When I came out of the coma I lie strapped to a gurney in the intensive care unit of an urban hospital, literally unable to move or speak. I possessed a vague instinctual understanding of my condition and surroundings, but my perceptions were filtered through a haze of dream-like subjectivity. Any grounded impressions flickered in and out like the light from a bulb being screwed into a live socket.
Nurses casually conferred with one another regarding my situation as if I weren’t lying in the same room. When one of them bothered to speak directly to me, they cooed baby talk point blank at my face (I could tell which of them didn’t brush their teeth). Invariably a nurse “familiar” with my case would shake her head, smugly snort and advise the one trying to communicate with me: “Don’t bother. He can’t understand anyway.” (They always spat the pronoun “he.”) more »