Hong Kong. Friday, October 26, 6:45am. It was time to make a decision. Either run some tests and pump some fuel back into her system to accelerate recovery or let her slip back into her coma. It had been nearly one month since sleepwalking syndrome had overtaken her body once more, and this time around, it called for an unconventional remedy to get her back on track.
The doctors sat her up in her bed and after laying out the options, she responded with a groggy “let’s do this.” They rolled her out of the hospital without administering any form of nourishment, in fear that she would not be able to keep it down. The day ahead required transport to a special clinic in another land called Macau.
Upon arrival, one of the doctors rushed in ahead to check in only to be greeted with the reception staff that said they would not be able to see her until 11am. Originally scheduled for a 10am appointment, they still had one hour to kill. They laid her down on a gurney in the lobby to rest, across from a patisserie of sweets that teased her sweet tooth cravings. They had come all this way, by train, boat, and passport control, and impatient as they might have been, what other choice did they have but to wait?
When the clock struck 10:55am, the reception signaled them to go to the 61st floor for immediate treatment.
Greeted by a new set of staff, they quickly tucked her belongings away in a locker only to be retrieved upon dismissal, wristbanded her arm, and took down her weight. As more and more spectators gathered around the windows, they lead her outside to sit down on a cold, steel chair where they strapped blood pressure monitors to her ankles, IVs and cords running up and down her midriff. Not thinking of anything, completely unaware of what was about to happen, and zoning with a blank stare on her face, the doctor’s gave her instructions for the procedure that completely went in one ear and out the other.
Quick and painless is what everyone around her was promising, but even so, second guesses started creeping up on her. By that time, however, there was no turning back.
Inching her way to the edge like a pirate walking the plank, the doctors held on to the cords running down her back. They gave her one last look of apology but complete affirmation. They asked her if she was ready, but it didn’t matter. With a surrendering nod, the countdown began. 5…4…3…2…1. The moment they let go, her feet slowly tipped over the edge of the platform, she started screaming like hell, and and she was soon free falling over 750 feet towards the ground with a blur of casinos and water swirling all around. Somewhere in the 6 seconds it took to reach the bottom before recoiling, she woke up, snapped the red cord from her feet to return to an upright sitting position. Wondering where she was and what she had just done, she couldn’t help but laugh.
Dangling in the air for a few seconds, an electric energy surged through her body. She felt happy again. Reinvigorated. As they lowered her down to the ground, the doctor’s released all the cords attached to her body and asked her how she felt. The only answer she could give them was a reassuring smile and “amazing!” What more could she say? It was over so quickly.
The doctors responded with the same poker face smile they give the 30-40 patients they see per day and escorted her back up to the 61st floor where the staff and on-lookers congratulated her on a great jump. For all of 5 minutes, she felt like a celebrity. To have broken through the sleepwalking syndrome once again seemed to be something of a miracle, granted that countless, innocent lives are taken from it every minute.
On her way out, after collecting her belongings, the reception staff handed her a goodie bag as a congratulations which contained photos, video footage of the procedure, a certificate of survival, and a bill for $410. Sure, the procedure was harmless, but paying the bill was like taking a punch to the stomach.
Confident that she was cured, they sent her back to Hong Kong on a ferry through the foggy afternoon. With smiles on their faces, the doctors looked at one another in agreement. Confirmed. Adrenaline levels are steady. She’s alive!