Does Anyone Want to See My Scar?
By Richard E. Noble
Recently I had major surgery for colon cancer. Everything so far has turned out reasonably well. My recuperation is progressing slowly but positively. But I had an experience while in the ICU that was quit devastating. I have never heard anyone tell of having such an experience. I've decided to write about here so that others will be warned.
In the ICU the patients are automatically given pain medication to aid in their recovery. I was told that I was receiving a derivative of morphine.
By my second day in ICU I was experiencing hallucinations - I was seeing strange things with my eyes wide open. I saw massive colonies of ants crawling all over the ceiling tiles. I saw spiders and cockroaches in the lace of the devideing curtains. When I closed my eyes, I was transported to another world. I can only compare it to drawings that I had seen in Dante's Inferno. There were strange demons everywhere. They were pretending to be doctors, nurses and staff. Their faces and shapes would distort and change by the second. When I would open my eyes they would disappear. So I had my choice, I could keep my eyes open and watch the bugs or I could close my eyes and see the demons.
I told this to my wife. I was aware that I was hallucinating. She told the doctors and I think they tried to adjust my medication.
What I was not aware of was that I was having audio hallucinations also. I was hearing conversations that were not taking place.
On one occasion, I heard my wife and her sister talking at the nurses’ station. They were being told that our insurance was no good and that we were not covered. My wife and her sister were debating with the staff.
The next day when my wife and her sister came to visit, I asked them if they got the insurance problem straightened out. They said that there had been no problem and that they had no discussion with anyone to the contrary.
On another occasion, I heard my wife crying outside my room. They had told her that I wasn't going to make it and that she should go into my room and see me before I was gone. My wife was crying and said that she could not face me. I remember calling out and asking her to come in so that I could comfort her.
I next found myself becoming paranoid. Everyone was talking about me behind my back. I even began to suspect my wife of lying to me.
I requested that the pain medicine be shut off. I was told that it would now be administered at my request. As the pain increased I didn't know what to do. I finally called the nurse and asked her to give me something. She returned with a huge hypodermic needle. When I asked her what was in it she said morphine. I told her that I didn't want to become a drug addict. What I really needed was some sleep. Could she please get me a sleeping pill of some sort. She said she would have to call my Doctor. The Doctor recommended Ambien.
With the addition of one Ambien pill to my system, I went completely out of my mind.
The ICU was transformed into a war zone. The staff were all druggies. They were all walking around smoking strange pipes and shooting themselves up with drugs.
I decided that I needed to get out of there. I stripped off all my IVs and paraphernalia and headed for the front door. They captured me and strapped to my bed. They tied me down with old socks and they were shooting me up with everything under the sun.
I told them that I wanted to leave. They said that it was too late for me to leave. Now that I knew what was going on in this ICU, I would have to be killed.
They pulled my bed out to the edge of the floor. I looked down onto a lower floor. Our floor had caved in. I asked them what they were going to do with me. They told me that they were going to light my bed on fire and then push me off the edge of the floor. When I would hit the floor below, my burning bed and body would set off all the oxygen bottles on the first floor and the whole building would then explode.
A moment or two later they set my bed on fire and pushed me off the second floor.
The next thing I remember I opened my eyes and there before me was the smiling face of my loving wife. I told her to pull the curtain open quickly. I expected to see the bombed out remnants of the ICU. Instead I saw a staff and office functioning as usual.
On my chart they put down that I had experienced an allergic reaction to Ambien. But what about the morphine? I have been telling everybody who will listen but nobody seems all that concerned. My wife told me that all the folks visiting and waiting to see the patients in ICU all told her that my experiences were not unusual. I find that very difficult to believe.