Monday, April 28, 2008

suicide

committing suicide

As the man gets home from work, he hears the music playing. It is the soundtrack from The Hours that is playing loudly from his friend's computer. Something must be wrong; his friend never plays music so loudly. On the kitchen counter is a note. It is a farewell note. All the blood drains from the man's extremities and collects in a quivering red pool around his heart. This is the same way that his father left.

He rushes up the stairs to the bedroom. Here is his friend, lying motionlessly on the bed. Next to him are pill boxes and pill bottles, all empty now. He tries to wake his friend, shaking him violently. There is some movement. It is not too late. He grabs a phone and calls an ambulance. He is not weeping, but tears flow freely from his eyes. He can hardly speak, begging his friend not to leave. The only words his friend utters are "Come with me".

He calls the ambulance again. Why are they taking so long to arrive? He is told that they are on their way. He tries to wake his friend again. His breathing is very shallow now, and he does not open his eyes again.

He runs downstairs to stop the music blaring. Going upstairs again, he grabs another phone, his this time, to call a family member or two. The ambulance has still not arrived. He calls them once more. The operator tells him to stop calling, that the ambulance is on its way but that it is stuck in peak hour traffic.

His friend lies curled up on the bed, barely breathing. His hands are as cold as ice. His nose has started to bleed. The man weeps now, quietly, alone again just like the day his father died.

being rescued

Finally the ambulance arrives. Two paramedics work quietly on his friend, asking a question or two. Neighbours, having heard the ambulance, drift into the flat to gawk. It is impossible to gauge the seriousness of the situation from the impassive faces of the paramedics. Having stabilised his friend, they proceed to move him, with considerable difficulty, down the four flights of stairs to the ambulance waiting below. They use a pillow from the bed so that his friend's lolling head does not bang against the sides of the aluminium stretcher.

He travels the short distance to the hospital in the ambulance, holding his friend's cold hand. Once there, the paramedics take his friend to the trauma room. He cannot go with them; instead he has to take care of the paperwork. After that, he waits in the waiting room with other stricken-looking people, clutching the pillow, dirty from having fallen off the stretcher. Family members arrive, bearing funereal faces.

The trauma doctor tells them that there is no apparent physical damage. His friend's major organs are all operating and his brain function seems normal. He has difficulty breathing and he has been connected to a ventilator. The man asks to see his friend and is allowed a minute or two. He finds his friend, completely naked, lying motionless on the operating table. He is surrounded by machines and monitors displaying colourful graphs. A thick cluster of tubes comes from his mouth. There are also tubes coming out of a tiny hole in his chest, stitched clumsily to the skin. Round electrodes are stuck all over and are connected to the monitors with thin wires. His eyes are glazed and half closed. Dried blood has caked in his nostrils. The man kisses his friend on the forehead. A silent tear drips from his eyes onto his friend's cheek and runs onto the black leather of the table.

When he gets home, nosey, "concerned" neighbours ask him stupid questions. Why did his friend do it? Had they been fighting? Even though he is terribly tired, the man cleans up the bedroom, washing the bedclothes. He does not sleep a wink that first night, getting lost in the cold emptiness of the bed. How can he not have noticed the signs that indicated that this terrible storm was approaching? A phrase spoken at his father's funeral is stuck in his mind: he was going to succeed, eventually. At the time, he agreed. Better to just let it happen than to draw out the suffering. Now, however, he realises that he did not know nearly enough to agree with those ignorant words.

He is at the hospital early the next morning. His friend has been moved to an ICU, but there is no change in his condition. Finally, by the afternoon, he starts stirring and opening his eyes. He is confused, but cannot speak due to the tubes in his throat. He passes in and out of sleep. By evening, he has been weaned off the ventilator but can still not speak much because his throat is raw from the tubes that was forced down into his stomach and lungs. He says that he is very sad to find that his plan did not work and that he has been saved. He does not speak about the incident again.

Over the course of the next days, the man's friend heals quickly, physically at least. He has pneumonia, a result of the ventilator tubes, but there is no physical damage to his body. He is transferred to a high care ward and then he is transferred to a general ward where he stays until he is declared mentally and physically well enough to be released.

aftermath

How can the man ever leave his friend alone again? And will those dreadful words prove to be true in the end... will his friend eventually succeed?

Written by I
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