Take Once After Waking.Aug 22, 2014
The bottle is clear with a pastel blue sticker stuck neatly across its middle. On one side a radio tag dips out with a red tip above a label reading “Directions”. Both are surrounded by neatly stacked cautionary icons in various colours, also pastel.
On the front is an outline of an ear, drawn in as few strokes as possible. Two. A large italic notice reads “Hearing ointment – A3.76”.
Each of the seven white-blue capsules enclosed has a miniature switch to be flicked from the white to the blue before swallowing. I double check the directions as I roll it around my fingers. It feels plastic, is slightly indented around the cross-point and heats up on my skin as my hesitant nail finally drags against the switch. The capsule lands on my tongue and slips down my throat as I swallow. I have no idea what it is doing inside me.
The result is unimaginable.
“Expect mild discomfort, sweating, tingling sensations and unusual sounds.” reads a scan of the radio tag, a message oblivious to the idea that at this point, any sound at all is unusual.
On the eighth day, when it actually happens, it takes me five minutes to realise. Thinking about the treatment’s progress non-stop would be baiting insanity so after three doses, taking the white-blue capsules becomes routine, a constant in the haziness after stopping the alarm vibrating around my wrist.
The sound is a constant whine. Like a thin tight line drawn ahead of my eyes, it’s transparent but unshakable once noticed. I blink it off as an incoming headache, a shrugable thought or tiredness, before knowing it won’t budge. With that comes instant nausea, panic and sweating from my sides. It follows me with every erratic movement, only lightly dipping between recoveries as my head tilts.
I rush to the bathroom but now thudding squares blast out with every step I make, larger the faster I run away. It’s suffocating my thoughts and my decisions, warping around me and growing.
Every object in the house takes on a different purpose, shape and feeling when I touch it and jolt at the response. The doors are thin, sharp and painful, the halls dark and smothering. The entire house is alive and it’s yelling at me.
I trip and the impact blasts into my brain from all directions. I smell the carpet, taste the blood in my mouth, see my vision go hazy then dark and feel the delayed pain hurtling through my nervous system.
And for the first time in my life I hear everything. It sounds like hell.