Saturday, August 02, 2008

Coma

TV and the movies really have it wrong when they represent someone in a coma.
See, in the movies, or on a TV show, when someone is in a coma, they're always dreaming. Sometimes the dream takes them to faraway places, or sometimes the dream is like a near-death, where they meet those in the afterlife.
Or, their dream takes place in the room where they're in this coma. They flit around the room, listening to everyone in the room as they attempt to "communicate" with them.
And the coma-patients are always, always looking good. Like a deep sleep, resting with their eyes closed, breathing normally, their skin fresh.

In real life, it's not like that at all. For one, the eyes are open. It's very disturbing, because when you look into the eyes, you're not sure they're looking back at you, or if they are seeing anything at all. The eyes are open, yes, but they are empty.
And the body is not at rest. The mind may be in the coma, but the body isn't. The arms are contorted, twisting, grasping involuntarily, with nothing to guide or command them. Or control them. Each breath can be a struggle as the body gasps and expands, desperately pulling in oxygen. It's frightening to watch, because you don't know if the breath will be the last.

The mouth remains open, too. This is the creepiest, because it's as if they're trying to speak, but only a guttural sound comes out. And because of the dry air, the lips are chapped.

You see, the body is but a shell, albeit a shell that's alive, but a shell nonetheless. Without the life and soul, the body doesn't know how to react. So like a plant, it shifts and moves, perhaps looking for the sun, or just maybe some comfort.

And at the end, when it's over, when the person dies, you can see the life leave the body. Literally. You watch as the life and soul just exit, and the body truly becomes the shell. It stops moving. The limbs fold down. The mouth just sort of collapses. The body sags, and just folds into a limp. But the eyes stay open, until someone gently pushes their fingers ovevr them, closing them for the last time.

So much different than the movies.