Death came dancing in on a stick
My friend drove me as i was in extreme pain to Alfred Hospital Emergency. They put me in a coma; I woke up in Intensive Care Unit 4 days later, on fewer machines, not knowing if I was going to live. Reassured, I kept hearing the expression “you were very ill”, verbal code that they thought I would die. Staff were all strangers to me at first.
The staff were magnificent, my friend a pillar of support.
I don’t have memories of the coma, voices or other procedures. I do remember an experience of my life passing. I also remember a time of pain, wanting to die to stop it, actively having to tell myself that there was an end, and a future without pain. I hung on and it happened. I was alive, grateful, appreciative of every day. I drew and wrote: my lifeline.
My kidney injury healed surprisingly swiftly, so Day 10, after 6 days in ICU, I was sent to convalesce with fingers and toes adrenelin burnt and my index finger tip ebony-black dead. On my artist hand. (Later amputated)
With large brush and black paint, the central motif came in one. It was a shock, new, unexpected, shaman-like, fitting as I hadn’t expected Death’s closeness. Slowly the limited colour came. Its theatricality was amusing, surprising, despite a serious experience with continuing aftermath of fear and remembered pain.
It felt right: full of symbols, signs, personal codes and signifiers. I feel honoured that it sang me.