Crawling Through A Subway Of Severed Limbs And Carnage

Everyone has their own image of hell. All of us at some point in our lives, have laid in bed at night and wondered at the atrocities and torment that must go on if such a place exists.

After beauty and sunlight, came the torrid fires of hell, scorching my eyelids away like tissue paper. No matter what words I choose to put down in these next few paragraphs; none of them is powerful enough to truly give you a sense of how visceral and destructive to my mind these so-called memories and images were.

To begin, it was little things: the fruit beside the bed, rotted and moving with maggots.

My injured left leg, was stretched until it was long and broken enough to twist around the bottom left wheel, on the special caterpillar bed they had me chained to. When I was wheeled into the subway, the wheel would churn my ankle round and round until eventually the stinking carrion would fall off the rubber like pieces of minced meat: the pain: indescribable

Once I’d managed to free myself from the bed, I’d see my severed leg over the far side of the subway. It would mean I’d have to drag myself through a shallow river of dead blood and rotting limbs in various states of decay. The smell was inexpressible. After what would seem like hours spent in this dark, putrid agony, I’d reach my leg and try to attach it only to realise it was someone else’s. This went on for so many years that all the limbs had turned into bits of raw bone. A femur here a tibia there and then; car headlights would confuse me until I woke, to find the tall Aborigine, stood at the foot of my bed once again. Wearing a chain of skull and cross-bones around his neck. Holding an eight foot wooden staff with the skull of some dead rabbit staked upon the top.

I’d lean over to the right side of the bed, trying to brush the maggot filled grapes aside. It reminded me of a box of marbles: wobbling around as we used to sit on the bus, waiting to go round to Tasha’s house. I’d push them aside and grab the buzzer, attempting to get the nurses attention to get rid of this scary man who had large tombstone teeth, and chanted mumbo jumbo at me whilst shaking his staff over my bed: clear smoking acid would burn through the sheets scorching my body, but then I’d feel my mother’s arm grab me from beneath the mattress, and I’d remember she was stuck inside the bed. I’d scream for someone to help get my mother out of the bed.

My eyes opened. I turned my head to my right. My beautiful mother sat beside me, gently brushing the damp hair from my eyes. “Mish, it’s just the drugs they’ve got you on. You’re fine.”

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The Visit

For the first four days and nights in MIU I was on a ventilator. The only thing I recall as strongly as if it had happened yesterday were the vivid dreams, and they were wonderful.

I was surrounded by radiant flourishes of orange and yellow jets of light, swirling and swooshing all around me as if I had crawled inside a small sun. There was a nourishing warmth: as if your mother had wrapped you in a freshly clean soft blanket that smelt of bluebells and gentleness. Yet this light was not there on its own.

A thousand, maybe ten thousand tiny fluttering entities – I couldn’t tell if they were fire flies, fairies or miniscule cherubs. I didn’t know what name to give to them, but there were many, flitting in and out of my subconscious in droves, all singing in union. “Michelle we love you.” over and over, until their singing changed to words. Words I can never forget, “Michelle the next six months you are going to endure imeasurable pain and suffering. There will be times you will want to leave it all behind. Michelle, listen to us, listen to these words: by the summer, you will be laughing under the lilac tree, and you will once again walk in the sun.”

In my mind those hallucinations have left behind an intense memory. I will never forget how they filled me with such peace. What I do know, is that the second those lights, the fairies and their singing vanished; was the moment I opened my eyes and the first thing I wanted was a gun.

74 Units of Blood and A Mop and Bucket by The Bed.

Just before the National blood transfusion service put a stop to people who had received transfusions themselves from donating blood; I was a blood donor.

I donated blood and then plasma for several years before I had my accident. It never once occurred to me that there would come a day when I would be on the receiving end of this generous act, and would indeed be receiving blood back. Who knows, some of the blood I received in a transfusion may have been my own. Though I have no idea of the shelf life of a unit of freshly donated blood.

It was a few years after the accident that I thought it only right that I begin donating blood once again. It was only when I mentioned to the nurse that I felt that I had slightly cheated the system by the fact all the blood and Plasma I had donated in the past, which had only amounted to somewhere in the region of ten pints. Had in reality gone straight back into my veins on that first night alone, receiving over seventy four units of blood. When the nurse heard this she quickly shot up from her seat beside me and called over the nurse in charge, informing her of my story, to which they both turned to me and insisted that I was just what they were looking for and that I would be a perfect spokesperson for the national blood service. Not that I was any good at public speaking, in fact I hated it. but yes I did have a story to tell, and if it helped convince people to donate blood than I would do everything I could to help.

The reason I had received over seventy four units of blood was because not only had I severed one artery in my leg, but whilst the surgeons were attempting to put my knee cap back where it belonged, as it had somehow become completely detatched from the knee area and was now somewhere in the region of my ankle. They had ‘accidently’ severed the artery where the knee should have been. Not only that, but because I had no external injuries below the knee, arterial blood began to pool in my lower leg causing an effect called Compartment Syndrome, which meant that the surgeons needed to make incisions on either side of my lower leg stop the pressure from building. The trouble being, that I bled and bled.

Back in the Major Injuries Unit, a mop and bucket was used to clear away all the blood that was just flowing onto the floor as more and more bags of blood and plasma were attatched in the hope that eventually my body would start to clot and the wound would begin to seal. It was a very disturbing time for my family and friends. This was the number one concern at the time, if the bleeding didn’t stop soon, my life would be over.

Luckily, after twenty four hours the bleeding did stop, allowing doctors to concentrate on the bigger problems; but at least my cause of death would no longer be from lack of blood. Now the main worry were the internal injuries.

You can see why it was important for me to want to become a blood donor again, afterall, everything I had donated in the past, I had in reality taken back, and then some. So really I have done nothing to help anyone other than myself, and now with the new laws, I can no longer return the favour.

If I Run Away, Maybe I Will Wake Up And It Will Just Have Been A Dream.

My Dad had been eating a pork pie when he had received the dreaded call from Clint that evening. You would never think that a simple Pork Pie could cause such a thump in the ribs reaction. When they arrived home, three days later; they found that same pork pie still lying on the kitchen table, where it had been thrown, half eaten, stale and rigid, reminding them of the terrible nightmare they were living.

I don’t remember much in rescucitation, other than an Anaethetist called Tikka, telling me over and over to keep my eyes open and all I wanted to do was sleep. In the end I think I gave in and sleep won the battle. But not until I had finally got them to acknowledge that yes they were very much aware that I was wearing contact lenses., to which they would reply that this was the least of their worries

Out in the corridor, where my parents waited anxiously, one of several surgeons that had been attending to me would pop out to inform my Mom and Dad of the news. Each time they did, the list of injuries grew bigger: mom found herself scared to the point that would send her running off down the corridor, like a woman being chased by a mad man with a machete. The irony was that she did the exact same thing when she went into labour with me twenty two years earlier. I wonder which experience was more terrifying. I have a feeling she would choose to go through the child birth every single day for the rest of her life, than live one second of those first few weeks when every moment was very nearly a final moment.

The Soundtrack to Our Lives and The Odd Socks!

I love how music can trigger a memory the second you hear the first note of a certain song. You would think that each time I hear Babylons Zoos, Space Man, I would be straight back to that moment: lying face down in the tarmac, with my life flittering away down the gutter. But you’d be suprised; that song doesn’t remind me of anything. It maybe that it hardly ever gets played, but then I hardly ever hear Simply Red’s, Fairground, either, but that song is the trigger.

I wasn’t going to talk about this, but then a good friend mentioned to me the other day; after reading my previous post that contained the Tarot reading, that I had failed to mention the story about the socks. So here it is:

Clint and I were getting ready to go out on that Thursday night; it was when Top of the Pops was still a regular on the BBC, just before Eastenders. Now, the thing to remember is that we were both young and lazy back then, we had a tempremental washing machine and it was always a nightmare to dry anything, especially in the winter.There was a little drying area next door to our flat but nothing ever dried properly and we always ended up with damp smelling clothes. Actually, instead of making excuses, the truth was we just couldnt be bothered. Really, if I think about it , I should have just taken my washing to my parents and maybe I wouldn’t have ended up in the embarrasing predicament that I did. Not that anybody would have noticed at the time.

Neither of us had done any washing for God knows how long and I was looking for a pair of socks, I was wearing leather trousers (I would have died immediately if it hadn’t have been for those trousers) so I wanted some warm socks. It was January after all, and really frosty that night. I couldn’t find any socks in the draws. I checked everywhere then realised they were all waiting to be washed! What was I to do? There was only one option, I had one orange sock and one green sock…

“You’re not wearing those!” Clint exclaimed, disgust etched across his face. Clint is renowed for his wicked witch of the west lip curling scornful expressions. He keeps me entertained for hours when he turns into Peggy Mitchell. ;-D

“What do you expect me to wear? I’m not going barefoot, if someone had done the washing I wouldn’t be in this predicament would I!” I had no choice, ignoring the evil eyed sneer I could sense behind me I begrudgingly put my socks on. Any shame was put to the back of my mind, warmth was my priority. But I did make one more comment. “Just make sure, if I get hit by a bus, you better make sure you remove these socks.” I turned to his majesty, ” could you imagine the embarrasment to be found with odd socks, its worse that to be caught with dirty pants if you ask me.”

I needn’t have worried though, as when it came down to it, both socks were soaked through. I think my Mother said, when they handed my clothes back to her, that the only colour visable on those socks were deep rich red and that they were stiff and solid to the touch accompanied by a strong smell of copper.

Just as were about to leave we decided to wait to see what song TOTPs were going to play out with. It had been Fairground. I sat on the edge of the sofa watching the video and realised I hadn’t eaten, so I opened a plastic bag full of Tangerines my Mom had bought me earlier on in the day, and ate all seven of them. (not that they would have satisfied a flea as a meal) Later on, in the Major Injuries Unit, the Nurses had told my Mom that they had found those Tangerines in my stomach after spending over ten hours in theatre.

 

And So It Was Written; part two…

Clint and myself hadn’t gone near a pack of Tarot cards ever since that fateful night. The deck had been taped in a box and hidden away in the attic of the houses he had lived in. But then, my tutor: Ian Marchant, suggested that it maybe a good idea to go back and look at those cards and include it as a chapter in my book. I was mortified for two reasons: I was terrified that something might happen or be set in motion if we touched or looked at these cards again; I say we, as I wasn’t doing this without Clint. We had both shared that experience and as it had been his feet I had landed upon that night, and his cards we’d used; the wicked side of me thought it was only fair that we shared the burden. 😉 Secondly: I had spent the last sixteen years telling myself that those Tarot cards had sent me such clear and accurate predictions that I had this fear that perhaps I had over exaggerated the entire reading over the years, and now it had manifested into this giant mountain of formidable prophecy that only existed inside my head.

I was wrong. The reading had been even more precise than I could ever have imagined. I had arranged to visit Clint on this particular morning, where we would go over the cards and see if we could recall anything. I was so anxious that night, I didn’t sleep, I just lay awake begging my Angels to protect us both from anything evil if we messed with these objects. I really didn’t want to go near them, and my wish was granted.

I arrived at Clint’s house to discover that no matter how hard he looked he just couldn’t find those cards; even though he had known exactly where they had been placed in the attic. “Don’t worry.” He reassured. He had found the exact same Major Arcana set online. I was so dismayed.

I had chosen seven cards all those years ago and Clint suggested that I just look at them and see if I recognized any of them. He turned the screen towards me and the whole deck was laid out before me, and all seven cards leapt out at me like it had only been yesterday. It had been the pictures; the images had ingrained themselves in my memory so deeply. I pointed them out to Clint and in turn he showed me a notedpad where he had scribbled down the same cards before I had arrived minutes earlier.

My heart raced beneath my ribs as we clicked on each of the cards to read their meanings. Amongst the seven were: Death, The Hangman and The Tower. Only this time, reading them back was even more disturbing as each card drawn had predicted every single thing that had occurred. The image on The Hangman card kept niggling me and I couldn’t understand why. It had meant: a time of limbo, transition and the acceptance of ones new self. Clint suggested it was the six months I had spent in hospital following the accident, but then as the image became clearer to me, I suddenly realised what the card meant. If you turned the image upside down, it displayed a man, balancing on one leg, arms folded, smiling, with a radient glow about his head signifying enlightenment. I couldn’t believe it. I turned to Clint and showed it him the wrong way up.

“Look” I said, “It’s me ten years ago, when I had my leg amputated!”

And So It Was Written; part one…

Before my life went into freefall and chaos, there had been several messages; in fact there had been five: warnings, reassurances and information, each communicated to me in seperate yet strange circumstances.

The first of these circumstances occurred in the Dental Surgery, where I was employed as a Dental Nurse. In the daytime my life was comprised of all the usual routines of going to work and just tootling by, so to speak. The night however, was very different; this was usually spent up Hurst St, like every other gay twenty two year old, with my best friend Clint, doing what the young and restless, usually do: getting ridiculously drunk and up to no good.

It was on a very quiet lunch break at the surgery, when I raised my head to discover a very enigmatic elderly lady, staring across the desk at me with such intense blue eyes; my heart immediately fluttered with a strange recognition, although I hadn’t the faintest idea who this woman was, and was equally baffled as to how she had entered the surgery, when I had personally locked the front door myself. Leaning over the desk she whispered in my ear; each word she spoke, felt as though a gentle wind was blowing fluffy Dandelion seeds inside my head. “Michelle, we are so proud of you. We want you to know, you are much stronger than we ever imagined. You will be magnificent and will exceed all expectations. Don’t you worry, it will all be okay.” As she pulled away it was as if a giant hole appeared in my chest, where non had been before, this overwhelming feeling of loss consumed me and even today, I can remember that sudden emptiness as if I had been abandoned and left standing in the cold.

That had been the first message; the second, was a most disturbing tarot reading that Clint had read for me one week before my skull had come crashing down onto the cold concrete of the central reservation on the night of January 18th 1996.

Stumbling Within White Feathers

The moment you get hit by a speeding car and thrown so many feet in the air, is the moment when life as you know it, is demolished into a thousand tiny pieces. With ribs that were only good for kindling and a pelvis like a nine hundred piece jigsaw puzzle, Humpty Dumpty had nothing on me. I was broken, and as thick, frothy arterial blood began to clog the nearby drains of the gutter on that central reservation. I knew I was in deep trouble.

Dried leaves and copper smelling fluid turned my long curly hair into a swamp of sinew and death. Blood flooded into my eyes from a small head wound above my left eye brow, I say small, as compared to the rest of my injuries, this was but a mere paper cut. But now tell me, what are the chances? What are the chances that there just so happened to be a surgeon walking past that bus stop where I lay crumpled and oozing life itself onto the wet concrete outside the Barton Arms pub, as the shrieking tones of Babylon Zoo’s, Space Man, crooned out into the cold January night air? I think we all know, the chance of that occurring was slim, but there she was, just in time to stop my rich B positive blood from gushing out leaving me entirely empty and out of juice. Who was she? I’ll never know, nobody ever knew, yet there she was, in the right place at the right time. I would have died way before the ambulance arrived that night but because of her I’m here to tell you all of it and more.