Dreams and what is real

I woke up this world to blackness. Actually, dark greyness. The entire world was two geometric planes, with the minor (lightly darkish grey) plain intersecting the major (very dark) plain at almost a right angle. I was falling, so I reached out to the lighter plane. But as I reached it fell away, and….


… I woke up on the floor and saw I had pushed my nightstand/table/minishelf onto its side as I fell off the bed. The crash as a broken glass of water I had poured the night before. My reading light was somehow undamaged.

But this real thing, I can’t wake up from this.

A very close friend of mine at the university checked up on me today, asking me how I was and (quite seriously) what he should do with my food (I have grape juice which will last for a thousand years, but carrots which were probably bad last week). To the first question, I don’t know, and the second question, whatever he wants.

(I am now looking over what I just wrote and note that the first sentence should probably be “I woke up to blackness.” But “this world” is there, and the only other formulation that rings a bell is “I woke to this world in blackness,” which doesn’t quite make sense. Or, “I woke up in this world to blackness.” Whatever. I’ll leave it as it is.)

The neurologist spoke to my mother after I had left and emphasized that she wanted to see more. I think I know what she means by this: either response to commands or more opening of the eyes. I think hearing this conversation is what got me down. Immediately before that call I was pretty happy.

Everyday I have been looking for one new thing. Direction, not speed, as Tom says, and as most of the people we see say.

Today I saw or heard about the following new behaviors:

  • Opening eyes in response to mild physical stimulation. Before today every time my dad opened his eyes was either because of applied pain or when we were talking to him. Today he opened his eyes while he was being shaved.
  • Grip of the hand. While not a “clasp,” dad can apply pressure to his fingers to close them more firmly.
  • Significant motor response to conversation. At about 11:00 I told my dad I had to go, and this agitated him. His heart rate went up and he began moving around a bit more. So I stayed with him and my mother and talked. What I remember next is clear but out of order: he moves his head directly toward my voice, his brow grimaces in concentration, his lips move slightly without tongue movement (it looked like weekly attempting to speak without sound, but I will report the behavior, not the cognitive speculation).

Additionally, two behaviors which make me happy continued.

  • Dad appears to be in a steady sleep cycle, with activity during the early morning hours and before noon, with sleep in the evening and mid-morning. The burst of activity after 11:00 AM I mentioned above is the latest example of this.
  • Dad also can “arm wrestle” — apply counter-pressure in response to arm-to-arm pressure in the manner of the children’s game. I haven’t lost yet, but I had to concentrate to win today more than before.

So what’s where I am. Greedy and impatient for progress. It’s appropriate that one good site for coma-victim families is

I am back in Nebraska now. I have to teach Wednesday and Friday, and give a test on Thursday, and I take that responsibility seriously. My dad would to: he was a business law college instructor for years on the side, and always wanted to retire to that. (I’m talking in the past tense because his law practice became too successful, so he cut out the teaching so he would still have the same time for his family.)

I miss my dad. I want him back.

Thank you for your kindness.

It smells like spring outside.

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3 thoughts on “Dreams and what is real
  1. Keep hoping buddy. Don’t neglect the rest of your life, though. Make your devotion to your father another part of your life and remember to remind the lady how much you appreciate her support.
    People from the Plains are tough (of course, I’m biased), you’re Dad’ll keep on fighting till there is no more fight.
    Prayers for you.

  2. Mike & ElamBend,

    Thank you very much. This blog is the only place I can communicate naturally: technically, hopefully, desperately. The feedback I get means so much.

    It turns out they put dad on morphine because the nurses interpreted his kicks as signs of pain. (I was there previously when the morphine was prescribed in case it was necessary.) But even as dad slept he kept kicking — less, but the behavior was still there — so they withdrew it.

    I hope we see another positive sign tomorrow.

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