(Along way from neutral)
I don’t always know why I might be thinking about something. Sometimes things come back, seemingly unbidden: memories, conversations.
But these thoughts today, about this episode, were prompted by something I was reading – about the brain and how it functions. From that research to remembering what I’d been told about the time when I was in a coma was a small step.
Thinking about the theory – the research about brains and so on – that’s all neutral enough. It is fairly easy to be dispassionate about it.
But when I think about the kindness, care and love I benefitted from, even though I was in a coma … I can’t easily think of human behaviour that can be further from neutral.
So, What’s Unconscious?
I was alive, in a coma. In effect, unconscious.
(I have no memory of these weeks whatsoever, so all of this I’ve learned from others.)
While I was in this coma my inter-cranial pressure was being monitored. At times it would increase significantly for no reason the doctors could readily fathom out.
My partner realized it was being me being touched that made it happen.
I’m not a ‘touchy-feely’ kind of person and I’ve never much liked being touched. The interesting thing is that this response was carried over while I was in a coma. I don’t know what that says, but it must say something.
Of course, the medical staff have to keep touching patients in a coma for all sorts of good, vital reasons. But once they became aware of how I was responding, they minimized contact as best they could and, naturally enough, that helped.
Informing the picture further, for hours and hours, day after day, week after week, my partner held my hand while was in the coma. That didn’t invoke the same rejection-response. Logically, in a coma and unconscious, surely one person’s touch is the same as another’s. But it would appear that’s not the case.
I find myself wondering if we know too little about the tangle of interconnections in our minds. Perhaps we don’t even know if they’re tangled.
Obviously, considering the brain involves a brain. That consideration has to be dispassionate to be worthwhile. The task is to detach oneself as one tries to understand. But that should only happen with caution, self-aware or otherwise.
Being dispassionate needs constant monitoring to prevent it veering into being inhuman. And that monitoring inevitably gets harder as familiarity sets in.