Nicole lay surrounded by the barren walls of her private recovery room and tried to gather her wits amid the gray blur. Her arms and legs seemed frozen by a numb heaviness.
In the midst of the cloud created by lingering anesthesia, a systematic tap-tapping appeared somewhere between her ears. It was a gentle sound, almost soothing, and carried with it an accompanying sensation like that of little feet padding back and forth from one side of her head to the other.
Instantaneously words appeared in her mind – not from any external source, but as an accompaniment to the tapping!
“It’s Dr. Todd, Nicole – I want you to know the surgery went exactly as planned. A nurse from our recovery staff is currently monitoring all of your body functions and movements on observations screens, and you seem to be doing very well. I know you can’t see or hear much right now since you’re just beginning to come out from under the anesthesia, but this message is a test and should cut through the fog you’re experiencing. If you can hear me, please try to think the word ‘okay’.”
Although “email technology implants” were currently a routine procedure, Nicole had waited impatiently for her eighteenth birthday on December twenty-seventh of 3007 to qualify. She’d scheduled her surgery as soon as possible after the surgical staff returned to work after the Christmas and New Year holiday break.
Nicole concentrated on the word “okay” in response to Dr. Todd’s request. “Good! Nicole, I’d say the surgery was a success! Now rest - and before long we’ll practice your controls with you.”
Inwardly Nicole beamed. Now she would be able to communicate with friends via email in her mind without the encumbrance of her computer keyboard!
She tried to envision her own controls and how they might look like those of her parents: three tiny flesh-colored dots behind her right ear. With these buttons she would be able to save and delete messages, access her inbox and outbox, and – this was hard to believe – even send attachments saved to the hard drive of her laptop!
Technological advances in the field of communication had merged with radical discoveries in medicine during the last decade. Today Dr. Todd had implanted a version with the latest upgrade that could automatically ban all junk mail! How awesome!
The room seemed more and more defined as the effects of the anesthesia faded. A trim nurse dressed in a slick, form-fitted surgical uniform appeared at her side. “Ready to head upstairs to the practice lab?” she asked.
“Your tutorial will only last about an hour, and then we’d like to keep you for another hour or so. Then you can go home – as long as you don’t drive for twenty-four hours.” The nurse spoke authoritatively to emphasize the ban on driving, and then asked for proof of Nicole’s understanding. “Have you already arranged for someone to take you home today?”
Nicole grinned. “Yes, my boyfriend, Jim, has a new hovercraft – he just got it for Christmas. He said to email him from the implant when I was ready for him to pick me up, and he’d buzz right over!”
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