Saturday, September 1, 2012

Surreality (repost of Jan 4, 2010)

Monday morning I head to the cardiologist for a stress test. From the sound of things, they'll put me on a treadmill, run me till my heart rate peaks, then pump some radioactive compound through my heart and take pictures. Hmmm. Needless to say, I am sleepless tonight. The idea of stressing out my heart doesn't exactly fill me with calm, collected thoughts. As a result, sleeptime slides away and my anxiety runs chasing after it. Not how I planned on spending my new year.

When I went in for my original surgery, I genuinely felt that it would go just as all my other surgeries had gone previously. I would wake up, groggy but aware, in pain but manageable. It had happened through my back surgeries, my sinus surgery... why not this one? When I woke up a month later unable to speak or move, all I knew was that all bets were off. When all I could do to tell Nancy I was in there was to cry hot tears, I knew things weren't okay. Talking was off the menu. Moving was impossible. I did my laughable best to try to write. Yeah, I couldnt lift my own hand, but I was sure I could write. Four weeks later I could barely fill out a form without becoming exhausted.

Here I sit, staring another sleepless night in the face. Marveling at the surreality of it all. I nearly died. It's very difficult for me to rationalize, because very few people I know have come close to death and not been irrevocably changed. My little brother Martin came out of his coma with permanent damage to his motor cortex resulting in some minor short term memory issues. When he and I compared coma time during his visit this fall, we found that our experiences were totally different. He got on his motorbike, felt/saw the impact and the next thing he remembers is waking up from the coma. No dreams.

At least I got to have the dreamtime. Since awaking from the coma, I have shared a few of the dreams with interested folks, a clergyman, my family (and once, in this blog). I realized this evening that my brain would not slow down as I tried to sleep. I don't know if this sleeplessness is caused by the lack of meds in my system (in prep for the stress test tomorrow) or if it is really a manifestation of the anxiety I am dealing with. Either way, the last four hours in bed were noteable for the total lack of imagery. It was as though my brain was left on hold and forced to listen to muzak.

Is it strange to miss being in the coma dreamtime? Sure, some of the dreams were hideous and difficult. But some of that time was wonderful, quiet, gentle even. I doubt I will ever forget the smell from the door of the roadside diner as I walked out into the snow covered parking lot. The surrounding spruces just smelled sweet and blue. In the darkness, blue smells differently than it looks. Over my shoulder the diner's amber light winked out, leaving me with the sharp snow in my nose and hope in my heart that a ride might come my way, saving me from a frigid walk home.

Even now, I feel like that scene is part of my history. It didn't happen in my past. It happened just the other day. I had given serious thought to putting all these dreams in a box (via EMDR) but I am not so sure anymore. Some nights they are good places to go and visit. The only downside is that now, it is just visiting. I don't live there anymore. And that feels surreal.

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