True FIFA story

True story: Eight years ago I woke up from a coma in a strange room, in a foreign hospital and the only things I recognized on the walls around me were pictures of my two young children and a flag from Brazil.

You already know the ending: I survived.

I couldn’t make this up, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Let’s not get caught up in the how and why of the scenario, because that’s a tale for another time, but trust me when I say that I was loaded up on a cocktail of medications that would have made Rob Ford look like a kitten and, in my paranoia, I believed the doctors were farming my fellow patients and I for parts. Yep. Really.  

Now, let’s get back to the flag issue. I might have been higher than a kite in a windstorm, but I was completely aware of three things:

– first, my name (although I did believe I was an undercover journalist for the Globe and Mail, which turned out to be false);

– the names of my beautiful children who were quite young at the time (I was still a stay-at-home mom); and

– finally, that I was a Canadian.

The Brazilian flag was a mystery.

Naturally, I did what any other overly-medicated and increasingly-agitated patient would do: I screamed for help. Well, I thought it was a scream, but when you’ve been asleep for 10 days with a breathing tube rammed down your throat, your roar is more like a mewing sound. A lovely nurse came over and checked my vitals. Hysterical and exasperated, but not quite coherent, I asked her where I was and why.

And let me tell you, if you aren’t already paranoid when you wake up in a strange place with no memory of how you got there, imagine asking straight-forward questions and having a stranger in a white nurses uniform respond to you softly and slowly by answering your questions with a question.

“Where do think you are? Why do you think you’re here?”

Have you seen American Horror Story? Yep. Just like that. What I didn’t know is she was checking to make sure I had a memory of my pre-coma nap, but in my head, she was picking a really terrible time to play trivia.

So, taking more relaxed breaths I named the children and the location of the images. She smiled, more relieved than I was satisfied. I had passed my “she’s still Kelly” test.  My reward was to learn I was at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener. That’s all she would tell me.

“But the Brazilian flag?” I asked, wondering if in my psychedelic trip, I was actually speaking Portuguese.

“It’s World Cup time,” she said soothingly. “Your husband brought it. He says you love Brazil.”

Right. Yes, the FIFA World Cup. The Carpenter took England and I took a team of sexy men with fancy names and rolling accents, just to irritate him. It was all coming back to me. I didn’t even like soccer, but I did love to annoy my Carpenter. Some things never change, even after the brink of death.

Italy won the World Cup and I didn’t die. All was right with the world.

But this time, I say loud and proud, go Brazil. We are survivors.


Kelly Waterhouse