I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or in a semi-state of consciousness. One moment I seemed to be reminiscing about the past, and the next moment my awareness shifted. I found myself outside my condo at the front door waiting for Vicky’s arrival; only I wasn’t myself. I didn’t feel connected to the ground. I couldn’t feel my body, my feet, anything. I looked down at my feet and realized the concrete was several inches below me. I moved my feet forward and back again. My body moved forward with the momentum of the swing and then back. I shifted left and then right and slowly swayed a few inches in each direction like a helium balloon.
Before I could process what that meant, Vicky’s car squealed into the driveway. The ambulance pulled in behind her. Forgetting I wasn’t physically there; I moved aside as she reached up to the top of the door frame and felt for the extra key. She quickly unlocked the door and they burst inside. I followed them in. Carlos looked at my motionless body on the bed. He pushed past Vicky and ran to my side. As I watched the concern on their faces, I hated myself for putting them through this. I realized I was now standing next to Carlos with my hand on his shoulder as if to say, I’m sorry, please save me.
I kept my focus on Carlos as he glanced at the empty vodka bottle on the nightstand. Vicky came back from the kitchen holding the empty bottle of sleeping pills. Carlos shook me, but I was unresponsive. He immediately felt for my pulse. I hoped there was still time. Carlos shouted,
“Damn it, Kate, what have you done?”
He checked my vitals and lifted me off the bed and onto the gurney. I had an odd sensation when he lifted me. I was no longer disconnected from my body. I felt his hands on both the “me” that was the observer next to him and the “me” on the bed. I realized I wasn’t dreaming but, instead, I was somehow witnessing my rescue.
“You’ve got to get her back,” Vicky pleaded. “You can, can’t you?” she asked.
That got my attention. My focus was once again on Carlos.
“Her heart has stopped. Sleeping pills work slowly, but any advantage gained is negated when alcohol is in the mix. I’m calling this in,” he said as he pressed his shoulder mic.
“Community Hospital, this is Ambulance 55, Carlos Garza, unresponsive 35-year-old female in cardiac arrest due to a drug overdose. Beginning defibrillation. Standby…”
He opened a small case and removed a defibrillator. It was a small solid silver pen with a thumb depressor at the top. The pen was a huge improvement on the old paddles as the charge was instant and the readings immediate. He placed it over my heart. The results projected onto the wall. Flatline. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the image. He pressed down on the pen. My body on the gurney tensed as the electric shock ran through me, and then all of my muscles relaxed in unison as I fell back on the gurney.
I felt a pulling sensation towards my body.
Carlos checked the reading again. Flatline. He tried a few more times, but then the next reading showed that I had a heartbeat, a steady beat at that. I gave him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. I was comforted by the fact that my hand didn’t pass through him as I imagined a ghost’s hand would. So if not a ghost, what was I? I wasn’t sure if he felt my hand. I could see the relief on Carlos’ face, but then a look of dread. I was still unconscious.
“Dispatch, Carlos Garza. Blood Pressure 116/76. Patient cardiac rhythm restored. The patient remains unresponsive. I am 30 minutes out. Roger that, putting a patch on now.”
I watched Carlos put a patch on my stomach to absorb the toxins from the alcohol and drugs in my system. The patch bought time until the hospital could pump my stomach. I was all too familiar with that patch. It was standard issue for patrol units. I must have used 50-60 my first year as a rookie. Drug overdoses always went to the rookie.
The “me” that was the observer felt the cold patch against my stomach. I focused on the “me” on the gurney. The feeling wasn’t as intense. I wondered if this meant the “me” on the gurney was going to die. If this were an out-of-body experience, would I be able to integrate fully back into my body once I regained consciousness? I lay on my body in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and prayed that the observer me and the physical me on the gurney would become one again.