In this creepy college story, a student returns from medical leave to discover that he would never be the same again.
It all started during my junior year of college. I am a party animal, or used to be. I never missed a party and you could count on me being at the bar until closing time. This all changed when I became sick with meningitis. The doctor said I probably got it while playing beer pong or kissing someone. I will never know how I got it, but I do know that my life will never be the same again. The doctors and my parents tell me that I should grateful that I am alive. I know they are right, but my life has become a living hell. I feel like my sanity is slowly slipping away.
I missed most of spring semester of my junior year while in the hospital and spent the following summer recovering at home with my parents. I begged my parents to let me go back to school in the fall. I could still graduate on time with my friends due to a bunch of AP courses from high school. They eventually agreed so long as I promised to take it easy and tone down the partying. To make them happy I did not move back into the fraternity house and got a single apartment for myself.
I quickly returned to my hard partying ways. I could not drink as much I used to but I still knew how to have a good time. By the third week back at school, however, I began to notice that my left hand seemed to shake ever so slightly whenever I moved it. Other times I would be holding something, let’s say a beer, and my grip would inexplicably loosen. I dropped a few full drinks during those first few weeks. I chalked it up to muscle weakness from being bedridden for so long. The trembling in my hand continued to increase over the next few weeks but the weakness in my hand disappeared. I felt like my old self again. This was my last year of college and I was having a blast. I partied twice as hard to make up for lost time.
Everything changed one Monday morning when I woke up with a terrible hangover. I stumbled through my morning routine knowing that I was late for class. As I stepped out the door I noticed that my left hand still held onto the bar of soap. My hand refused to release its vice like grip so I resorted to soaking it in hot water. I slipped the bar out and my hand relaxed immediately. My feelings of unease quickly turned to anxiety when I noticed that my senior seminar had begun a half hour ago. I raced out the door in a hangover induced stupor and did not think about the morning’s odd events until the next week.
The rest of the school week passed uneventfully. I focused on my schoolwork and played video games with my fraternity brothers. The coming weekend was going to be epic. My fraternity had been planning an incredible party since the previous school year. We had a large field rented, dozens of kegs on order and fully expected at least half of our small university to attend. The party started around noon on Saturday and would last until we finished all of the kegs. The first few hours were great, but then something happened that would begin my descent into hell.
A few friends and I stood near one of the keg stations watching a game of beer pong. Before I knew what was happening one of my friend’s girlfriend turned around and shouted “what the fuck are you doing?”
Thoroughly confused I turned my head to look at her and noticed that my left hand was firmly planted on her butt. I quickly apologized and tried to move my hand away. My hand would not move. I stepped away and my left hand grabbed onto her belt. I don’t know who was more terrified at that point. I looked at my hand, knew it was mine, but I had absolutely no control over it. She began to scream and I attempted to explain that I had no idea what was happening. Her boyfriend, a good friend of mine, ran over and tried to push me off her. My left hand released her belt, darted forward and closed around his throat. A moan escaped my lips as desperately tried to pry my left hand off his throat. My friend halfheartedly tried to push me away but it was too late. I guess the shock at having one of your friend’s try to kill you was too much.
I am a pretty big guy, even after being bedridden with meningitis, and it took three football players to get me to let him go. My fingernails dug into his throat as they pulled his hand off. I cried hysterically while trying to explain that I couldn’t control my hand. I remember laying limply, sirens wailing in the distance, with a group of guys forming a circle around me. If anyone stepped too close my left hand would attempt to grab an ankle or shoe and pull them down.
Understandably, the police threw me in the drunk tank first. I knew then that something else caused this insanity but they ignored my pleas. After 24 hours they came to get me out and my hand immediately tried to pull the gun from the officer’s holster. I frantically tried to explain that I could not control my hand but the officer’s fist smashed into my face, breaking my nose. He then tased me as I lay on the floor. My left hand still grabbing for him as the electrical current coursed through my body.
They placed me in isolation and waited for their commanding officer to arrive for his shift. 48 hours later and I was still sitting in the isolation cell. My left hand, hanging limply at my side, twitched whenever I heard a sound from outside the cell. The commanding officer eventually arrived and interviewed me through the bars of my cell. At one point he ventured too close to the bars and my hand shot out at his face. He informed me, thank God, that my friend had survived my attack and would soon be released from the hospital. I finally had a chance to explain that I had no control over my hand. It was clearly my hand I told him, but it felt as though someone or something else was controlling its movements. I only felt numbness and an occasional twitch throughout the arm.
Throughout the interview the commanding officer nodded, took notes and asked questions, but not once did he take his eyes off my hand. The interview lasted an hour, after which he left the room. He came back a short while later and informed me that I was being transferred to a psychiatric facility and that my parents had been notified. Five officers put me in handcuffs after I tried gouge out the eyes of the first officer who tried to do it. A team of orderlies and nurse with a syringe-full of sedative were waiting for me at the psychiatric hospital.
I awoke the next day tightly bound in a leather straightjacket and locked in a barren room. Two orderlies soon arrived and led me to the head psychiatrist’s office. The psychiatrist asked me a series of questions about my medical history, but focused mainly on my bout with meningitis. He then ran a battery of neurological tests on me. He was the first person since the party to treat me like a normal person rather than a deranged killer. He wrapped up the tests and told me that he would need to consult with some colleagues before getting back to me. He also told me that I would be able to see my parents soon if all went well.
The next morning the orderlies brought me into the same office. My parents were waiting along with the psychiatrist. My mother rushed to give me a hug and I could sense the orderlies readying themselves. My straightjacket shifted as my left hand struggled against the leather. My father gave me a small smile and pulled my mother away. When we were all seated the psychiatrist dismissed the orderlies and told us that I suffered from Alien Hand Syndrome, which is a rare neurological disorder where the two brain hemispheres begin to separate. It is often caused by some sort of brain trauma which damages parts of the brain responsible for connecting the two sides of the brain. Persons with Alien Hand Syndrome report that one of their limbs begins to act on its own. It will often do things that person has no control over. Usually this means holding onto or letting go of objects randomly. I have an incredibly severe case of the disorder. There is no cure, though some persons have been able to manage the symptoms by training the hand. The courts had ordered that I undergo three months of treatment at the psychiatric facility after which I would be free to return home.
It is now five months since that meeting with the psychiatrist. The treatments failed. I am still unable to control my left hand. The psychiatric hospital made me a modified straightjacket which I wear under my clothing. It keeps my left hand bound to my side while allowing my right hand to move freely. My life has been ruined. My university labeled me a threat to others and expelled me from school. Everyone in my community thinks I am a freak. This thing I wear under my clothing is hot and constricting but I continue to wear it because I know I am still a danger to others without it. I have contemplated amputating my hand, maybe then I can rejoin society and lead a normal life.