Delirium Tales — Mr. X

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Not pretty right? Yours truly battling Mr. X. Look at my hands, totally wrapped and restrained. I had a bad habit of trying to tear the various tubes and wires out of myself and also of trying to get up and out of bed. So many times I can remember delusions in which I was struggling to stand but something/someone would never allow it.

Mr. X was the first, most vivid, and most significant person/illusion/hallucination of all that I can recall from my ICU induced delirium state. He revealed himself in written words at first, communicating directly by making writing appear, disappear, and change at will. I would be reading words on a page and suddenly a message would emerge, coalescing from the letters as if by magic. I am going to kill you and all your friends and family was the typical. He would relate specific details of when, how, and where. In addition to his seemingly limitless psychic powers he had agents everywhere, including the nurses who would come from time to time to give me shots or tend to my bandages (in my mind). I did apparently attack several actual (in the real world) nurses who came to tend to me for various reasons which was yet another reason for the hand coverings and restraints.

At first I had no idea who this person was and why he hated me so much. That was slowly revealed through a computer (bedside tv screen/monitor) that I was constantly aware of. Using his psychic abilities he was able to tap directly into the video feed and send me messages and images. He played on an endless loop a powerpoint presentation of what exactly had happened to him. I would be intimately familiar with his tale in short order. I must have “watched” that presentation a hundred times in my mind.

(see my delirium series entry -coming soon- on the winter weather/snow storm sagas for a lot more on the role this monitor/tv played in my various delusions)

As it turns out he sought vengeance for a wrong done to him. As an intern working in my lab he had been terribly burned in an accident, scalded by boiling hot water from a rarely used safety shower that was needed to rinse off a serious chemical spill. He blamed the company and myself personally for his pain and disfigurement. Because of this he was intent on my destruction and seeking to hurt and kill everyone I cared about. The strange thing is he seemed to be based on a real person who had worked in a colleague’s lab, and he was terribly scarred but not from any injury sustained at my workplace but from severe acne. Probably not coincidentally I had another intern shortly before my hospitalization who was burned slightly on the legs by scalding hot media and neglected to use the safety shower which could have prevented much of the damage.

In my mind Mr. X was a cultist, the last remaining survivor of the aum shinrikyo, the Japanese group responsible for the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995 more than two decades ago. In real life the intern from my colleagues lab that I believe served as the template for Mr. X in my delirium was Chinese, a recent graduate of some University in China I no longer remember. I do remember that he seemed an angry young man, bitter, but never stuck me as being potentially dangerous or capable of violence. I always thought his anger most likely stemmed from some mistreatment he no doubt suffered among his peers because of his terrible acne. I knew that in order to stop Mr. X I would have to fight him, if I did not surely I and many of the people I cared the most about would be killed.

I fought him with every means at my disposal. Eventually I was able to make psychic contact with a number of my co-workers and friends some of whom I enlisted to help me in the fight. Many battles we had. Too many to describe but all intricate and detailed and I remember pieces of some or even most. I may eventually publish some of those stories but for now I will only mention one key insight that was of critical importance. I never would have discovered it were it not for the help of some of my engineering colleagues back at the company I worked for at the time. Via my psychic link I arranged several meeting with various engineers I knew had expertise in the areas I felt were needed to help me in my fight. Through a number of brainstorming sessions and a lot of good luck we eventually learned of a weakness in Mr. X’s psychic and stealth technologies. This vulnerability would allow us to locate him at almost anytime as long as he was within audible distance. It turned out that clapping three times loudly and distinctly would cause all his physic powers to fail and he would appear if cloaked. I would use this knowledge and the clapping technique to ultimately defeat Mr. X. My family and friends were saved though a firefighter with my company was killed by a bomb Mr. X had planted on his truck. He also had a grudge against the company firefighting staff as he felt they did not respond quickly enough to his accident.

I have since come to think that what I was interpreting as instantly changing words appearing in front of my eyes was actually the whiteboard in my room. Virtually every hospital uses them to track things like medication dosages and schedules, nurse and doctor shifts, among many other things. They are typically updated many times throughout the day and night. All of those real things, those facts and events from my life were combined with parts of my actual environment of which I was never consciously aware. I also believe that the constantly repeating powerpoint presentation that revealed Mr. X’s sad story over and over again was actually some sort of ever repeating hospital welcome message that played by default on my bedside tv screen/monitor. In both cases my mind mashed the various disparate elements together into a coherent story because that is what minds do I guess. They try to piece together the information at their disposal into a story that makes some sort of sense. Without sense insanity would surely follow.

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