The struggle was real for him but he fought courageously until he won. He crept in slowly back to life but everything was numb and dark. Around him were sounds of beeping machines and alternating voices which he could not recall.
His spirit was so exhausted that he couldn’t tell for how long he had slept; but he was certain that this had been his longest timeout. The machines began to alternate their beeping tones as he began to force his breath in and out. He tried even harder but still something was also fighting to regulate his intake of the precious breath of life, and to his surprise it was even more difficult to open his eyes. As a survivor he kept on pressing hard until he forced them to open and he was met with a sudden flash. Immediately, his shut his eyes so hard and held back his breath and the machines started alternating their beep tones.
Slowly, voices started building up around him and they were all uttering different things he could not understand. The man took yet a deep breath and tried to keep calm.
“He’s waking up doctor!” shouted one tiny, squeaky voice from a distance. The lady nurse had been on his watch and had rang the emergency bell to summon the doctor right at the moment the man on the bed started showing signs of resuscitation.
With calm and gentle hands, the doctor easily examined him through and he lay flat and silent in the bed. Surely, the man was fully conscious now but there was a new minor problem. He had gone mute and could not utter any audible word. He tried to force his speech out, only to yield tears of pain. He had a lot of questions to ask, but there seemed to be suspense filled all around him. Where was he? What happened to him? How come it was now difficult for him to even murmur? These questions circled around in his head continually until he gave up and threw his head back on the pillow.
The medical practitioners brought in one complicated machine and one screen inside the room that seemed like a computer monitor. They set up the screen facing him and plugged input cables from the machine and also put on him some extensions on his head.
“Mr Wills, I understand you have loads of questions and you really need answers,” said the doctor as he fixed his patient in an upright posture. Out of helplessness and hopelessness, the man poorly nodded his head in confirmation. “Now, don’t force your speech out Sir. All I’ll require of you is to say whatever it is you want to ask in your mind and do it slowly please,” he continued.
To this, Mr Wills was taken aback and said to himself, “But how?” and to his surprise he saw something.
It had never happened to appear in his imagination that machines could read his mind. To him they were all fictional theories limited to movie production and their fallacies. As he thought to himself, the screen before him began to type out what he had been processing in his mind word after word. This was so much to believe for Mr Wills, but the good part was he could ask and be answered.
Then he fired a volley of questions, one after the other and the doctor patiently explained to him all he wanted to know.
“Well Sir, you had been in a comma for four and a half years now, and as we speak now today is the second of January in the year 2044.” At this moment Mr Wills’ mind jammed and couldn’t process anything.
“Ah, ah, ah, ah,” was all that appeared on the screen.
“Are you all right Sir, I think you should rest now and we will talk more later, and your family would be here by then.”
The doctor gave him a tranquilizer and he shut down to sleep. He did not even have any dreams when he passed out; he was just armed with a mind that functioned when controlled by certain mechanisms. When he woke, he couldn’t believe his eyes; seeing his wife and children awaiting this moment. None of them seemed four and half years older, the years had just felt like an overnight sleep.
Then he remembered falling off from the rooftop whilst trying to repair a cracked sheet that leaked rain water into their bedroom. His wife had always advised him to get one of the modern house help and self controlled robots but he was too traditional to have a machine do his house work. He preferred doing the job himself not the robots. Not only had his wife been pestering on acquiring these home service machines, even his friends ridiculed his backwardness by choosing to let technology pass him by.
He picked up a long smile and they all embraced him on the bed. “Daddy, guess what?” said his loudest young daughter.
He simply made facial expressions and didn’t say anything. She didn’t understand anything until he poked on her and pointed her to the screen.
“Tell me about your surprise sweetheart.”
Then she delightfully answered, “We now have our own and he’s so hard working. He does everything by himself and doesn’t need help from anyone.”
Mr Wills did not know whether to rejoice or not but he remembered, if he had gotten one some years ago he could have likely missed all these years in the comma. However, it had already happened and could no longer be rectified, but he could relive those missed moment enjoying his family’s company.
The talked for five hours on end and the doctor assured them that they would take him home the following day. They all went home in a jovial mood and almost skipped supper thinking of their father and a husband too. The night felt very long and for Mrs Wills, the bed felt like it had grown even bigger.
Then came dawn, before the sun had fully smiled on the earth the family was ready for their hospital visit. They all jumped into the family car and rushed to the hospital. Mr Wills also, on his own side was ready to go home with his family. His only hope was that not so much had changed but with technological improvements he knew there would be a lot to learn. The family found their father already waiting for them. He had been sitting on a wheelchair and his face so delighted. All papers were signed and final payments made, then Mr Wills was taken to see a totally new world.
The first thing that caught his eye was the car they were heading to and he was compelled to ask, “How far is our car?”
“We are here already.” Answered his wife.
“But I do not see the car anywhere,” he said.
“Look here sweetheart, a lot has changed over the years. We no longer drive such cars here because the petrol and diesel were banned. Our vehicles now use radio frequency which they convert to kinetic energy and so forth,” explained Mrs Wills.
Mr Wills held his head in both his hands and shook it also.
“The world has really changed a lot, I can see it. Look at even the roads.”
They all jumped into the car and there was no one in the driver’s seat. Mrs Wills shouted, “Home” and the vehicle propelled its engine and drove itself out of the hospital premises and headed for home. They travelled safely and Mr Wills found it difficult to come to books with these developments. Everything around was technical and complicated for him. He couldn’t for his recovery to go out and discover new technological developments. Life in 2044 had surely come with so much difference for him after that long sleep.