That’s what I dreamt about. While touring the respiratory ward of a filthy hospital with many miserable looking patients ready to die, I would try to speak only to be prevented by a piercing lung pain or excessive phlegm, and dark fluid gushing out of my mouth; or the perceptible feel of a sudden collapse of portions of my lung coupled with the sort of panic that would effectively prevent me from uttering a single word.
Then the fellow walking with me calmly directed me to a room and sat me on a chair. The room was clean and well lit, and had a purple sliding door. He began to play with the door and each time the door separated me from the ward, I felt I had my voice back. Sliding the door open again would simply make me lose my voice.
He grinned mischievously and said, “What do you think of our new sliding empathy blocker? The latest model!
And I woke up murmuring, “now, that’s what I really need…a portable empathy blocker!”