It was the middle of the night – I only knew that because of the darkness – and I remember waking up, not sure where I was. My body felt stiff. The room looked familiar: a large square with one corner blocked out, two doors on the wall opposite where I lay. To the left, several folding closet doors along the length of the wall. To the right, bookshelves terminate at a corner desk at the furthest point away from me in the room. Behind me, a large, uncovered window. It soon became clear, as my eyes adjusted: the guest bedroom at my parents’ house. I had moved out nearly a year prior. In the process of assessing the room, something felt… off… wrong… on the back of my head. The way it scratched on the pillow. Reaching around, I could feel, from just above the neck to ¾ of the way to the top, up the back of my shave-stubble head, a row of stitches, scabby and swollen. Hot. Had I been in an accident? Was I dreaming? Hallucinating? Was any of this real? I must have fallen back asleep, and I remember waking up the next night, in the same bed, in the same room, but I did not remember the day in between. Almost instinctively, I reached around to feel the back of my head. There were no stitches, no scabs, but a long vertical scar on smooth oily skin. A very sensitive pimple too, next to the scar. This had to be a dream; that doesn’t happen overnight. None of this made sense. It had to be a dream. Again, in the middle of the night, this time in what looked like a hospital room. There was an IV in my left arm connected to a monitor: red LED number “235” glowing on its face. My stomach felt tight and shaky; even the slightest movement brought waves of nausea in the room’s acidic, toxic air that seemed to have permeated all the way into my marrow. Bones ached. Do bones have pain receptors? It seems I’d read somewhere, somewhere along the line, that there are no pain receptors in the brain, that the brain itself cannot feel pain, but I was not so sure. I was not so sure of anything. A sloppy stack of yellow notepads sat on the table to the right of the bed, along with several cups of liquid, a half empty bottle of Ruby Red Squirt©, and a couple of books: Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. I’d never been able to finish that one. A doctor’s office exam room. I could feel the cold vinyl of the exam table through my jeans. The doctor came in and began talking, asking questions, without even introducing himself. I had not met him before, but I recognized him from sketches I had drawn in my notepads, not drawn well, cartoonish, but just good enough to be recognizable. He asked me to follow his finger with just my eyes and I complied: left, right, down, up. That hurt. Up hurt. My eyes only went up a little bit before I felt my eyeballs shaking. I found a photograph, a polaroid, obviously me, but fat and bloated, bald. Surreal horror. Standing in front of a wall like a mugshot, leaning heavily on an IV pole. At the top of the pole hung a bag, partially filled with blood and slime, connected with a tube to a stiff piece of – what was it? – plastic? - sticking out of a small hole in my skull. That was almost 30 years ago.