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What follows is a little bit of real life intertwined with a heavy dose of fiction. Naturally, it's all for a good cause.

In the back of his head he thinks to himself... "Don't sneeze, whatever the fuck you do, DO NOT FUCKIN' SNEEZE. Quick, try thinking about something else. No, not of the small basket of flowers somebody sent you that are sitting next to your bedside you idiot, something ELSE. DO NOT LOOK AT THE FLOWERS. Jesus Christ, they are nice to look at though. They bring a certain life to the sterility of the hospital room. The aroma that comes from them sorta reminds me of...what the hell are you doing? THINK OF SOMETHING ELSE. NOW!

What, I can't think of anything else, my mind has gone blank and I can feel the end of my nose starting to tickle. It's the goddamn flowers again. What kind of idiot would send flowers to a person just coming off open heart surgery. A sadistic one that's who. Don't they know that flowers make me sneeze and sneezing is one of the last things you want to do after you've had your chest sliced and diced.

Well, maybe not a sadistic idiot, just an ignorant one. Ah, who am I kidding, I know they meant well. After all, it'll probably be a week or two before I get to venture outside and it's nice to have a slice of the great outdoors right within my reach. Wait, what's that feeling in my nose? IGNORE THE FUCKIN' FLOWERS ASSHOLE.

Too late. Oh shit, here it comes, it's gonna be a huge one. Oh man, by the amount of air I'm sucking in, this is gonna be like the Babe Fuckin' Ruth of sneezes. Fuck me, this is gonna hurt like no tomorrow.

Wait, the feelings gone. Hell yeah it ...AHFUCKINCHOO!

Man, that fuckin' hurt. That's what a bullet to the chest must feel like...Oh shit, here it comes again. I don't know if I can take another one...

NURSE!!!

Thankfully, he fell into a deep sleep.

The hospital lied to him from the beginning. What started out as routine tests had now turned to a struggle of epic proportions. Terms and body parts that he had never heard of before were now being casually tossed his way like a father and son playing a game of catch. In the end, when the final decision was to be made, it was to be his and his alone. There was no family or friends around to advise him and he doubted if he'd listen to them anyway. Would he or should he follow his doctors advise or should he just pack his bags head for the exits?

There was so little time to decide. They said they could have him on the table bright and early on Thursday morning and it was already Tuesday night. No time for a second opinion they said. You could check yourself out against doctors orders but there might be some dire consequences as a result of that.

Him being the eternal optimist, immediately had visions of his heart exploding in his chest as he barreled down State Route 315 and crashed into a bus full of nuns or orphans or worse yet, orphaned nuns. The ensuing fireball would leave him nothing but a pile of ashes and an early morning headline that read

"IDIOT DRIVER DEFIES DOCTORS ORDERS. 12 DEAD"

The obituary wouldn't nearly be so kind.

So, for one of the few times in his life, he decided to fall into formation and follow his doctors advice.

In order to prepare for the operation, they made him watch a movie about what the procedure would entail. Naturally, the VCR tracking thing was acting up and all he got was a snippet or two here and there of the actual operation. The rest of it was all blue screens and dialogue. He thought it might be some kind of sick omen.

It turns out, he was right.

The next morning they told him they were going to give him something to "take the edge off" before wheeling him down to the operating room. That turned out to be an understatement. He has no recollection of leaving the room at all. The next thing he knew, he woke up somewhere else with tubes coming out of his mouth, his stomach and, holy shit, even his dick. It was like emerging from a dense fog and he tried to call out to the nurse but it was like he had no voice. Whatever tube that was sticking out of his throat seemed to be stealing his words. Finally, after what seemed like hours, a nurse came over.

"You might feel a little pain but it's nothing to worry about."

With that, she practically ripped the tubes from his throat and later his stomach. He offered up a silent prayer for his dick.

"Been nice knowin' ya little fella, we've sure had our fair share of good times, see ya on the other side someday."

Thank God, he was wrong. His dick had been spared but his voice had not. He could barely manage a whisper. Still, all in all, things were looking up.

A few more hours went by and he seemed to be recovering nicely. They wheeled him to his to his private room.

When he got there, it looked just like any other hospital room that he'd ever been in. Sterile and lacking in personality, that would soon change. There was already a small vase of flowers next to his bedside. After napping away a few hours, he was jolted awake.

Jesus Christ....not again...Not another sneeze...My body can't take it...WHY? WHY? WHY?

He turned and looked around the room and what he saw brought a tear to his eye. It was covered from wall to wall with flowers of all shapes and sizes. There were roses of every color and baskets and vases from one end to another. Daisies, Black Eyed Susans and Begonia's and flowers he'd never seen before seemed to carpet the floor and each of their containers held arrangements that would make Van Gogh himself rethink Sunflowers. At first, what he thought was that his friends from near and far and from new and old had learned of his fate and wanted to impart their best wishes. What he would soon come to realize was that it would be the death of him. The aroma was so powerful that it dwarfed that of even that weird hospital smell and hospital food.

Oh God, get them out, GET THEM THE FUCK OUT OF THE ROOM! Why is the door closed? Wait, when they asked if I had any known allergies, I thought they were talking about medications...I didn't even think of the flowers...Oh God, here comes another one...NO!

In his hand he holds what he hopes is his lifeline to the world outside, the magic buttons that will alert the nurse on duty to get to his room pronto, that something was dreadfully wrong and that he needed attention.

ACHOO! ACHOOACHOO! ACHOOACHOOACHOO!

His body wracks back and forth and his magic buttons aren't working. His latest sneezing fit had caused him to pull the plug and his frantic clicks go unanswered. He tries to scream but all that comes out is a whisper.

Nobody knows how much time had passed until he was discovered. The hospital is currently investigating the matter and won't speculate on how long it might take. All anybody knows is that when they checked on him, his chest looked like it exploded and there was blood all around the room but nobody had heard a thing.

The nurses station on the other hand, never looked or smelled better.