Once upon a time, in a hospital far away, there existed a 13-year-old girl whose life was surrounded by a sphere of mystery and desperation.
The girl’s name was Jodie. The girl was me.
I can’t remember all the details of my history, which is annoying. I’m guessing my memory is patchy because I had intense experiences, permeated by high levels of emotion.
I’ll try to recollect one especially peculiar scene for you…
This scene unfolded during a time when I was debilitated in hospital. My abnormal body had produced an abscess where a jejunostomy tube had been removed from my gut wall. Why did an abscess form? The answer is unknown.
I was lying, supine (as I often did) on my plastic mattress bed, watching TV. It was an average night on the teenager ward at Princess Margaret Hospital. I was reasonably happy because the dressing around my gut ‘hole’ had been fashioned by a skilled nurse. The dressing was secure, so stomach acid wasn’t burning my skin, as it so often did during this particular admission. It was a pretty ordinary hospital stay.
Then average changed and the ordinary got real weird. (Not that I wasn’t already familiar with all sorts of weird…)
Stomach acid began to seep under the expert dressing and sizzle away at my epidermis. The ostomy pouch secured over the hole (for drainage) puffed up with gas. I sensed impending doom.
When weird things happened to my body, as they did on semi-regular occasions, I felt astonished. But this time, I said, ‘Woaaaaah, check this out!’ to my mum who was sitting nearby.
We knew something was quite wrong when the pain started. Mum rushed off for a nurse.
The nurse, who tailed my mum back, loved grotesque human secretions. (Nurses are generally curious, fascinated creatures.) She took the ostomy pouch off. A foreign, disgusting smell filled the air.
What happened next was almost like the alien chest-bursting scene in the movie, Alien (or the rip-off version in Spaceballs). Funny thing was, I didn’t order the daily special.
What erupted out of my gut wasn’t an archetypal alien… But it was green, it was slimy and it was definitely disgusting. My adrenaline level soared. I stared at my tummy, grimacing, as if it were someone else’s bodily dysfunction that I was observing. It bubbled as it exited, like a creature moving of its own accord. The mass discharge happened in a matter of seconds.
Straight after the alien had slimed out of my gut hole, all covered in mucous like a baby – it burst.
The first thing the nurse said was, ‘Coooool!’ All I could say was, ‘FAR OUT!’ My body had produced this. It was surreal to see the abscess on the outside of me, after it had been causing so much trouble inside me.
What followed was a decent clean up effort and animated talk between medical staff. The best thing, after this episode was that I was free, for now, of physical pain. Finally, I had my jejunum back. Now, hydrochloric acid wouldn’t leak out, over my skin and torture me.
I may not have slept so well since The Night of the Alien.