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A Piece of My Mind
March 3, 2015

In the Hands of Another

Author Affiliations
  • 1Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
JAMA. 2015;313(9):899-900. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15002

I awaken suddenly, gasping for oxygen. Terrified, I repeatedly attempt to breathe, but though my muscles draw air in, I cannot satisfy my need. A cold plastic object is placed over my mouth, and a dry breeze begins to blow, providing minimal relief. Above me, formless shapes enter and exit my view in rapid succession. They speak, but I do not understand. Then I notice a new sensation, as though a hot iron has been pressed upon the entirety of my skin. Yet every inch also bristles with energy, like an electric potential prepared for discharge. The burning and the tingling join together in an unstoppable, crushing force, conspiring to compress me into a space no larger than an egg. Frantic, I try to move in the hospital bed, flailing with what little energy I possess. Don’t let it crush me. Please … help. But the shapes above me do not reply.

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