Foolishly, I caught my finger in a gauge and it started bleeding. It was late at night. I put a bandage and went to bed. At first I really thought nothing of this incident.
The next morning I woke up and my bed was soaked. Woltz! Somehow the cut did not stop bleeding during the night. It bled a lot for such a small wound. But I still thought nothing of this. I cleaned the bed, washed the sheets and went to the shop.
After a while I noticed that something was wrong with my body. The wound looked like it was healing, but it continued to bleed, with no pain at all. This I took as a bad sign. I went home somewhat disturbed. I had used up a whole box of tissues to contain the flow of redness.

I did notice that my co-workers were aware of the situation, but ignored it completely. Any other day, the slightest wound attracts a lot of attention. The story of the incident must be told over and over again.
The next morning, now bleeding stronger, I decided at last to go to the emergency unit.

The hospital was located some 30 minutes from home, but the streets were clogged, so I took a walk. I did not see anything unusual. Only the hospital was formerly called the Ethel Stein Deaconess. Now its name was Stein Bleeding Care Unit. It sounded much like a bloke-joke. But at least it seemed to be the right place for my condition.

To what extent my bleeding problem went I did not know, but it seemed certain that good care was taken for bleeders here. The emergency unit was stuffed with information about wounds, types of blood, blood loss problems, hematology, osmotic pressure and other more arcane topics.
One leaflet I took notice of particularly, by the title: “Innovations in prosthetic blood-menoschesis technologies.”
I´d rather read Newsweek.
Blood was apparently in short supply. The blood-donor room seemed more like a customer-experience company that a hospital. The reception desk of the Unit was a welcome area.

I got directed to a room were many other patients were in waiting. For an emergency unit the mood was very calm and straight-forward. Soon I noticed that all patients well also suffering from minor wounds that would not stop bleeding. A youngster told me: “Today I am going to be fitted for the first time.”
Fitted? Now I demanded to see a nurse. A young lady came and escorted me to a small room. The walls were very white and some pictures of landscapes hung easily.

I asked her about the “fitted” part. She looked at me in amazement, and began to explain in a manner that made me feel like an imbecile. The little machine was prosthesis for the collection of blood from the wound, of course. And I was supposed to call at the Bleeding Care Unit every 3-or-so days, and hand over my effluence.

I told her I did not want a device or return here, I just wanted the bleeding to stop. “Of course, this is impossible, you understand.”
No I didn´t. And I asked more questions, straining her customer care principles. It is not in human nature to be able to close wounds and to stop bleeding, like some reptiles do. “But we have the technology and organization to deal with bleeding.” She announced.

As I soon found out, there is a whole bleeding industry that takes care of our predicament. Special devices are built that can take the form of any part of the body, and collect the trickle of blood for some time, keeping the fluid at body temperature until it is delivered to the blood bank.

I was not willing to use a prosthetic, collect my blood, take it to the hospital and then endure a treatment of 60 minutes to have my blood level adjusted with blood from strangers. I left in despair and tried to call some friends and talk about all this, to no avail, nobody was within reach. The day ended in solitude and doubt. I went home and sat alone in the blue chair by the window.

Oh yes. Consciousness, the last hiding place of humanity and of the soul. And how a day without light can have effects on the idea of wakefulness. The very experience of attentive collaboration with the world. How a windy day can say something about the meaning of destiny. Oh, to be awake and aware now, of all moments. The world had changed, and with it the stability of life. It was easier to die than to live. Just no action and quickness would slip away.
Yes, yes. Life is but a trickle. Time is the riverbed of a life. How just perfect-clear are things when one stops expecting to go on living. How obvious is the futility. The frailty of life.
The waiting is just awful. The waiting.
I could drink. I am thirsty.
Expected to see a road sign or a warning. But no.
Now just the faint colors of twilight.
And the red of painless dreaming and of bleeding.
First Death by Bleeding in Fifty Years. New York. Yesterday night 911was called to the house of a man of about 50 years only to find one of the most gruesome deaths in decades. The man had died of an untreated bleeding wound in his bathtub. It is as yet not known if the man has any next of kin. Neighbors said he worked at a nearby hardware store, and that there was nothing unusual about him, just a loner that minded his business. The bleeding-demise, confirmed by Metro Police this morning, has not taken place in at least 50 years in continental USA. A nurse in New York said that the man had been an outpatient here. He seemed lost and shocked by bleeding. He maintained that blood could coagulate in humans. Reports will be forthcoming.

Find out more about Oscar Howell

Would you like your short story featured on The Vandal? Click here for submission details.

Short Story – Bleeding By Oscar Howell
Tagged on:             

One thought on “Short Story – Bleeding By Oscar Howell

Comments are closed.