Sunday, February 5, 2017

Found Objects 2

Continued from Found Objects

A tiny hand clutched hers when she came round. The smell and taste of disinfectant in her system and the shine on pale green walls rendered her more confused than ever.  The small ward echoed with beeps and clicks and the beige folds in the curtain separating her bed from another were unfamiliar and threatening, something from a distant memory but she wasn't sure what.

"Hi Grandma, are you poorly?"

The tiny voice was more familiar but not quite recognisable, as were the concerned faces of her son and daughter, towering above her bed, almost hovering as harbingers yet clearly worried. She felt as small as the hand that held hers.

"Hello Alice." Another voice entered the space.

She turned her head to see the young Intern reading from his notes. His face expressionless, his tone monotonous. He turned his attention to the couple beside her bed as the little boy squeezed tighter and smiled at her.

 "She was very lucky," he began, his demeanour almost reprimanding.  "Thankfully a neighbour heard the dog barking and sounded the alarm.  We don't know how long she was unconscious. I'm advised that she was clinically dead but revived by Paramedics at the scene.  As a result, she's a little confused. She has a contusion on her skull and has experienced a cereberovascular event. She's currently also suffering dysphasia,  has paralysis on the left side which may or may not resolve. She also is showing signs of amnesia, probably due to the head trauma."

 The two adults that she barely recognised were nodding in accordance, soaking up his words, assessing his prognosis but to Alice, it looked like they were ashamed. The woman placed her hand over her mouth to muffle her emotions.

"The first few days are crucial," continued the Intern. "She'll be visited by a Speech Pathologist, a Physiotherapist and monitored four-hourly. But you also need to do your part to enable a full recovery."

"She needs to be reminded of who she is and engaged in conversation frequently to help with her articulation. Perhaps you could bring in photographs or objects that are familiar to her and talk about them, what the meant to her, reinforce her memory. Long term memories are generally the first to return, something from her past would be appropriate."

Again the adults nodded in deference to the medico's authority. The Intern patted Alice's arm in a sign of faux empathy and swiftly exited.

"We have to go Mum," the woman said. "Do what the doctor tells you and we'll be back tomorrow, promise."

She looked into the woman's eyes with an inkling of remembrance but wasn't sure who she was. Her daughter? Her daughter-in-law? Some stranger who had mistaken her for a parent?
The man was already heading towards the door without saying a word.

She tried to mouth "Who are you?" but the words spilled out differently and her nonsense "Ninety-nine, father," landed on her daughter's ears and evoked tears.

"Tomorrow Mum. You'll feel a little better tomorrow."

The woman sighed and kissed Alice's forehead.  Alice felt something familiar about her touch and smell. The little hand disengaged and waved as he cornered the bed, his other hand clasped tight by a well dressed woman who did not look back as she disappeared behind the curtain folds.

Alice gazed at the ceiling and a slightly flickering strip light that made her blink more frequently than she had before. The tubes in her nose made her sneeze but she couldn't raise her left arm to stem the spittle.  A nurse entered with a tissue and assisted.

"There you go luv, I'll leave these here for you. Might have a bit of trouble with that left arm so use your right. The physio will be here in a couple of hours. Would you like a cup of tea?"

She nodded, her throat was parched. She tried to say 'Thank you' without adding 'Ninety-nine father," but it didn't work. The nurse seemed unfazed.

"That's alright luv, It'll come with time," and she too slipped behind the folds.

Folds that brought back a first memory. Folds that now reminded her of those drawn slowly across the casket at funerals. Folds that enveloped as it slipped behind into the Chapel crematorium. She couldn't remember where she'd seen them, only that she'd seen them often.

"Here you are luvvy," chirped an orderly as he set down the cup and saucer. He helped her sit up with firm yet gentle arms, plumped up the pillows and offered her a sip through a straw.

"You'll be alright, you're a lucky girl Alice, a very lucky soul. Just a few more moments and you might not be with us here now. Just think, you'll be up and around in no time. You'll probably look at the world a little differently now that you've got a second chance eh?"

Alice, syphoned the luke-warm tea and rejected the plain biscuit. The orderly too, then disappeared behind the folds, leaving her to assess her survival. Her mind was active even if it was a little befuddled, all she could remember was a tattoo she wished she'd had.

Muse 2 - A Little Death is Good for the Soul
Posted for 10th Daughter of Memory - 8th River of Mnemosyne Challenge


  1. How terrible to be trapped inside an old, broken body, seen by those you raised as an inconvenience. She might have been better off with the tattoo.

  2. Hah. Can't link it yet because I have't got a new muse :(

  3. Well written and evokes emotion. (The only think that got to me was "contusion on the skull" because cerebral contusions are bruising of the brain tissue itself). Nice story so far.

  4. Yeah... should've kept going. This could've been a gem.



  5. sad stuff. Probably a bit of that in my future, if we go by family history. Oh well

  6. Fantastic. There's not much I can say in way of critique. It gave me that twinge of anxiety that usually comes at night when I am alone with my thoughts in the darkness.