you know what to read.) and I will also be keeping graphic novels and comic books to myself. There is just simply too many to list, and I do not feel like creating a war around fandoms. I simply do not know enough myself to justify why I would stick to one name or publisher over another. This does not even mention having to dive into the hundreds, if not thousands, of different issues.

1984 by George Orwell
I am going to start this list off with a classic that people have either read, or know out of its impression on the world, as a whole. The description of this horrible world that is too close to the one we live in now is what attracted me to this book. It describes things in our modern world almost too well considering that it was written over 50 years ago. Details are verseral and almost disgusting, but the book always maintains a glimmer of innocence. Please note that I said innocence and not hope. There is little to no hope in the world that is constructed by George Orwell. I love this book.

jPod by Douglas Coupland
Hilarious in the most bizarre way. The book follows a collection of programers at a video game studio based in Vancouver, Canada. With that said, the location does not actually matter all that much, the tale focuses more on the strange, yet relatable, experiences of one member of the tea, n particular.Pot, lesbians, and normality is the bread and butter of this tale, and if that does not even skim the surface of what is in this strange tale.

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk
My favourite book, by far. I cannot go too far into spacifics without giving away parts of the plot, because it is hard to pinpoint what exactly is a spoiler. Maybe it is because I know the ending I am saying that, but it is one of those tales that you can figure everything out in the first 100 pages, if you are really good. Disgustng, beautiful, demented, hilarious: this book has everything. I want to recommend it to people who enjoyed Fight Club, but it belongs in Sci-Fi just as much as any other genre.

Wheel of Time by Brandon Sanderson
Fantasty. Next!

Okay, I will put a little effort into this. Think Lord of the Rings without being so impenetrable. It is a series, but it is good enough to keep reading past the first book, yet light enough to make it feel like you are not wasting braincells on trivial details and non-sense. No offence to LOTR fans, I love those book. I am most saying that if you like LOTR, you should have already read these books. If you did NOT like LOTR, I get it: reading those can feel like a never ending slog to figure everything out. Especially when you finish the main trilogy, find out and read the Hobbit, the realize the Silmarillion exists, then the extended universe created by the games and movies…

***

Oh, there are many more, but none stick out like these. This post was inspired by To the Salt of the Sea. She publises some amazing works and I am a huge fan of her. Show her some love, tell her I sent you.

Also, remember that I am publishing a short story on the first, as well as announcing the next piece. Without saying too much, I can say that it is amazing. As soon as I have the first bit fixed to where we are both happy, I will be posting a sampler for you to see.

NEWS ABOUT YOU’RE NOT DEAD
As I was writing this, I got word that it has been two years since I released my first book! With the contract I signed, physical copies will no longer be pressed as of the fifth of July. Digital copies will always be around.

~PATREON UPDATE AND IMPORTANT QUESTION

I updated the Patreon to include a nifty reward. If you donate $10 a month, you will now be privy to a free PDF of a book in some state, plus your name in the Thank You list at the end of said book.

Of course, this will be a month to month thing, and there will not be a release every month. I do, however, want to get to a point where I can write a novella a month.

To those out of the know, a Novella is roughly 100 pages: a little longer than a short story but shorter than a full novel. I take great pride in my ability to write those so far. I have actually been working on another couple as we speak.

I would also like to announce that I am re-working You’re Not Dead and trying to find a proper publisher. That is not saying anything bad about Friessen Press. Quite the opposite, really. They gave me the confidence to pursue writing on a grander scale. They are self-publication, however. Though they have fantastic tools and decent distribution, it costs far too much to continue on with them.

Now, for the important question: Do you have something that you listen to while doing artistic things? I have been spinning Kevin Drew’s Spirit If… album at almost grotesque amounts. Between that, and Do Make Say Think, I have right to believe that my wife is loosing her mind with the peculiar sounds radiating from my computer.

MEH.