Comatose patient must come to terms with his well-being, accident as well as the new world
| “Mr Taylor? If you can hear me, can you open your eyes? Even a flicker?”
The voice seemed so near, yet so far away. I couldn’t quite recollect whom the voice belonged to or whether it belonged to anyone at all.
Who is Mr Taylor? Was it addressing me? Am I Mr Taylor?
“Doctor, if he doesn’t wake, then I suggest that we reconsider keeping him on the life machine, it’s already cost the hospital -as well as the government- thousands.”
This was not the same voice as I had first heard; this voice had a harsh tone to it. Different to the softer voice I had heard earlier. I tried to open my eyes, as ordered, but failed to see anything but dim colours that danced behind my eyelids.
“I realise that, but the recordings of brain activity and his state of consciousness has increased exceedingly the past couple of months, I really believe he can pull through.”
“He’s been through a very critical condition after the accident, I’m sorry, but we have to think professionally here, you need to face that there is a much greater possibility that he won’t pull through at all”
My head throbbed with pain as I tried to think about what they were saying. It didn’t quite make sense to me; the words didn’t form any meaning. What was that about an accident? I tried to open my eyes again, and once again I failed to make sense of my surroundings. Perhaps it was a dream or this was some sort of confirmation before I was sent to heaven. If so, it didn’t look like I was getting in so easily.
“I know, but there’s still a chance and no official papers signed to take him off the life machine or the sugar flow.”
“You’re the doctor, you know best, as long as you know what you are doing and that you know you are putting your own place as a doctor at jeopardy.”
“This is a remarkable break into the way coma’s work, if it carries through then I will be one of the first able to prolong and show that long term comatose patients do still have a chance.”
“This has nothing to do with anything that you have done, if I may say so, it’s all a great deal of luck that the unconscious state of this man is lifting and that his support machines didn’t get switched off within the first year of his coma, I’m only saying that you shouldn’t cross the line between being persistent and being professional.”
Even when my head still throbbed with searing pain, I understood most of what was being said. I was in a coma. I am in a coma. But I can’t gather my thoughts to what happened and how I got here. Come to think of it, I can’t remember much at all. Right now, all I can feel is pain, and all I can remember from before is pain. Trying to remember anything brought me further more pain.
“And I appreciate your opinion, but you are still a nurse. You’re opinion would be of more value in years to come... Heighten his sugar intake and check up on his conscious levels.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to say please.”
The sensation of touch that had long been forgotten in my vegetated state, flooded back as something was moved from my mouth and for a moment I became short of breath. At that moment a surge of some sort forced my eyes open... light poured under my eyelids, moulding around the shape visible of my eyes, absorbing into my pupil and brightening the dead colour of my iris. It took meaningless seconds to realise that I was looking up at two faces above me. The look of sheer shock upon their faces was all I could capture before my eyes shut out the light once again...
“Hello, Jayden. I’m Sarah, your Doctor. Nice to have you back with us, I’m sure you are confused and have plenty of questions to ask but I’m afraid there is some things I need to explain to you first.”
I was finally able to put a name to the soft voice. She was right about the confusion; she didn’t say anything about the pain I was feeling though.
“You have been gaining more and more conscious within the past few weeks and after analysing your levels of sugar intake and brain activity you seem strong enough to hear and understand me, if you could just open your eyes if you can hear me, Jayden.”
This time opening my eyes was more of a struggle, but when I did, I was able to make more sense of my surroundings. This time, when I opened my eyes, it was darker than it was earlier. If must have been much earlier in comparison. With what little I knew about a ‘coma’, I found it easy to believe that drifting in and out of consciousness seemed like something that happened often. At least to me it was.
“There is no easy way of explaining anything of this sort to anyone… And I understand that this will be difficult for you to hear. Are you still with us, Jayden?”
My eyes had inevitably shut again, too weak to keep open for a long period of time. In the effort to respond I tried to move my hand before realising I had no feeling in either hand or an arm for that matter… I wanted to ask her why I couldn’t move but my mouth wouldn’t correspond with my intentions, leaving me to open my eyes once again…
“I know that this is causing you pain, but I need you to understand everything I am about to say to you, the stiffness in your body is side effects to your condition and I’m sorry to say that it will doubtfully pass quickly if at all… Do you understand everything I have just said, Jayden? If so, could you blink or show any response?”
No, I didn’t quite understand what she meant, but the tender tone of her voice made me shut my eyes and reopen them so I could hear her soothing voice.
“20 years ago this year, you were involved in an accident that I won’t go into much detail about right now, but you suffered a severe brain haemorrhage. Ever since, you have been in a prolonged coma, of which I will go into detail when you are in a much stronger condition. Right now I am just going to inform you that we have got in contact with a relative of yours who will be here as soon as possible, her name is Amy, do you know who she is?”
She was now perched beside me, barely moving the white sheets as she had sat. Her eyes, a bright hazel colour, bored into my own. It did not discomfort me at all, it was warming if anything. Behind her, a short stumpy man stood with his arms folded tight, his lips pouted and made it look like he was sucking a lemon. I could now put a picture to the harsh tone. Realising that her soothing tone had gone and that I was merely staring at her blankly, I had to respond. Finding the strength I blinked a couple of times, stretching out some of the strain in doing so.
“That’s a good thing then… I believe she will be here by the end of the week, so until then you better get some rest and strengthen yourself up… We will leave you to your sleep for now, Jayden.”
Smiling, she stood over me pausing before disappearing behind an ugly curtain. It wasn’t until then, that I realised that the curtain boxed me in.
Wait… Who was she talking about just then?