Since emerging from the induced coma, I’ve been able to reflect on the incredible series of hallucinations I experienced during that period, while under SERIOUS pain medication.
One very amusing hallucination involved me being on the sixth floor of the hospital, where I imagined a fully-fledged television production team working on a documentary about amputations after overseas holidays.
One of my friends, who happens to work in the film industry, lightheartedly offered to handle the release forms for the non-existent documentary. Release forms are the documents required to confirm agreement for appearing in a documentary. Reflecting back, we now chuckle at the absurdity of the situation.
Another hallucination transported me to a hospital that also functioned as an ABC Radio station in regional Victoria. In this alternate reality, a nurse played the dual role of a radio station technician.
Throughout this period, I had other visions where I believed I was moved to different temporary hospital wards around Sydney and told a friend we should make a documentary about the staff. (I actually think we should, but that can wait).
There was also the dream where I was in some kind of open space, and someone was buzzing the door, but no one seemed able to open it. “Can one of you open the freaking door” I said in my dream, and maybe out loud.
And there was the moment where I wanted to call a friend, but didn’t have my mobile, so I asked a young person in the dream if I could use theirs. “Oh no, our generation doesn’t use mobile phones anymore”, she said. Yeah, like definitely an hallucination.
Some moments were bizarre and disconcerting, like the fear of “my toxic faeces” causing blockage in the hospital toilet system, or the incident where I imagined being held hostage by a nurse threatening to blow up the building
Though the pain relief during my previous operations (appendix and cyst removal) were significant, this period of sustained hallucination was unlike anything I had experienced before. I later attributed the vividness of my hallucinations to external conversations being absorbed into my unconscious state and then magnified, much like when radio chatter seeps into your dreams while sleeping.
For a few days after awakening from the coma, I clung to the belief that some of these hallucinations were real. It took time to reconcile them with reality.
Later, I wondered whether my mobile phone’s location tracker might validate my experience in Victoria. Unfortunately, the phone was switched off at the time, and I couldn’t fact-check the peculiarities of my hallucinations.
Throughout this whole period Michelle (my niece) told me she couldn’t find my mobile phone. I understand why.