THE SURGICAL STORY / by Reginald Crump

Evening falls slowly into night.

A nurse enters.

She asks what my pain level is from 1 to 10. This is where I completely understand the number system. I believe I am at 3 or 4. Clearly because the pain killers from the operation hadn't completely warn off.

Not long after she asked I called her back in, to let her know that something was changing and I could feel the pain rising to a 5, 6 or 7. Out of fear of approaching 10, I agreed I should have 2 doses of Percocet.

Now it's clear to me. I'm not interested in 8, 9 or 10. Numbness at this point seemed to be the answer.

Remote in hand, I lay quietly staring at the tv, occasionally switching to other channels to see what I might be missing. 


HGTV it is.

I'm much more interested in seeing tiny homes or horribly ruined or outdated houses being flipped into luxurious, overpriced Mac Daddy/Mama Pads with mind blowing back splash, concrete counter tops and dangerous marble islands that risk anxious kindergarteners running into them head first. "Honey what did I say about roller skating in the house?"

That's a little dark.

But its not as dark as the sensation I start to feel from being on so much medication. My chin dips south toward my right shoulder as my upper eyelashes join the bottom row. A familiar sensation I failed to mention happening the night before. I open my eyes and looked around the room and down to the sides of the bed to see if my bed was in fact floating on a miniature barge and rocking me from side to side. Cradling me in the warmth of a bosom that made everything in the world ok. I was fascinated by this electric bed, vibrating my insides, taking my soul on a psychedelic ride. Topsy turvy'ing around this pristine hospital room.

I shifted from side to side and began to play with the positioning of my head and body and where those positions would send my mind. Ah, this is the dangerous place where many find it challenging to escape. Clutched by the grip of opiates. My head tilts down, relaxing my chin again, dipping southwest of my chest. My tongue softens away from the roof of my mouth. This ultimate bliss, oh so dangerous. Thank the gods and goddesses I'm aware of it. 

It's clear to me now that if someone were looking at me at this moment they would think that I'm asleep. Dozing off.


I'm not asleep at all.

I'm drifting aimlessly in the womb of this trip where everything is ok and only I exist and here I'm safe, nonetheless. Sort of.

Yes, this is the dangerous place.

This is that place that you see on big city corners. The place where someone's brother, sister, mother or father is bent over at the waist, with their eyes softly closed and their head nearing the ground, almost toppling over into the busy street. Still managing to balance in a place that seems not at all humanly possible if you are taking an afternoon nap.

That place where strangers pass you by shaking their head as they hurry into the cross walk, sipping their Venti - mocha - triple shot - soy latte. Caffeinated buzz/drug, on their way to their brand new office chair in a cubicle or tiny room in hopes to land that big deal for the day. Reaching for that white picket fence around that perfectly manicured lawn. That pristine house on the hill surrounded by soft grass that is the absolute perfect shade of green and trees you can get lost in, in the distance.

That not so chic heroin place, where you might slip into losing everything but the clothes you currently have on your back. That place that might lead you to begging for change just to get another hit, or another pill. Just to get another moment like this that gets tougher and tougher to reach as your body gets use to it.

I get it.

I get the importance of monitoring your actual need for a higher dosage.

I get it.

It's clear.

My challenge? To see how long it takes me before I feel real pain.

I open my eyes and lay there staring into space.

I get it.

Knock knock kock...

Someone stands in the cracked doorway, a familiar face, tall, caucasian.

A kind face.

A doctor?

A nurse?

I can't wrap my brain around where I know this person from.

Is it Richmond?, Is it D.C? Is it New York City?

They say, "hi, can you remember me?"

I know the face. Oh so familiar.

Dear god is it Jesus?


Mary is that you?