Coma Longer Than Expected [Short Story]

The world is changing so fast. Every morning we wake up it’s not the same any more. Not mentioning a slightly longer sleep…

Coma longer than expected

It was on a Wednesday evening, during the seventh episode of “The Murderers from a Residential Cell”, when a handsome man from the early-reanimation unit fell into a coma, that is, he couldn’t be woken up after the surgery using the usual methods, and a couple of unusual ones, as well. Nurse Janina wanted to call his family but a cell phone in the patient’s locker was turned off and nobody knew the code. The patient slept sweetly, and no one could have suspected that it wasn’t a normal sleep full of wet dreams, but a dangerous coma, which would last longer than expected.

“The patient surely maybe will wake up…” Dr Kaliszewski began to say during the morning rounds three days later, “…in about three days to three years.”
Everyone sighed emphatically sharing the pain.
The head of the ward looked at a young doctor and told him sternly:
“Watch him, so he won’t go into shock when he wakes up.”
“But will he really wake up?” A patient from the bed by the window asked aggressively in a tone of voice full of purposeful grudge towards the health system, because for three months it hasn’t been able to cure him from a simple case of la Boiusset’s flu.

The handsome patient, the whole ward knew his name was Mieczysław, slept like a baby, longer and longer, and as everyone knew time worked to his disadvantage. The people felt sorry for the man. They talked about him when they were at home and on call. Such odd times, that the one who slept, had it the worst. They thought about how he would react when he returned to the world of the awake.

“He may not survive,” said the Patient by the Window, who knew The Sleeper a little, because he had been sharing the room with him for the already mentioned three months. “His life wasn’t going too well. His girlfriend had dumped him, he got fired, his bank card was cancelled and he was evicted. And now they here put him in a coma.”
“Who?” asked the normally silent Patient on the Specialized Life Support System.

The Sleeper woke up during one of the following episodes of “The Murderers”.
“The Murderers?” He asked with a sweetly sleepy voice for which all the women at the New Diseases Hospital would gladly have given an ovum.
Nurse Janina came running first. With the heart pounding in her chest, and a big smile on her face, she put another self-sticking IV in Mieczysław’s arm. She didn’t have the courage to look him straight in the eye.
“Nurse, you seem to have gotten younger since yesterday?” No Longer Sleeping remarked.
“Ah yes, I had a little plastic surgery on my forehead, so it would wrinkle to the left, such is a trend this season, I can’t help it.”
“But it looks great on you. And all this since yesterday?” Mieczysław was honestly surprised. He looked around and noticed that the patients in other beds wouldn’t look him in the eye, either.
“And also an intracheek scar correction, but that’s just purely cosmetic,” Janina added, wanting to talk about herself for as long as possible, or rather, to not talk about That.
“Łukasz,” Mieczysław said towards the window, “is there something I should know?”
“I know nothing, I’m only here with the flu, I don’t know, others can answer, I’m just lying here nicely and watching TV right now,” the Patient by the Window barked under his nose.
“And what’s the date today?” No Longer Sleeping asked suspiciously.
The situation was saved by the young doctor – Kaliszewski. He entered the room happy as a lark, which normally accompanied him when he was happy as one. Now the lark was somewhat tense and you could feel it in the air.
“Hello Mieczysław? And how are we feeling today? Good, I suppose, because sleep’s the best medicine, as the old saying goes, and who cares that it’s banned. Ha! And happy as a lark, I see!”
“And how am I supposed to feel? Good is right. And thank you for your kind words. But… excuse me, if I may make a comment, but I thought you were a dark haired guy, and not a baldie.”
“What can I say, time does that to people. Unfortunately, I’m a victim of a panenergetic diet.”
“I haven’t heard.”
“A totally new thing. And so it happens that I am one of those, coming once in a hundred years, who suffers from side effects. But I’m glad it’s not finger dwarfism, like it happened to one of my doctor friends. But Mieczysław, there is one thing I’d like to talk to you about.”
“I see that you’d like, and I think I know what this is going to be about. I slept longer than I should have.”
Nurse Janina began to silently weep and an invisible tear ran down her corrected intracheek, and a nurse’s aid walking down the corridor with a diffusion vacuum bedpan froze in her steps.
“Something like that,” replied bald Dr Kaliszewski.

No Longer Sleeping took out his cell phone and entered the code.
“Not going to work. The numbers changed to a seventeen-digit code and two phone companies had merged, and everyone’s got new PINs with four symbols, of which two must be letters from “g” to “r” entered in an AZ-Max mode.”
“Aha,” Mieczysław said quietly and the nurse’s aid would have let herself be transferred to an avian disease ward in return for being able to wipe away all the sorrow she saw in No Longer Sleeping’s eyes. “And did anyone asked for me, sent mail, left a contact number?”
“This we unfortunately don’t know. A while ago we changed the internet-phone PBX system to comply with WebTel 4.0.5, because, you know, no sane person would stay with the ancient Web 3.0.”
“Aha,” Mieczysław said quietly, and Janina squeezed his hand, and then stroked it gently without realizing what she was doing, simply because she needed to connect with this poor man.
“I also need to tell you about the mandatory change of ID documents, which you were not able to do before the deadline. It was done to unify both the real and virtual identity, so you could pay taxes either here or there. I’m afraid you will have to pay the administrative penalties. Your cards probably don’t work either, because the size of the reader has changed. And if you had a car, you don’t have a car, because now the fuel comes from the power of the energy circle,” bald Klimaszewski was gaining speed.
“Ah, what the heck, let me finish with it. There are no wheat rolls anymore, because they’re banned, and that newspaper which you still have on your side table, is no longer published, and all other paper ones are gone too. Now it’s only news on screen. And the world of coffee came to an end, because now there is coffee-flavored liquid-like synflex. And the DVD format is gone, too. Only VDV now, and I won’t be able to watch my beloved ‘Long Time Ago on Earth’ anymore.”
Klimaszewski began to cry and other patients, too, and when the head of the ward came and realized what had happened, he just waved his hand with dwarfed fingers.
“So, I woke up in a different world, is that what you want to suggest?” Mieczysław said. Nurse Janina sobbed now openly and from the hallway came the sound of loud and uncontrollable crying of the aide’s and several other nurses.
At that moment, a male voice on the TV interrupted:
“You’ve just watched the twenty seventh episode of The Murderers from a Residential Cell.”
“Twenty weeks?” Mieczysław couldn’t believe it, and his brown eyes got so big the room went half-dark.
“Two,” the Patient on the Specialized Life Support System answered.
“They show them ten at a time,” Łukasz added full of sorrow.
Mieczysław took Janina’s hand and looked her warmly in the eyes, so warmly that quasi-liquid synflex wanted to become real coffee.
“Then we’ll start all over again,” he said and the room got a little bit brighter.

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