One year. 100 articles. So we're having a Reader's Party. Come along to Upsidecrown.
13 November 2000
I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes-
Started as a rash, but one which moved into the skin rather than out. Little red bumps which turned into blisters which then vanished. Until I saw that the bumps were still there, but under a layer of tissue; still soft, still hurting but not as visible. The next morning, and one application of hydrocortisone later, my skin was smooth and soft, but now there was an aching in my joints. In my bones.
End of the week, and it was crutches for me. The damn thing had moved into my marrow; down past the subcutaneous layer and through the adipose tissue. And stupidly enough, the pain had gone, but weak I was and tired too. Standing up wasn't going to happen and I fell down like sticks when I tried. Bones now made of soft Brighton rock and wouldn't support my weight. Soon after, my arms went too, though now bound in wide duct tape to give them extra strength. Seems to work; though I can't leave my bed, I can reach my water glass in the night when the dreams have passed.
-you drive me crazy, I just can't sleep-
Yes, tired, but can't do anything with it. Sleep doesn't arrive at night until late, and even before the itching happened there were problems in getting unconscious. I'd lie awake and look at the lines of the wallpaper around my bed and the pictures on the wall. When the streetlights went back from yellow to red as the light came, I'd have had maybe a two hour respite from the lines, but not much more. And this wearied me more than it maybe otherwise would have; seeing those vertical stripes for six straight hours in the dark maybe wouldn't be so boring if there was the prospect of something to do in the morning. But being bedbound (legs and arms still in only minor function), I knew that all I had to look forward to were more stripes but in daylight.
The itching, like I said; after a few days of being bedbound a strange feeling in my upper body. Not like the aches of before or even the initial rash, but something further in me. Maybe not even itching, more of a tickling; "Someone running a feather down inside my veins" was how I described it to the nurse and she wouldn't help me out of bed after that. When I ate (not much, I can't hold the spoon for the soup) I could feel it going down the past the tickle, each mouthful of Cream of Tomato being brushed by the feathers. Not fucking pleasant.
It seemed to condense. At first, a big sphere of flesh inside my body was being harassed by the damn feather holder, but this shrunk and the intensity heightened. Now it was a frisky gerbil spinning in its wheel in my chest and stopping me kipping.
-something deep inside I can feel but I can't touch-
It knotted in my heart. Stopped breathing for seven minutes when the nurse and her assistant were bashing on my breastbone to try and bring me back again; even that didn't dislodge the bastard rodent. Still twitching away, no amount of movement or hitting getting any type of response. I ate black pepper and chillies from my prostrate position to try and bring on a coughing fit to bring the thing up.
Then it moved. Inside my heart.
Didn't rip its way in there, or even slide through a split in a seam. Before I'd eaten my tea - Cream of Chicken - it was wrapped around the pulsing, but after tea it was in it. Beating away. Hamster bongo drums are us. Or more specifically, me, as I haven't heard of anyone else with this type of thing. The nurse as mentioned gave me funny looks when I tried to explain the symptoms and judging by the lack of medication and care, I really don't think that she understands. She didn't believe that there was anything wrong at all but now. She does now.
-open your heart to me, darlin'-
If you are feeling squeamish, or if you've just eaten, then I wouldn't recommend that you carry on with this. But this is the last stretch and I promise that I'll stop soon. Quite simply, my heart came out of my chest. Burst out really, shades of "Alien" and just as bloody. Unlike John Hurt's mishaps though, my little pumping twitching organ didn't peg it off down the stairs and out to the shop. It bounced back really, attached by tendons or goo or something. Acres of gore dripping down my body and onto the carpet, most of it sinking in but the clots staying on top. And it didn't hurt; when she fainted and decked herself on the wardrobe door, the nurse probably was in more pain than me. But by then I think all nerve endings had been killed off, and several months of no sleep and liquid lunches had reduced my being to eyes, thin muscle and skin.
Cleaned up the mess as much as could be, but decided that the heart couldn't be pushed back inside, so the skin around it was flayed back ("gives it more room") and stitched; see the opening pages of "The Doll's House" to see where the surgeons got that idea from, fucking would-be goths. Put me in a giant glass tank at first but got scared by the lawsuits from Hirst and Morris (independently, incidentally) so it's the velvet cushions in the path lab for me. Free food, free books, the radio always a degree or two from Heart FM.
I don't mind the doctors on their own, or even in groups. What's pissing me off royally though is the doctors' and medics' other halves that they bring in to gawp. Standing there, holding hands, whispering. Such a fucking cliché.
-that's how I feel for you-
-my heart is yours-
-for you I'd bleed myself dry-