Waking up had never been that difficult. My eyelids felt heavy and sticky. In the glimpses I had been able to witness, I couldn’t really see anything. Besides, they happened every so often, when my body would come back from the induced state the doctors had put me on. I remember opening my eyes wide, right in the middle of the main surgery. After that, I opened them slightly and wasn’t able to see a thing because it was blurry and pitch black. I remember the scent of disinfectant, though.
I did not now how long I stayed in there; it felt like days, maybe weeks. The day I was finally able to properly open my eyes, I was surprised to find myself in a large hospital bed. Of course, I knew all along I had been in a hospital but there was no way I or my insurance could afford to have such a nice room. I turned on my chest and looked to the other side of the room, finding a very large window overlooking… Well, nothing. I was apparently in a very tall building because I could only see clouds.
It rained soon after; at about the same time a nurse came in and checked my pulse and other vital signs. She asked if I was able to sit, so I tried to rise myself and sit on my behind, like people do. But I couldn’t. I felt a jolt of pain electrifying my body. She helped me back to the position I had been before and said she was going to get a doctor and some painkillers. The only one I wanted to see was the medication. I had never been a fan of doctors, especially when they tend to ask too many questions.
Sure enough, a rather large man with a white robe entered the room minutes later and started firing questions. At first, I tried to keep up with him but eventually I stopped answering because he wanted very specific responses that I wasn’t able to answer properly. Besides, he seemed angry somehow, almost yelling at me for not knowing what he was asking. He hurt me a bit when he grabbed my arm to check my blood pressure and then another jolt ran through my body when he checked my backside.
That second instant of pain was enough. I don’t even know how, but I turned around and jumped out of bed, away from him. It hurt, but I didn’t care. I reached the doorway and there I faced him and demanded him to go out of my room. He seemed sort of amused by my demand but I insisted, as some tears started to run down my face. Not only that, something had happened and I was bleeding on the floor, heavily. The nurse ran out to get help and the doctor did the same, not before looking at me as if I was a monster. I wanted to die right then and there.
A group of nurses took care of me. They seemed kind and did a wonderful job at patching me up again. Apparently, one of the stitches had come loose after I walked out of bed. So they had to fix it, giving me more painkillers and even a special medicine to sleep all night. They had intended for me to have something to eat but I seemed far too tired to do that, so they decided to leave that for another moment. I remember sleeping like a baby, having no dreams or pain. Only a great moment of peace.
I woke up the next morning to a face I had never seen before. It was a woman, older than the other nurses, wearing a nice knitted sweater and matching skirt. She seemed kind, at least if her smile was to be believed. She excused herself for being there but told me she had wanted to talk to me for a while and she had decided it was best if she just waited for me to wake up. I felt a little bit weird at the moment, but the arrival of one of the nurses made the room feel a little bit cozier.
After a brief check on my status, the nurse left not before telling me she would bring me some food in a moment. I smiled at her because, obviously, I hadn’t eaten a single piece of food for days or even weeks, only having a liquid pumped into my veins. When I thought of food, I pictured chocolate cake and a good big piece of red meat and a cup of tea with lots of cookies and even a big bowl of vanilla ice cream. Then, I remembered I was in a hospital and realized they weren’t known for great food.
I was left alone with the woman in the sofa. She stood up when the nurse left and asked me how I was feeling. I did not know how to answer the question and she seemed to notice that because she then asked what my favorite movie was. Instantly, I was able to tell her I had many favorites and would never be able to choose only one. She laughed and told me she loved romantic dramas but also science fiction films with a lot of gore. She knew it was a curious mix, but it worked for her.
That silly question got us talking for a whole hour, even after the nurse came back with my food tray. As I had imagined, the food was very bland and not especially appealing but it was something and I ate it all within minutes. The woman, who happened to be a psychiatrist for the hospital, was a very funny person and I have to say I felt safe with her Besides, she seemed intelligent enough not to drill me about what had happened. Obviously, it was her job to know about it and ask me how I was after that ordeal, but she knew exactly how to manage the whole situation.
She came back every day for a week, as I slowly got better. She was just outside the room when another doctor, a kinder one, came in and removed the stitches. It hurt a little but I never felt a jolt of pain again. The man told me that it was all coming up very well and that I could be out of the hospital in a week or even less. That reminded me to ask who was paying for the whole thing but the doctor pretended not to listen to what I said and instead made me remember I had to rest properly.
I asked the psychiatrist too but she authentically did not know who was paying for everything. We had talked about how I had left my home years ago and how I wasn’t in touch with my parents or any of my relatives. Besides, I told her how they had rejected me when I was outed in school and hypothesized that they wouldn’t even look at me if they knew what my life had come to. She asked if I missed them and I confessed sometimes I did. But most times, they weren’t even in my mind.
Two days before my release, a nurse and the psychiatrist joined me for a walk around the hospital. They told me I was going to need a lot of physical therapy to be able to walk normally but that it was almost a given that I would be able to do so in a few months. Of course, the therapy had already been paid but, again, no one seemed aware of who was paying for all of it. And to be honest, I had grown tired of asking. Maybe after it was all in the past, I would be able to properly investigate the whole thing.
The day I was released from the hospital, all the nurses that took care of me came to say goodbye. I cried and they cried too. We had become closer and I felt them as sisters or aunts. My psychiatrist came too, telling me she would be there if I ever wanted to have a word or if I needed something. She even gave me her personal phone number. I thanked them all and went back home, to a small and dirty little apartment in a crappy neighborhood and the reality of having no prospects in life.
The very next day, I got a letter. A written one. Of course, that was highly unusual. The moment I read it, I felt weak and wanted to run away but I didn’t know where. Suddenly, I felt in an open field where I was an easy prey for anyone to take advantage of.
Then, I remembered my psychiatrist’s number. I asked her to meet me and she gave me her address. I arrived there within the hour, crying and in a state I hadn’t been in days. I explained to her the contents of the letter: the revelation of the person that had paid for my hospital expenses. It was him.