Adventures in alternate realities

You’ve probably read one of those naff sci-fi/fantasy stories where the hero goes into a coma/ gets zapped by a raygun/ walks through a magic door, whatever, and spends an entire life in another world, being another person, before waking up back in the real world after just a few moments of “real” time have passed.

That happened to me last week.

My brother Stuart was visiting. It had been a completely normal day for me – some work, meeting up with Stuart, then down to nursery to pick up Barney. We had some playtime, then Kate came home and took B upstairs for his bathtime.

Stuart went out to his car to get a bottle of wine he’d brought. I walked to the fridge to see what ingredients we had.

I remember saying to Stuart as he walked out the door: “What have we got? Peppers, celery, courgettes – I feel something Chinese coming on.”

Then it happened.

There was overwhelming feeling of deja-vu, combined with a weird sensation of time being stretched. In my mind, it felt like I’d been standing in front of the fridge for – I don’t know how long. Hours. Weeks. My brain fizzed and my eyes struggled to focus. I gripped the front edge of the fridge with all my strength, and it took all the will power I had to walk over to the sink and get myself a glass of water. I drank some of it, then sat down at the table.

My brother walked back in the room – he’d only been gone a few seconds but it felt like weeks to me.

“I just had the weirdest feeling, like I was in a videogame,” I said.

My brother looked at me, bemused.

“In fact, I think it’s coming back,” I mumbled, and the top of my head started to bubble and fizz like a pint of lager. My eyes closed and I remember losing control of my neck. My head tipped back off my shoulders and I passed out.

My brother caught me and slowly lifted me upright. He tells me that he had to use some persuasion to get me to stagger to the living room, where he forced me to sit on the armchair.

Kate came back downstairs.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“I think I just passed out,” I said. I saw my brother’s face, a very worried expression on it. Then I passed out again in the chair. I think I dribbled.

Half an hour later we were in the Emergency Unit at the local hospital. A nurse conducted various tests of my heart, blood pressure and blood sugar. All normal.

“Well all this says you’re fit and healthy,” he said.

The duty doctor was unable to shed much more light on things. He suggested I see my GP.

That’s what I did this morning, and the only result so far is the need for more tests. I have to return in a week or so for some blood tests, and back to my GP after that for an examination.

In the meantime, he said, I should avoid driving.

“We can’t have you passing out at the wheel and taking out a pedestrian,” he said bluntly.

Well, quite.

(10th April 2006)