I wonder how external stimuli impacted my distorted perception of the world. For example, 2021 was when the world met in Tokyo for the pandemic-delayed Olympics. Even if I could not watch television, I imagine someone likely had the tv on in my room. So, the grand spectacle of the games and advertisements and news reports bombarded my subconscious. Nurses were also bathing me and changing my gowns. Apparently, I incorporated these things into my hallucinations while living an “alternate life.”

I was on the Olympic team…

I was a part of the U.S. Olympic Team’s staff. That is laughable given my physical condition. However, I was something of a canary in a coal mine. I was a guinea pig for SARS-CoV-2 medications. I was also used to test other treatments whose aim was immune system modification. At one point, there were even bionic modifications. I recall the latter because something done to my hearing created odd difficulties with “non-compatible devices.” I might hear some or none of what was said, but then I’d register sounds from beyond the normal range from compatible tech.

And it provided connections

This ability led to a profitable side gig beyond U.S. Olympic team staff. There was an avant-garde musician who wanted to create a sound one experienced with the whole body. He had connections and knew of my bionic hearing. He wanted to collaborate with me to make his new sound. I recall being uncomfortable because there was what one imagines with the rich and famous, the stereotypical debauchery. Though I helped him complete his project, it further injured me. I began hearing things I shouldn’t. As I had with some of my visual hallucinations, this, too, made me question my sanity.

And new experiences

Now, how did the bathing and gown changes come into play? First, as Japan is a “bathing culture,” there were visits to onsens and sentōs with the Olympic team. So, those strangers scrubbing me became compatriots washing my back and hair. My hospital gown became the yukata. That amuses me because my self-consciousness would never permit me actually to visit an onsen or sentō in real life. However, the fact that I was wearing yukata must mean that being something of a VIP landed me a trip to a lovely onsen ryokan (i.e., a traditional Japanese inn).

It is nice that even while wondering if I was losing my mind that I could still enjoy some pleasurable experiences.