Distant speaking heard; monitor beeping, nurses strolling, wheelchairs whirring.
“I am sorry Mrs. Brown, intoxication, or in non-medical terms, overdose of drugs has led your daughter to fall into a coma. We had to observe her for more than six hours to be sure of her comatose state…”
A few days earlier:
Loud rock music roaring through the walls, smoke trying to escape from every minute hole possible, air so thick with powdery drugs, you could inhale them. She was being dragged by her friends to a local pub, but truly they weren’t her friends. Too shy to make any at college, she spent most of her time in her books. Agatha Christie was one of her favorite authors. After all, she was studying law.
But she forgot the books instantly when a group of ‘cool’ kids asked her whether she could come by to hang out with them. She wasn’t the ‘pierced, black nail paint, always high’ kind of girl. But for once she would like to forget who she was and take a whiff of the life she was missing.
That cost her.
Overloading on alcohol or drugs can cause a comatose state; toxins such as carbon monoxide or lead are mainly the causes of intoxicated coma.
Overdose of drugs. Her ‘friends’ just wanted another student to bully or influence. Lucy was smart enough not to fall for their ploy. But they didn’t let her catch the ploy. Acting sweet to someone comes naturally. It’s a shame not all people have the best interests at their hearts when they’re sweet to people. She felt like she was being accepted and finally had friends. She had already changed her mind about the ‘cool’ kids’ group. Too early.
Her mother worked two shifts to pay her college tuition. Now she had to work three to keep her daughter attached to a dozen machines and to pay for the tubes going in and out of her body.
Those three years were the most difficult for Lucy in her vegetative state. She remembered all, sensed all, stored all, but just couldn’t get her body to react in a voluntary way. Her ‘cool’ friends came to visit her in the first week, guilty because they were unaware that their wickedness would go to such extremes. But as time passed, the guilt turned into something evil in them. They realized she wasn’t going to wake up. Might as well make full use of her helplessness.
They played with her machines, moved her arms and legs displaying a puppet show, criticized and teased her and dressed her up in the most ridiculous outfits… or nothing at all.
All her mom knew, was that she had friends who were ready to look after her when she was busy working. Though weird, her mom believed they had good hearts.
The doctors were no less. They took full payment from her mother, and gave her a substitute medicine which made her twirl her toes but only because it hit her at the nerves. They made her mom believe she was recovering, giving her reason to work harder to pay off the disgraceful doctors. Of course she wasn’t going to wake up due to those low quality medicines, some weren’t even medicines.
Time passed by and her mother started asking questions to the doctors. She didn’t know a lot about medicine, but she did know that with a light coma over her head, her daughter should have been awake months ago. But the doctors had a thousand reasons to arm themselves against her questions. They used the simplest one.
The reason they gave her mother-“She’s too weak and unresponsive to all the expensive medicines, all there’s left to do is hope she’ll wake up one day by herself”
That was strange to her mother. If anything, Lucy was the strongest person she had known. Stronger than her mother.
Even after working three shifts, her mother wasn’t able to pay up the hospital bills. After a year, she shifted her daughter to a local, cheaper hospital. Same medicines but at 80% price she got at the previous hospital.
But that is when the real trouble started. The nurses, mostly male, raped her and in a way no human would ever imagine. The doctors took part too; secretly taking one of her kidneys to make a huge client happy. They also took a part of her liver to generate another one, all without the consent of her mother. Lucy was in such pain all this time, unable to speak, unable to help herself.
Forget rape, imagine someone touching you in the most intimate areas, and you are not tied up, not cloth-mouthed, you are free.
But not really. You-cannot-move! Your body isn’t with you, you can’t fight back. But still, it is with you, you can feel the pain. It is the worst feeling of all: not to have a voice.
All this aside, her mother passed away, with a year’s savings left for Lucy. The hospital was legally bound to take care of Lucy until a year. After which they could decide what would be done to her. They had only one option, to pull her plug out. But Lucy had a year before she would be sent to death for no fault of hers.
But that wasn’t going to be for a long time.
“Let’s change her sheets; we forgot to tube her up. That bitch pissed the whole bed. She’s heavy even.” The nurses were getting ready for their last chore in their check off list before heading home. One of them dropped her down. He laughed hard, the other nurse laughed with him.
The nurses threw her back on the bed, shoved her right side with some pillows so she doesn’t fall off again, and went on for their drinks later.
MCS: Minimal conscious state. The group of Coma patients which have the most chances of waking up due to either wave mapping in the brain with an MRI and inducing activities related to that part of the brain…. Or by a total hit on the head which affects the ‘sleeping’ part of the brain, which wakes it up.
She was hit on her head when she was dropped by that nurse, a specific region; a loud thud woke her up. But she closed her eyes, scared that this was another dream of her vegetative state, too scared to look at reality in its eyes.
Her brain was active only in some regions, enough to keep her alive, and to induce dreams of the minimal things she was grasping through her surroundings in her vegetative state. The dreams were more of nightmares. And they were so much closer to what those people had done to her in reality.
Another moment passed and till then she had already listed down the names of people who had made it difficult. Memorizing every name in her now fully functional brain, she opened her eyes.
She sat up, grasping the moment. But not for long, she changed her dress and headed straight out the door.
Her story begins now….