I’m returning to the hospital now and picking up where I left off with what feels like many posts ago now. Sorry for the confusion. I can’t promise I won’t do it again, the skipping around, but I’ll always let you know when I’m leading you into confusion.

I was given showers once a week while I was in the burn unit. This isn’t your average shower. It’s a burn shower which means you’re placed on a stainless steel gurney and wheeled to a large sterile room where there are spigots hanging from the ceiling ready with a plan and purpose. It was determined that these showers would be excruciatingly painful for me. I had many open wounds, grafts that were healing, so I was given a drug called ketamine. Ketamine is known as a dissociative anesthetic because it can make a person feel a sense of detachment, as if their mind is separated from their body. I was usually given enough of this drug to knock me out.

There was a time where I came to during the shower.

I can’t see anything, but I can hear them. My doctor, my nurses. They’re discussing my central line.

“She needs a new one. We’ll take out this one and put in a new line.”

I can hear him. My doctor. And feel their hands. I try to blink, to open my eyes. I can’t. We must be in the shower. I am unable to distinguish the nurses voices. I know there’s more than one, but somehow they have merged into one voice, one nurse. I can’t move, I can’t move. My eyes won’t open. I concentrate and will my hands to move, to signal that I’m here, that I can hear them. I’m short of breath. I can’t move. I can hear my doctor. I can feel the nurse’s hands. I’m awake.

“Her pulse is climbing.”

“She needs oxygen.”

“What’s going on?”

“Give her oxygen.”

I want to speak, to open my mouth.


When I come to properly and realize that what had taken place wasn’t a dream or a gone sideways morphine trip I groggily tell Marie, who was the first person to come into my room and happened to be the head nurse, I was awake during the shower and paralyzed.

It never happened again.

9 thoughts on “frozen

  1. Intense Guy


    Being paralysed and but conscious would be an absolute nightmare.

    I'm glad it didn't happen again – it happened one time too many.

  2. amisare waswerebeen

    I caught up on the last two posts. This sounds so surreal. I can't imagine being in the center of it. So glad you made it through this.

  3. Jordans 7

    What a great blog! It's a pity that i can't find your rrs address. If you can offer rrs subscription service, i can track your blog easier!
    By Jordans 7

  4. Linda Sue

    That particular horror- told so well, so real, I had to walk around the house to shake it…Ketamine- must remember that one! Well written Heidi!

  5. Kate Coveny Hood

    This is one of my biggest fears about hospitals and surgery. When I was little I had to have several teeth pulled and the Twilight I was given kept me awake while paralyzed. All I could do was watch and scream. I can't even imagine what you went though…just awful.

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