The sound of warm, ventilated air breaks the monotony of the eerie silence surrounding me, the gentle yet steady flow a huge relief from the frigid hell I had to endure outside not too long ago. I happily welcome the tiny blast of heat spreading over and seeping into my skin, thawing my stiff, nearly icicled limbs back into feeling what normal human arms and legs are supposed to feel like, but unfortunately, that’s the only thing I feel relieved about right now.

The quiet humming of the heater in the background is disrupted only by the sounds of my unsteady breathing and the constant ticking of the large round clock hanging high on the wall opposite me. Other than generic white walls, a barred window, a single cabinet and sink, and the standard wheeled bed I’m sitting on, there’s really not much else to look at in the bland, cookie-cutter room.

And then, of course, there’s the unique, sterile, antiseptic smell wafting in the air; the kind that you can only find in a hospital or some sort of health facility—precisely where I am, and precisely where I don’t want to be.

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