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Posts Tagged ‘Morphine Dreams’

Sleepwalking the Dog: More Morphine Dreams

S6302679Drugs, hospital stays, going under the knife. I’ve only ever had that experience three times in my life, and once was when I had my tonsils taken out as a very young child. Frankly it was a lot scarier as an adult. Things go wrong. People go under anesthesia for a simple surgery and there are complications. I’m a horrible patient under the best of times, but when control, everything, ALL OF IT, is taken out of my hands by anesthetists and surgeons, even when it’s for my own good, I wonder how I’ll come out on the other side. I wonder IF I’ll come out on the other side. I distinctly remember waking up in the recovery room after both my surgeries as an adult and my first feeling being an incredible sense of joy. Maybe that was just the drugs, but my first real thought, both times was, ‘I made it!’

There are no dreams under anesthesia or at least I’ve never dreamed. It’s like I’m conscious one second and then for however long the surgeon works on my, I no longer exist. I’m just not there. And frankly recovery afterwards demands too much attention to really consider the thought of where I went while I was somewhere else. Perhaps the anesthetist took ME out of my body and put me in a Mason jar by the side of the operating table until the surgeon was done, and then she stuffed ME back into my flesh.

But if I really was somewhere else, and it wasn’t a Mason jar by the operating table, then where was I? Surely I had to be somewhere. And that begs the next question. Wherever I was, was I there alone? And if not, is it possible that just maybe I didn’t come back alone? Sorry! I’m having a goose bumps moment here. Both times following surgery, I’ve come back to myself wondering if I’m still the same me. There are parts missing, parts repaired, parts bruised and stitched and stapled, BUT that’s just flesh. The first surgery, there was blood – someone else’s blood, transfused into
my body, but surely that’s just flesh too. I was just as gone then as I was this last time, and for a whole lot longer. And it only now occurs to me that it was after that first surgery that the stories began to flow fast and furious, and I couldn’t write them down fast enough. Oh I’d always written, always been good at it, but everything I wrote up until that point felt more like stuff I’d just made up. After … well after that first surgery it was different. Afterwards, wherever the stories came from, more often than not it felt like it wasn’t from me. It felt like someone opened up a place in my unconscious and dumped them into me, and I became the conduit, the scribe, nothing more. Sometimes I was a good scribe. Sometimes I could have been better because the material dumped into the conduit made me uncomfortable, made me squirm, and I didn’t want to write it. But if I didn’t write it, if I didn’t get it right, well the characters haunted my dreams, and they weren’t always very nice about it either.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-black-white-writing-pen-image20156020Strange that it took a simple knee surgery to bring all this stuff back to me, to make me think about where I go, where I’ve been, and what that has to do with how the ideas get in my head. But maybe it’s not so strange at all, since the first surgery was major and all of me was much more taken up with recovery. But so many of the pieces fit together now. Where do I go when I’m not there in my body? Well at least this time, I went to Vegas, where I communed with a big-ass dog, a dark man who was brooding and beautiful in a scary as hell way; and a woman with the most incredible hair I’ve ever seen. Surgery, jet-lag, pain meds, and I find myself sleepwalking that big-ass dog through the streets of Vegas.

Well, actually it’s more like the dog is sleepwalking me. I wake up in the Elara, where I always wake up, and it’s late. It must be long toward morning because some of the brighter lights on the strip have been dimmed, and Vegas is as quiet as it ever gets. It’s the dog licking my face that wakes me. And the next thing I know I’m wrapped in a sheet toga-style and I’m following the dog down the Strip heading toward Caesar’s Palace. I don’t know why I keep following the dog. He’s not my dog, and he clearly doesn’t need me to look out for him. He clearly outweighs me, and his teeth are a lot bigger than mine. But I keep following him. It seems essential that I follow him. The Strip is strangely quiet, and dark, and then I realize it’s because I’m not actually on the Strip any more, but I’m down below it, in some strange tunnel.

I dream of tunnels a lot, so that doesn’t surprise me, and neither does it surprise me that though it’s pitch dark, I can see enough to follow the dog. I notice the smell of ozone, like you smell just before a coming lightening storm, and the fine hairs on my arms bristle. The dog stops, and I’m standing next to him peering out into what looks like a large ballroom. People are dancing to strange music, slow dancing, close and sensual, and my skin prickles all over. Then I realize I’m standing right behind the dark man and the woman with the hair, who are watching the goings on of the dance floor. I’m standing there, and I’m listening.

‘You promised me anonymity when I came here,’ the man says to the woman. There seems to be some sort of breeze coming from somewhere, teasing and caressing her hair and making it dance and sway against her back.

She laughs softly. ‘Surely you don’t think it’s your story I want to her to tell. Your story has been told ad nauseum.’

I can see the man bristle with her words, and I know his pride has just been stung. His response is soft, and I feel it more than hear it. ‘They’ll be telling my story long after you’re gone.’

She laughs again, and I find myself fascinated by the sway and shift of her hair with the movement of her body. I find myself wanting to reach out and touch it. ‘No doubt,’ she says, ‘but nonetheless, it’s not your story I want her to tell.’

At first I think it’s the dog growling, then with a shiver, I realize it’s the man. ‘You bring her here to my realm, where you know damn good and well she doesn’t belong and then you tell me it’s not about me?’

‘She’s a scribe,’ the woman says unperturbed. ‘That means there’s no place that she doesn’t belong, no boundary she can’t cross, and right now she works for me. If I want her to tell your story or the story of your mangy dog, or the story of some reclusive blood sucker across the pond, it’s not your business. You’d do well to remember that.’

I work for her? It is at that moment I realize the woman is talking about me! Suddenly I have the overwhelming urge to turn and run, though I’m not sure my legs will support me any longer. Besides I realize I can’t begin to find my way back. I followed the dog. I feel like my whole body has turned to ice, and I can’t move. I literally can’t move!

For a moment there’s silence. The music stops, but the people on the dance floor don’t seem to notice. They keep swaying and undulating as though they still hear the melody in their heads, and the rising wind I think I hear in the tunnel is only my own efforts to breathe.

‘Who then?’ The man asks at last. ‘Whose story do you want her to write?’

She leans forward and whispers in his ear, and I see his shoulders stiffen and his whole body convulses.

‘Who?’ I ask. ‘How can I know whose story you want me to write if you don’t tell me?’ But the woman doesn’t hear me. Neither of them do. And I’m shocked at the sound of my own voice. I haven’t agreed to write any story for her. Why would I? Why would I do anything for either of them? And yet I have to know! I have to.

‘Goddamn it, if you want me to write a story then tell me who it’s about,’ I shout.

And then I jerk awake as though I’ve just fallen from a great height. My knees hurt like crazy, and I’m trembling and Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bsweating in the hospital bed. My husband is gripping my hand. The look on his face tells me that he’s concerned, that my dreams have bled into the waking world. He’s called the nurse. She takes my temperature and blood pressure, gives
me more pain meds and tells me to get some rest.

After she’s gone, my husband says, ‘you weren’t dreaming about a waterslide that time.’

I shake my head.

‘Was it bad?’ he asks.

‘Just strange. I was sleepwalking the dog,’ I manage just before I plunge back into drugged oblivion.

 

Morphine Dreams

Most of you know by now that I just had surgery on both knees a month ago. You probably saw the ghastly picture I P1010644posted on Facebook while under the influence of some seriously yummy pain meds. Sorry about that. Lots of strange things happen under the influence of strong pain meds, including bizarre dreams. And the thing is that sometimes I wasn’t actually, really asleep … I don’t think. I remember plummeting slo-mo down a water slide in the sunshine, though my husband assures me I never left the hospital bed. I’ve always liked water slides.

In addition to the waking dreams, I had some very strange sleeping dreams as well. I dreamed of walking the Strip in Vegas with both my knees still wrapped and my hospital gown gaping at the back – a thing that fortunately no one noticed in dreams. Not that I’m sure anyone would notice in Vegas anyway. I certainly saw some pretty strange stuff when I was there last spring.

When I was there last spring I was way more jetlagged than I can ever remember being, and there were several occasions when I woke up in the middle of my bed not knowing where I was or how I got there. Of course the disorientation passed quickly and by the time I got to my sisters in Oregon five days later, I was back to sleeping normally. But I don’t recall ever being affected quite so strongly by jet lag.

Vegas is a strange place at the best of times, but seeing it through a haze of jet lag or dreaming it through a haze of pain meds makes it really hard to sort the reality from the dream. I’m bringing up Vegas now, almost a year after the fact because the drugged dreamscape kept taking me back there and kept reminding me of things that happened in my jetlagged state … or at least I think they happened. It’s like the meds sort of nudged me, jogged my memory, bringing back things that I honestly don’t remember. But it was all so clear from my drugged state. I recall every detail, the sun beating down, the smell of dust and sweat and rubbish, the push and shove of people on the strip. And I awoke in my hospital bed as though I had just been there.

One day while I was there, I succumbed to the double-decker bus tour. Not one of my wisest tourist choices. Honestly with the traffic in Vegas, I really do think I could probably have walked the tour route faster. It was still too early in the year to be hot yet, so I sat up in the open upper deck of the bus and listened to the tour guide yammer on about all the glitz and glam and all the misbehaving stars and the conspicuous consumerism while intermittently dozing as we sat in traffic waiting … and waiting. It was when we’d finished the tour of the Strip and were heading in past the wedding chapels to begin the downtown tour, crawling through traffic at a snail’s pace that I startled awake to find myself staring into a vacant lot. The houses all around were hard-done-by adobe, most well past their sell-by date. In another part of town where there was more money, they might have been renovated to be quaint and retro, but here they just looked tired. The empty lot was, no doubt, the garden and yard of such an adobe, with only a stoic adobe wall still fencing in the lot and serving as a bit of shade and shelter from the elements for a half a dozen homeless people.

S6304353While the tour guide answered questions about the filming of the reality television show Pawn Stars, which is filmed in Vegas, my attention was on the vacant lot and one homeless man in particular. Well actually my attention was on the dog that was with him – one of the biggest dogs I’ve ever seen. Surely he was a wolf dog mix, but wow, he was humungous. I noticed all the other people gave the dog and the man a wide berth. And with good reason. The man looked … well in all honesty, he gave me goose bumps. He was tall, broad shouldered. His hair was dark and, like everyone else’s, in need of a cut. He wore fatigues and what looked like biker boots, and I could swear both he and the dog were looking right at me, almost like they were challenging me. Then just as the bus crawled through the green light, he gave me a nod of his head and raised his fingers in what was either half a salute or an attempt at a wave. That I didn’t notice so much as I noticed his smile that made me feel like I was prey, like the dog had just bared his teeth at me. Then, I jerked awake and nearly fell of the seat just as we turned the corner and I craned my neck to see if I’d really seen what I thought I’d seen or if I’d just imagined it.

The tour went on forever. I finally got off and walked a good two miles back down from the north end of the strip and then over to my suite at the Elara. It was late afternoon when I got back to the room. I ordered a sandwich up from room service and sprawled on the bed thinking I’d read for awhile and then go down to do a bit of shopping on the Miracle Mile. I fell asleep almost instantly. It was dusk when I opened my eyes to discover that I couldn’t move. At first I thought room service had come to deliver my sandwich. You know those kinds of dreams where the doorbell rings and you’re on the bed and no matter how hard you try you can’t move. You know that it’s someone important, someone you need to let in and you try to call out to them, try to let them know that you hear them, but you can’t speak, can’t cry out, can’t move. Well that was me.

Finally the knocking at the door went away, and as I lay there in the gloom unable to move, I had that sudden feeling I wasn’t alone. I opened my eyes to find the man with the dog standing at the foot of my bed, but they weren’t alone, There was a woman with them, and though the room was in deep gloom by now, she wore a pair of sunglasses. The dog sniffed my hand, still clutching my Kindle to my chest. God he was a big dog! And I still couldn’t move, or cry out, and it was strange because for the moment at least, I was sure I was dreaming.

‘I don’t want her snooping about,’ the man said. His voice was a deep rumble I could feel down in my belly.

‘She won’t be snooping about. She won’t know the difference and neither will you,’ the woman replied. She had the most amazing hair. It was long and hung in waves and curls down her shoulders and back.

The dog was now licking my hand, and his muzzle was soft. He smelled like the desert.

‘I already know the difference,’ the man said. He snapped his fingers and the dog moved away from the bed back to stand next to him.

For a long time the woman was silent, then she sighed. ‘The choice is not yours to make Jon.’

‘But why me? Why now? Don’t think I don’t know what you did you did in England in the Lake District.’

‘I have my reasons. And I don’t care what you know.’ She came to the side of the bed, took the Kindle out of my hand and laid it on the nightstand. ‘I have my reasons,’ she said again. Than she leaned down and kissed me on the mouth, and her hair fell over my face like a veil, and I think I reached up to stroke it. It was so soft and heavy against my fingers.

When I woke up, it was four in the morning and I was starving. Surely what had happened had only been a dream. I made myself some toast and checked email. Then I worked on the manuscript I was editing. Finally I gave up trying to go back to sleep and went down to the gym for a workout. It was only after I’d showered and was dressing that I noticed a long strand of hair on my pillow. My hair’s long, and I would have thought nothing of it, but it was too long for my hair, and my hair’s straight. Besides the colour was wrong. The colour was like burnished bronze catching the light of the lamp on the bedside table. Surely it had to have belonged to one of the cleaning staff. Surely it had been there when I fell asleep, but I just didn’t notice it.

S6304352Thing is, I remembered only bits and pieces of that last trip to Vegas and that strange jet lagged stupor. I know that when a person’s sleep patterns are messed up, the results can be … well a bit crazy. A lot of what happened I didn’t remember at all until I was given the pain meds after my knee surgery. And now what I remember … well I’m not sure that I want to remember, actually.

I ask that as I share with you the events of that strange time in Vegas over the next few blog episodes that you don’t judge me, that you try to keep an open mind. Certainly I’m trying to. If it was just an interruption in my sleep patterns, then it’s something I hope I don’t experience again. But if it’s something more, then I feel like I really have to know, and frankly writing about it makes me feel a little less crazy and a little more in control. I kept the strand of hair. I don’t know why. And the dog … well I really liked the dog. The man, Jon, and the strange woman in the sunglasses though, they were really scary, even though they didn’t threaten me. I don’t even think they knew I was aware of their presence. Maybe best that way. God! And here’s me blogging about the whole incident. Maybe they won’t notice. Maybe it won’t matter.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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