Thursday, April 2, 2015


On Tuesday I watched the new episode of SIRENS, in which the father of one of the main characters ends up in a coma. The son wrestles with the possibility of his father's death, all the while wondering if his father can hear him. (It should be noted that this is a comedy. While there is some seriousness, the situation is ultimately played for laughs.)

Be careful what you say around coma patients. The character advised his father to go to the light, and when the old man wakes up, he gives his son shit for telling him that. It comes as a surprise to the guy that his father had heard him, but it didn't come as a surprise to me.

When I was in high school, my mother got into a horrible car accident. She was at a bar, and the guy she was with was giving her a ride home. Along the way, they rear-ended a UPS truck, which turned his car into an accordion. Mom never wore her seat belt the way she should; she always put the top belt behind her. As a result of this, she was damaged pretty badly. Her injuries were so unique that the doctors wanted to write a medical paper about her. She required a lot of surgery to fix her, and most of that time, about a year and a half, she was in a coma.

My family and I all wondered if she knew what we were saying in all of that time. When she woke up, she confirmed it for us: she was aware of us the whole time. She knew we were there, and she knew what we'd said. Could you imagine being aware of everything around you while you're in a coma for more than a year? To top it all off, the doctors had to keep her torso open. They had to keep getting inside of her for reconstruction of her organs, and to close her up each time would have been crazy. So they left her open and stuffed with something they called packing.

She told me that at one point, she thought I was playing a practical joke on her. She thought I'd dressed up as a doctor and was fiddling around with her guts inside of her. She tried telling me the joke wasn't funny and tried to get me to stop, but she couldn't communicate. Then, the doctor took his mask off, and she saw it wasn't me, which was a great relief, even though she was still aware that someone had been putting his hands inside her torso.

She eventually made a full recovery, but it always haunted me that she could stand being a prisoner in her own body for that length of time. I couldn't stand something like that. That's why I'm a firm believer in pulling the plug on me if I'm in a coma. Wait maybe two weeks, and if I'm not back by then, pull the plug and be done with it. I don't want to be bored out of my fucking mind for more than two weeks.

And if any of you fuckers tells me to go to the light . . . ugh. (Unless it's a POLTERGEIST reference, which I'll find funny the first time. Anymore after that, and I'll be plotting your death.)

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