It all happened up in Vaasa. For those of you unaware, Vaasa is a wide part in the road in eastern Finland and it’s well known around the world for absolutely nothing at all. Anyone who actually does know it falls into five certain categories (based on polls of 2006): 1) they were forced at gunpoint to go to Vaasa (25%), 2) they were stranded there by pirates (25%), 3) they were left there to die (25%), 4) they have absolutely no idea whatsoever (24%), or 5) they were there to visit someone in one of the above categories (1%). Thankfully, I was of the last group.
Traveling in style, I called my attorney and we booked a train ride. When I say he is my attorney, that’s because he was the brains of the operation. And when I say I am his customer, that’s because I was the one buying the whiskey, which I did. Together, we were both the ones drinking it, which we did.
The train ride went as most do, at least for the first half of it. I don’t remember the rest, nor do I remember getting off in Vaasa, going to my friend’s place, or anything else until ten hours after I started the journey. My optimism will assume, as always, that this means the day was perfectly wonderful and my conscience, as always, will not give a shit whether that is true. I suppose one could ask the natives of Vaasa what really happened but that would require deciphering their primordial language and I suppose one just doesn’t have the time. So, perhaps I shall start from where I do remember.
B • T • S • B
I am lying in a hospital bed and vomiting. All of my mental and physical clarity whatsoever is extremely off kilter. As I puke onto the floor, I notice other matching spots on my shirt, the pillow, the bed. These spots are most likely my creations. I can barely turn my head and make out some people who look like doctors and/or nurses. There’s about three in all, I think, and one, the leader, I assume, is speaking to me. Despite my condition, I am still startlingly aware that she believes I am able to hear, understand, and even care what she is saying. This is amazing. Does she not see the vital fluids fleeing my innards? Shouldn’t their escape be job number one? As if this weren’t enough to distort my views of her as a doctor (and rational living creature, in general), she orders one of her orderlies to give me a cup to throw up into. There are gallons of vomit on the floor, gallons on the bed, and gallons more coming out of my mouth and she gets someone else to give me a cup. My gaze almost crushed the thing. Suffice it to say that I realized my intense terrible physical condition was not the only thing I had to worry about. But it was the first. And on that note, I went directly to sleep.
When I woke up, I had to puke again. But this time I had proper warning, so I decided to find the bathroom. Whether or not that person in a lab coat had informed me of the bathroom’s location, I did not know. She could have informed me that they had given me a sex operation and I wouldn’t have known. At least not until I found the bathroom, that is. But, much to my good luck, the bathroom was the first door I tried. I walked in, knelt down, and proceeded to praise the porcelain immensely. At that time, it was unarguably the most important object in the world. After this, I decided the smartest thing to do would be to go straight back to my bed to pass out again. So I did.
The third and final time I was awoken at this wonderful establishment, of which I’m sure its employees would have me call a hospital, was by a nurse. He informed me that it was 7:30 in the morning and I had to leave. I, in turn, threw up. He then told me to go. I asked him if he knew where my shoes, phone, wallet, memory, will to live, etc. might be. He gave me my passport, some shower caps to put on my feet, and told me to go. I figured this was about the extent of good will offered to patients of the Vaasa “hospital” and decided that it was, indeed, time for me to leave. And fast.
I got into a taxi and made my way back to R. Duke’s place, feeling better with every foot that passed between me and that morgue I had just left. When I arrived, my attorney answered the door, said “I thought it might be you”, and went back to sleep. He is forever charming. I thought sleeping would be a very good idea at this particular time so I went and found Duke’s bed, which, ironically, held Duke, who was either heavily passed out, dead, or both, judging by his lack of movement and half-opened eyes. Any of those three states seemed very desirable to me at the time, and I laid down hoping he was contagious.
He was not and I spent the entire day waking up every two hours to vomit. It was not exactly the best day I’ve ever had, but what do you expect? I was in Vaasa, remember.
The following day I enjoyed the worst train ride ever had by a person leaving Vaasa. I made it to Helsinki and decided that the wisest thing for me to do would be to go straight to sleep until I felt at least somewhat coherent.This did not happen and after two days in the city I remembered the pleasurable fact that Helsinki has what general, cognitive Homo sapiens like to call “hospitals”. This was pleasurable because it was time to go. Thither I went.
So, in the middle of the night (my usual time for visiting health places, in case you haven’t noticed), I arrived at the hospital in Helsinki and informed them my head hurt so bad that I wasn’t able to sleep, not even on numerous pain killers. My girlfriend was there too and she informed them that the real reason I was in the hospital was not the pain in my head but the fact that I wasn’t able to sleep. And that she had come along because this fact worried her greatly.
Now, enter a doctor. Seeing that I was 1) at least somewhat coherent and/or conversationally capable and 2) that I was not throwing up like my life depended on it, he asked me a few questions, took a few tests, ran a CT scan, and basically did everything a doctor should have done to a patient in my situation even though it was four in the morning and he could have cared less if I passed out, died, or both. He also informed me that Vaasa just received the technology of stitches and that was why they failed to do any of these other routine medical examinations. Then he asked me if it had hurt when they put the leeches on me in Vaasa.
It wasn’t long before the routinely normal, ordinary, custom, and average medical tests proved the contusions on my brain and I was sent to stay the night in the ward. So, they did what any great hospital would have done: they drugged me up and threw me in a wheelchair. From there I knew it was definitely time to go straight to sleep. So I did.
B • T • S • B
Let me tell you a little something about the room on the first floor of the east building of Maria Hospital. There are twenty people there and the average age is 107. Only two people were under the age of five score and ten. And we return to our story.
I was the first of these lucky humans younger than a century. The other was lying directly across the room from me. She was about forty, judging by her cough, a pneumonic clamor that sounded like the collection of forty coughs from forty mine workers from the 1840’s. The cough certainly wasn’t killing her, so I can only assume that it saved her own brain from self-annihilation because of the real reason she was in the hospital: her voice.
It started with the phone calls. She searched her cell phone calling every number she had, asking where they were, why, she’s in the hospital, and then going into some sort of scam the hospital was apparently pulling on her. The fossil in the bed next to her wasn’t having this and told her to shut up. This worked for a second. Then she started receiving phone calls on the hospital phone next to her. Yes, on the “last-minute-I’m-about-to-die” phone, she was taking calls. She actually had other people calling her. All this started at six a.m. and went on into the late, late night. It more than sufficiently drove me stark, raving mad. I wasn’t in the hospital to rest my head; I was there to test my head. I was there to see if it could still handle all the annoying things I would have to deal with on a daily basis. But here, I was dealing with them at one time in the form of one person; a person that I was sure must be some sort of robot. I now decided exactly that it was most certainly time to go right to sleep. So I did.
The next day was depressingly similar. But two things out of the ordinary happened. First, I was told by my doctor that I had conclusions on my brain. This puzzled me, but I figured that, due to the contusions on my brain, I had better not think about it too much. Second, I met the greatest hospital employee in the history of the world. He was a good man. He worked the evening shift. He came to ask me how I was doing. And then he made himself forever awesome; he gave me ear plugs. Jukka Kornilow, you are the sole reason that my brain did not completely melt; that my amygdala did not take over and destroy everything in its path, starting with that robot from the eighth level. I cannot thank you enough.
So, I was eventually released back into the wild. Whether they cared to stop treating me or just stopped caring to treat me, I’ll never know. What I do know is that when I wake up, my brain feels like scrambled eggs. When I think about smoking a cigarette, I get sick. And most importantly, Finland should really inform the people of Vaasa about things like modern medicine, evolution, and gravity.