• Astral Hospital Visit

    The wide corridors were well lit, with polished floors and gleaming walls and hospital smells permeated the atmosphere. Before me, in the middle of the corridor, was a nurses station. A young nurse in a crisp-white uniform was talking to two men in business suits. Both men looked to be around fifty years of age. They seemed to have a calm authoritative air about them, of the kind you might expect of a high ranking executive type.

    The nurse appeared to be giving them directions. I walked up to the station and waited at the counter. The nurse looked over, smiled and asked me to please wait, then turned back to dealing with the two men. Pretty soon, two more nurses came and led the men away, holding their hands and talking gently to them as they went. As they turned to go, I noticed tears were streaming down one man's face.

    "Can I help you sir?" asked the nurse politely as she turned to me. "Yes, er, I'm here to see Peter," I said smiling hopefully. "Are you a relative?" she asked, checking the large register on her desk?" "No, I'm his best friend" I said, hoping that would suffice to get me in. "Peter is still resting I'm afraid" she said, slowly shaking her head. "Look, please, is it possible for me to see him? I've come a very long way to visit and promise I won't disturb him in any way. I can't stay very long" I added wistfully. "Oh, very well, as long as you don't stay too long" she sighed. "The doctor is due to see Peter shortly, and his mother and father are still waiting," she cautioned. "Thank you. I know his mum and dad and I promise I won't hold them up" I said as I started up the corridor. "Oh, by the way, where is Peter's room?" I asked, stopping and turning. "He's on level 3A, in number 31." she said, pointing me back the other way. "Thanks very much, I'll be back in a jiffy," I said as I doubled back past the station.

    I walked (with a surreal floating sensation) through a wide double-door at the end of the corridor and found the cross-roads of another corridor on the other side. I kept walking and soon found a door marked Level 3, and went through it. Inside were a large number of strange looking reference devices. They were like metal poles with hundreds of wire branches holding collections of numbered plastic cards. They looked a bit like those greeting card carousels you find in news-agents, only larger and far more complex. At the top of each carousel was a letter. I moved up to the one marked A and rummaged through the numbers on the third level. It rotated and I soon found number 31. I took hold of the number and looked at it, expecting to find directions written on it. Instead, I felt the beginnings of another dimensional shift.

    I felt myself falling and shrinking and saw lots of numbers flashing past me, and felt like I was being shuffled in a giant deck of cards. This caused a very strange kind of two dimensional shift in my environment. I faded back into existence again, finding myself standing outside something like a motel room. This was standing alone in a lovely garden full of trees and shrubs and flower beds, with neatly trimmed lawn pathways weaving among the trees. Benches stood under trees here and there, but I didn't see anyone. It was very quiet, apart from a gentle twittering of birdsong in the distance.

    I knocked and opened the door. Inside, the room smelled strongly of alcohol and had a thick, depressing atmosphere. I could hear somebody singing; if you could call it singing. There was a refrigerator full of beer with the door hanging half open, a TV and a single armchair. Empty beer cans and bottles and overflowing ashtrays littered the floor. A neat single bed, unoccupied, was on the other side of the room. At the back of the room was what looked like a large rectangular spa or oversized bath tub. The muffled singing came from that direction. I moved closer and found Peter lying on a couch that was floating in a huge tub.

    It was a most peculiar setup. Peter was curled up on his side with one hand trailing in the frothy liquid. He appeared to be having a fitful sleep. I waded into the tub and got onto the small couch with Peter, trying not to upset it in the process. The tub was full of beer and I watched as Peter scooped some suds into his mouth, but without seeming to fully wake up. I tried to wake him, talking to him and shaking him gently. He uncurled and half sat up, looking at me through blurry, tear stained eyes. He sobbed my name and shook his head but seemed unable to focus. He scooped several handfuls of beer into his mouth and started slurring an old drinking song as he sank back onto the couch and drifted back to sleep.

    My heart went out to Peter as I sat patting his arm, praying silently for him as the old couch floated slowly around the giant tub of beer. I knew his pain only too well, but Peter was the only one who could help himself with that. Thinking back to some of the good times we'd had together many years ago, I remembered a conversation we'd once had at a BBQ where he'd told me his life-long dream was to swim in beer. We'd been very young at the time, not even drinking age really, and I smiled as I pondered the memory; thinking he'd got his wish at last.

    Just then the door opened and in came a doctor in a white coat, followed by Peter's mother and father. I got out of the tub, feeling guilty for being there, and moved out of the way to give them room. Peter's father smiled when he saw me and came over to give me a pat on the shoulder before turning to his son. All of them waded into the great tub of beer and tried to wake Peter up, as I had, by gently shaking him and talking to him. Peter lifted himself onto one arm for a moment and seemed to look around. He then tried to curl up again, but his mother slipped onto the couch and caught his head on her lap, stroking his hair and crooning softly to him. His father stood with one arm around his wife and the other on Peter's shoulder. The doctor sat on the other end of the couch and put both hands on Peter, as if in prayer. I sensed he was giving Peter healing.

    Feeling very much like an intruder now, I left quietly without saying goodbye. As I moved through the doorway I felt myself falling as another dimensional shift took me, this time with a multicoloured fizzy blurring sensation. Falling back into my body, I got out of my chair and somberly recorded this precious experience in my journal for safekeeping.

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