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    CarlHoliday
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Flight of the Dodo - 21. Chapter 21

The New Zealand delusion continues.

I opened my eyes and looked around. Right off I knew I wasn’t in my bedroom in Raurimu. Then I noticed, once again, I was wearing one of those hospital gowns that are open at the back. Plus, my wrists were, once again, strapped to the bed, but the bed wasn’t a hospital bed. The strange thing was the room, it didn’t look like a hospital room, which made me wonder where I was, but, more importantly, why was I in such a place strapped to a bed that wasn’t a hospital bed while I was wearing a hospital gown. I wondered where Mavis had gotten off to and why she hadn’t come to see me. Then I saw a woman in a light blue jacket over a white blouse and a dark blue skirt walk into the room. From where I was, I couldn’t see what kind of shoes she was wearing, but I assumed she wasn’t barefoot. She picked up a chair by the wall and carried it over to the foot of the bed where she placed it on the floor. She took a somewhat small box from her jacket pocket and placed it on the bed by my feet. She pressed a button on the box and said, “Good morning, Edvard, how are you this morning?”

She looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember where I had seen her. Why she called me Edvard, I had no idea. That sounded kind of like Edward, but that wasn’t my name either. Mavis would know my name, but she wasn’t here and this woman was definitely not Mavis.

“Cat got your tongue this morning?” the woman asked.

I wondered why she said that because it was more than obvious there was no cat in here and I still had a tongue in my mouth. Who was this woman and why was she asking me questions I couldn’t answer?

“Edvard, can you talk today?” the woman asked.

“Um, I think so, but why do you keep calling me Edvard?” I asked. “Do you know where Mavis is? Do you know where I am? Do you know why I’m here? Do you know why my wrists are strapped to the bed?”

“Ah, Mavis, we’re still in that delusion. When was the last time you spoke to her?”

“Let me think about that.”

“Take your time, take all the time you need.”

“We were at the depot in Hastings waiting for the train from Wellington. Mount Tongariro was erupting. We had to take the dirigible here. I think we took a cab from the aerodepot here to the hospital. Yes, we took a cab and Mavis paid the fair. As usual she tipped the driver too much.”

“Do you remember when that was?”

“When? Let me see, no, it seems I have a block on that information.”

“Edvard, I have a problem that needs to be solved and only you can help me solve it.”

“Why do you keep calling me by that name?”

“Because that is your name.”

“No, that isn’t my name.”

“Then what is your name?”

“It’s strange, but I don’t know my name. I’m sure Mavis does. You can ask her what my name is.”

“Okay, Edvard, we’ve tried medications, but this delusion is simply out of control. We simply can’t go on forever. We have two choices in this matter. One, we can send you to one of the state hospitals for an extended stay to see if this delusion will resolve itself, or, two we can try electroconvulsive therapy. Therefore, I’m going to contact your parents and advise them of the situation. Hopefully, they will decide on a course of action. Have a good day.”

The woman picked up her small box off the bed and pushed the button she had pushed earlier. She moved the chair back to where it was before and walked out the door. I wondered if I was ever going to get out of this bed. Then a tall black haired man wearing a white shirt, white pants, and white shoes came into the room.

“So, Edvard, ready to get up for the day?” the man asked.

“Okay.”

“Good, let’s get you unstrapped and then I’ll supervise your shower, shave, and help you get your clothes sorted out for the day. We’ve already served breakfast, but I’m sure the nurses will authorize you to have a little snack.”

The man came over to the bed and unstrapped me. He was the second person today to call me Edvard. Was it possible that really was my name? Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember my last name, if I had one. No, that was silly to think I wouldn’t have a last name. Everybody had last names, but I for some unknown reason couldn’t remember mine. I thought about names as I went into the little toilet and shower room between my room and another that was through a door that the man in white locked.

“Don’t want any interruptions while you’re doing your morning needs,” the man in white said.

“Do you have a name?” I asked.

“I’m Jesse, I take care of the males on this side of the ward during the day.”

“Oh, okay, I guess.”

“Now, you do whatever you need to do with the toilet.”

I looked at Jesse, but it was obvious the man was going to stay. Maybe he was afraid I might try to do something to harm myself. I took care of what was necessary.

“Okay, turn on the water in the shower and get it to a temperature you prefer. There’s soap and shampoo in there for your use.”

The shower had a curtain, but it was clear plastic so Jesse could watch me making certain I didn’t try to harm myself. By the look of the little shower room the only thing I could do to harm myself would be to try to drown by allowing the shower to spray water down my throat and not swallow so the water would go into my lungs. I thought about trying to kill myself in that manner and decided drowning might not be a good idea today. I turned on the water and adjusted the hot and cold valves to achieve a comfortable temperature. I stepped into the shower and set about washing myself all the while trying to ignore the fact that I was being watched.

After the shower, I dried myself with the towel Jesse gave me. Then I went back into my room and used the hospital provided shaving cream and safety razor to remove the bare stubble on my chin and upper lip. I looked at the peach fuzz that was trying to be sideburns and shaved them, too. Then I brushed my teeth with the hospital provided toothpaste and toothbrush. Then I went to the built-in wardrobe for underwear, a light green button-down shirt, khakis, black socks, and my brown wingtips. I put everything on in their own order.

“You’re looking rather snazzy there,” Jesse said.

“Yes, I guess so,” I said.

“A man of few words.”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“Did I hear correctly your doctor is suggesting a little electroshock?”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“You better be awfully sure about that. If you’re not careful, it can do you bad.”

“I don’t know, but I think the people who say they are my parents will make a good decision.”

“Well, come on, let’s get you something to eat.”

I followed Jesse out of the room and down a short hall. We came to a small office with a Dutch door that had the top half open into the room. There was one window from the door to the end of the hall and a bigger window across the front. I could see two nurses sitting at desks inside.

“I woke up Edvard Pedersen and got him bathed,” Jesse said at the door. “Can I get him something to eat, since he missed breakfast?”

“Sure, Jesse, let me see what we’ve got,” one of the nurses said as she stood and went to a small refrigerator. “Oh, good, there’s a sack lunch left over from yesterday. And milk?”

“Mrs. Carmichael wants to know if you want milk,” Jesse said.

“Sure, okay, I guess,” I said.

“He’ll have the milk,” Jesse said.

“He’s rather soft spoken,” Mrs. Carmichael said.

“A man of few words, I speculated earlier,” Jesse said.

“According Dr. Kaiser, she’s going to recommend to his parents for a course of ECT to knock him out of his delusion he’s living in New Zealand with a woman named Mavis,” Mrs. Carmichael said.

“Aotearoa,” I said. “I have a house in Raurimu in the shadow of Mount Tongariro. It is an active volcano. Mavis Fletcher lives with me. We plan on getting married after the baby is born. Do you know where in Aotearoa I’m presently located. Dr. Kaiser seemed to think I’m not in New Zealand. That is the English name for the country where I live, but since I’m Maori and only speak Maori, I must insist on using the Maori name for this country. Are you having trouble understanding me since I only speak Maori?”

“Uh, no, we can understand you perfectly,” Jesse said. “This guy is seriously Looney Tunes. Now he’s speaking a foreign language.”

“At least it’s something everyone understands,” Mrs. Carmichael said. “You keep a close eye on him today. The last thing we need is having him upsetting the ward.”

“You bet, I’m going to stick to him like we’re glued at the hip,” Jesse said. “Okay, Edvard, here’s your snack. Follow me and I’ll take you to a table where you can eat.”

“Sure, okay, I guess,” I said.

I followed Jesse out into the dayroom. At the first table on the right there were three other men dressed in white. Two of them were moving around some small black rectangles with white spots on them as if they were playing some kind of game. The other one seemed to be looking around the room. There were ten other tables in the room where the patients sat. There was one patient, a young man who looked older than me, walking through the tables in a never-ending circle. I heard him talking, but I didn’t understand anything the man said. Then the young man stopped and yelled, “Jesus, almighty Prince of Peace, shit on North Vietnam.”

When he did that, the men in white at the table all looked toward him, but they went back to what they were doing once the young man started talking to himself and resumed his walk through the tables. Eventually, Jesse led me to a table where only one woman patient was sitting. She was old, about Syl’s age. I wondered why I thought that. Who was this Syl? I shook my head as if to clear my mind, but nothing happened, so I looked back at the woman sitting alone at the table. She had brown hair that was cut short like a boy’s, but she definitely wasn’t a boy because she had rather obvious breasts. Syl didn’t have breasts like that. Syl’s breasts were sort of small compared to other women I knew. I shook my head again, but just as before nothing came to mind who this Syl person was.

“Edvard, are you okay?” Jesse asked.

“I don’t know, but I keep thinking of a woman named Syl who I seem to know,” I said. “But if I try to remember this woman, nothing more comes to mind. I wish Mavis was here. She would probably know who this woman is.”

“Gladys, put your knitting down and please move to another table,” Jesse said.

I looked at the woman, but she was only moving her fingers like she was knitting. It was obvious she was as crazy as everyone else here.

“Oh, is he new?” Gladys asked. “Is he from Éire?”

“No, I’m from Aotearoa,” I said.

“Isn’t that down by Tahiti?” Gladys asked.

“No, it is across the Tasman Sea from Australia,” I said.

“A filthy Commonwealthman, what is he doing here polluting our atmosphere?” Gladys asked. “I demand you remove him from my presence. Right now! Do you hear me? Right now! Get this man away from me. Now! Now!”

Gladys jumped up from her chair and climbed over the table. She beat her fists against me. I quickly backed up, but bumped into that man who was walking through the tables. He grabbed me by my right arm and threw me down onto the floor. I rolled into a ball and began to moan from the pain in my left shoulder. Then I started trembling. Then everything went dark.

————

I opened my eyes and looked around the dimly lit room. The light from the hallway was coming in through the open door on the left. Straight ahead light was coming out from under a closed door. Where it went I had no idea. On the right there was a window with frosted glass through which light came between narrow vertical shadows that were spaced about four inches apart across the window. The bed I was in wasn’t the kind generally used in hospitals, which made me wonder where I was. But the more I thought about where I was, the more I began to wonder who I was. It was most disconcerting not knowing who I was or why I was here, wherever here was.

I pushed the blanket down below my waist and in the dim light saw I was wearing light blue pajamas. For a reason I didn’t understand, there seemed to be some familiarity with these pajamas. I looked down at the foot of the bed and saw a somewhat familiar light green terry cloth robe lying on the blanket.

Unexpectedly, the light on the ceiling came on. I looked over at the door to the hallway and saw a man dressed in white clothes.

“Going somewhere, young man?” the man in white asked.

“Um, I think I need to use a toilet,” I said.

“Okay, but, first, since you had anesthesia, I want you to sit up and put your feet on the floor,” the man in white said.

I didn’t know the why of that command, but since that man seemed to be in charge of this place, I did what I was told.

“Do you feel faint?”

“No, but I’m certain I need a toilet.”

“Okay, you may now stand beside the bed. Remain there for a minute. Do you feel faint?”

“No, but I’d better get to a toilet soon.”

I remained there by the bed for only a moment and then walked over to where light was coming out under a door. I grasped the doorknob, turned it, and pulled, but the door didn’t open. I thought for a moment at my predicament of getting in where there was the possibility of a toilet. I still held the doorknob and pulling with as much force as I could exert, but the door wasn’t opening. Something was wrong, so I turned the doorknob in the other direction and pulled. The door remained where it was denying me access.

“Having a problem?” the man in white asked.

“The door won’t open,” I said. “I’m pulling as hard as I can, but the door won’t open. Why won’t the door open?”

“Did you try pushing.”

“Why would I do that?”

“To open the door. Try pushing.”

I didn’t want to disobey the man in white, so I did as I was told and the door opened so quickly it nearly caused me to lose my balance. I stumbled a little to regain my footing and walked into the little room. I saw the toilet behind the door.

“Okay, take care of what you need to do,” the man in white said.

I moved the door enough to do what needed to be done. After I finished, I moved the door so I could go back into my room. Halfway across to my bed I stopped and thought that I might have forgotten something. I turned and saw that the door was still open. Something was wrong, but as hard as I thought, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I wanted to go back to bed and go back to sleep, but the door wasn’t closing even though I was finished using the door.

“Why is the door still open?” I asked. “Why will the door not close? I’m through using the door. Why will the door not return to its normal position?”

“The door doesn’t move of its own accord,” the man in white said.

“Do I have to give the door permission to move to its normal position?”

“The door isn’t alive. It is an inanimate object. It will only move with the assistance of a person. Go to the door and pull it closed.”

I was confused. I had pushed the door to open, so why not push the door to close it. I walked over to the door and stared at the door. I went up to the door and pushed the door, but the opened farther. Then the door on the other side of the toilet and shower room opened and an older man in green and yellow striped pajamas was staring at me.

“Close your door, I need to use the toilet,” the older man said.

I looked at the older man. He had graying brown hair that hung down past his shoulders just like a hippie. I had seen hippies once some place where someone took me. There were lots of hippies smoking pot and doing other evil things. I didn’t like hippies because they were against the war, but what war was that? I couldn’t remember.

“Damn it! If you’re not going to close your door, I’ll close it for you,” the old hippie said as he came into the shower and toilet room. The old hippie put his hands on the door and began pushing it toward me.

“Damn it! Get out of the way so I can close the door,” the old hippie said as he pushed harder on the door.

I stepped back into my room and the door slammed shut with a bang. Then there was a click sound that didn’t make any sense because I had never heard the door make that noise before. I tried to turn the doorknob, it wouldn’t move. I pushed as I had done before, but the door wouldn’t open. Maybe the rules had changed because the old hippie came into the bathroom, I pulled on the door. It wouldn’t move in that direction either. This door was certainly a puzzle. The first time it opened because I pushed it. Then the door closed because the old hippie pushed the door. I smiled because I had finally figured out the mechanism of the door to the shower and toilet room. If I needed to go into the shower and toilet room, all I had to do was push the door open and if I wanted to close the door, all I had to do was knock on the other door and tell the old hippie he was supposed to push the door to close the door. Yes, that was how the door mechanism worked. Or, maybe not. There was something in my mind that was trying to tell me about the doors I had encountered at a time before. Whatever that was its voice was very soft. I tried to concentrate, but then the door made that click sound again. I walked over to it, turned the knob and pulled, but the door wouldn’t open. I pushed the door and it opened. Then I remembered the man in white telling me to pull the door. That instruction didn’t make any sense, but obviously the man in white was in charge here, so I pulled the door until it closed. I released the doorknob and pushed, but the door didn’t open. My previous deduction on how to close the door was incorrect. I didn’t need the old hippie’s assistance in the closing the door. I could do it myself. That soft voice in my head said, “Congratulations, Ed, you figured out the door.”

“Are you going back to bed?” the man in white asked.

“Why should I?” I asked.

“For one thing it’s practically midnight and morning isn’t going to come along for another six hours.”

“But I’m awake.”

“Then get in your bed and think sleepy thoughts. Maybe you’ll go to sleep without knowing what is happening.”

“Before I go back to bed, could you tell me what my name is and where I am right now?”

“Your name is Edvard Pedersen and you are in North Park General Hospital in North Park, Washington, United States of America. Now, get in that bed.”

“Edvard Pedersen, no, that isn’t my name, no, that isn’t my name. You are incorrect. My name is, is, why can’t I remember my name? No, wait, I think my name is Ed. Yes, my name is Ed, not Edvard.”

“Okay, your name is Ed, now go back to bed.”

I thought for a moment, but nothing came into my mind. Since the man in white was in charge here, I went back to the bed and sat down. I was certain that I wasn’t sleepy, but I lay down and pulled the bedcovers over me. The man in white went to the door, turned off the light, and walked out the door. The light from the hallway continued to provide some light in the room and I thought about shutting my eyes and going to sleep, but my mind was still processing what had occurred with the door. I shut my eyes and waited for my mind to finish thinking.

Copyright © 2021 CarlHoliday; All Rights Reserved.
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