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My Coma and The Real


Eighteen years ago I was in a five-month coma and I think that I still might be in a coma.


The neurosurgeons called what I had a ‘waking’ coma. I remember nothing of that time except my dreams – to this day! Pop culture films show the sleeping coma pretty exclusively. My experience is more like in the film The Matrix. Afterwards, everything was different for me. It was like I took Morpheus’ ‘red pill’. The limitations of my body are extensive. My body alterations are understandable and at the same time weird.


Reality is a scientific concept. I do not have a conflict with straddling possibilities. I do not disassociate from the events in front of me, they touch me deeply. It is more like I have an open mind. Did you know that 99.9999999% of your body is empty space? It is a scientific fact that we are basically ghosts. If you wonder how I can manage bizarre possibilities, I could ask you the same thing.


Quantum Physics and Popular Culture seem to use different languages to examine or question our reality. There are many theories out there that examine wide-ranging timelines and reality, like simulation theory which is very Matrix-y in that reality might be computer generated and something other than what we perceive. Out there might not match in here. I often think that I might actually be in a bed somewhere.


I think that questioning reality often challenges what we perceive to be real. The film creator, Quentin Tarantino often uses alternate outcomes to historical or ‘real’ situations tossing our perception of facts like a salad. In ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Sharon Tate survives but she was killed in our history. Alternate endings are a hallmark of many of his films which do question reality, and the ‘what ifs’ are often a central theme. For me, the ‘what ifs’ range from picking a different hospital, doctor, day etc.


Certain aspects of physics like ‘the many worlds’ theory in quantum mechanics examine the nature of reality. The ‘what ifs’ in ‘the many worlds’ theory all exist in different worlds and universes. What if I went down that street? What if I married someone else? Every decision you make splits off into a different reality where you made a different choice. There are an infinite amount of worlds and yous. In one world my coma would not have existed and I would have no questions about awakening.


Ideas about ‘waking up’ are not stable or secure at all. When you are in a dream do you know that you are dreaming? Many films address the varied possibilities of the dream world. For instance, ‘Inception’ where in a dream-induced reality you can accomplish certain goals. Or, TV shows like ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ where in one episode her world of Vampires and other paranormal entities exist only in her dream world in a delusion. We seem to have the drive to understand our reality.


Most of my dreams involved ‘nature’ and all of them respected our physical laws, for example, I could not fly. The dreams were my reality which makes this reality all the more suspect. Over many days I regained consciousness. A physiotherapist said that I was still coming out of the coma. Great. A world-wide pandemic certainly feels dream-like, eh? Donald Trump as president?


That I might awake into a different reality is not only an option but a valid option. What I am experiencing might sound like a cool sci-fi movie but it is more sci than fi.

© 2022 by Romy Shiller. All rights reserved.

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