by AJ Worsley ’22
I’ve been here for about six…ish days now. It’s dreary and anxiety inducing. My mother always told me that hospitals should be considered a safe place because if anything were to go wrong with your health, who’s going to address it faster than doctors in a hospital? Better to have a heart attack in a hospital bed than your actual bed. But it wasn’t. I’ve been here for sixish days and I barely see any nurses stop by. They swing by my room less and less; they’re no longer concerned about me—at least, that’s how it seems. Surely they’re busy tending to other patients who are in more dire need of their attention. I am just lonely.
As bizarre as it sounds, I can’t even remember why I am here. Anytime I ask someone in scrubs why I have to stay here, they express a look of concern, type something really fast into their chart, and proceed to say, “We’re just monitoring a few things, you should be out of here in no time.” Then, another day passes.
Eventually one of the nurses communicates to me that I came in for an extreme fever of 102.2 and no matter what they have done to try and lower the fever, nothing has worked. No amount of liquid hydration, ibuprofen, or cooling cloths lowered the fever. Ironically, it seems the more efforts we make to lower the fever, the more it actually rises. I came in with a 102.2 and fiveish days later I was up to a 103.8. I know why they are keeping me here now. The fever is gradually but steadily rising. As it turns out, they are monitoring my pulse and blood pressure to find out why it is rising. The memory loss is a direct result of the high fever. However, my body reminds me why I’m here just after the nurse does. The hot flash comes and won’t go away. This causes a coughing fit. I can’t sit comfortably in bed. The sheets touching my skin make me even more warm. One of the nurses comes in to check my temperature.
“Open your mouth.” I open it.
A minute passes by. The thermometer reads 105.7.
It’s rising faster. The nurse exits the room.
I assume the nurse is going to get something or someone to help me, but I am once again left alone with my thoughts. Time passes and the sun goes down, but there is still plenty of heat in my body. I watch outside the door of my room. People in scrubs and pure white lab coats down to the midpoint of their thighs walk by my room. One after another, not a single person peers into my room.
“H-hey!” I yell out, muffled by the sound of their footsteps.
“Hello!” Louder than the last time, but they continue walking.
“HEY!” I scream. Nothing. Staring at the alert device on my bed, I press the nurse call button to urge them into my room. I smile, assuming that this has to work, but to no avail, I remain unheard.
Why are they ignoring me? I feel like I’m dying and they’re just walking right by me! Maybe I already am dead and they’re walking by me because they can’t save me…
Sweat tickles my upper lip and I lick it away. I close my eyes and try to calm down. Pleading is effortless and it is wasting the little energy I have left.
I get up and walk slowly out of my room and towards the nurse’s station, where they will meet with me face to face, unable to ignore me. Without hesitation I start screaming, pushing a nearby cart down the hall, which I eventually hear bang into the wall as I wipe the counter of the nurses’ office clear of any paperwork.
“SIR!” a nurse yells at me.
“Oh, why hello! You mean to tell me you see me? DO YOU HEAR ME?”
“Yes, we hear—”
“I AM DYING AND NONE OF YOU CARE,” I plead. “YOU ONLY NOTICE ME NOW BECAUSE I’M BEING DESTRUCTIVE.”
A needle enters the area near my neck. A sedative.
A voice calls out “Earth, time of death—”
No, I’m not dead, I’m alive, how else would I be hearing you? No, no, no, no, I’m not dead! You can’t call time of death for a man who is conscious and coherent! I’m alive! And if I’m not, it’s your fault! You all ignored me every time I tried to ask for help! You killed me! There’s blood on your hands!