The Mind Readers
April 26, 2014 7:01 PM   Subscribe

Thanks for the nightmares.
posted by Behemoth at 7:17 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, given the kinda "locked in" situation we had with my dad (i.e. too incapacitated to communicate), this freaked me the hell out.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:31 PM on April 26, 2014

I can't even read that. :( which is bad because it is important stuff
posted by edheil at 9:22 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

For me, the real nightmare is anesthesia awareness.

If anything, the first link, while horrifying, also speaks of the resilience of the human spirit.

If nothing else, it's worth taking away the idea that people may be able to hear and see you, even if they are in states that suggest otherwise.

For anyone really fascinated by this, you might want to check out the book Stiff.
posted by agog at 9:30 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ya, what Kate describes about being aware of the treatment (pain etc) but unable to communicate is high on my list of heeby jeeby inducing worst case scenarios.

Scary stuff but noble work.
posted by chasles at 10:09 PM on April 26, 2014

Fascinating article. Thanks for posting this, Joe.
posted by homunculus at 12:32 AM on April 27, 2014

My sister OD'd herself in October. She wasn't found until days later. She collapsed on her arm and leg, cutting off circulation. The doctors said if (IF!) she survived, they would have to amputate. She left all her bottles out, lined up in a row, all the pills on all of them gone. It was clear this wasn't a cry for help. She sat there pretty much comatose. Very very little brain activity but for the stem, afaik. They had her on a respirator.

It's a complex story, due to family issues, and other such things, but my mother was there with her, along with her two children. I talked to my mom while they were there. Mom said they thought she could perceive them, she didn't know how conscious she was, but she said she noticed when they were near her, she breathed heavier, than if they had moved away. Whether it was a sense of grasping to them or anxiety or what, who knows. But mom had tested it and was sure that was the case. She felt she was clinging on when they were too close. She let me listen to her breathing and told her I loved her. Mom said when they decided to tell her it was ok to go, to not hang on for them, and they moved away, within a half hour, she had passed.

It could be coincidence, I don't know. I don't think she, at least with our current technology, if ever, would have survived in any state capable of self-care, let alone being fully cognizant of anything. But I do think she was, on some biophysical level, conscious of the room and the people within it, and the attachments of love she had to those around her in those final moments were important to her, and to hear the words said, maybe even if not understanding, but the empathic feeling on a purely emotive level, feeling that "It Is OK" probably helped a lot, and maybe brought her one last bit of peace that she never found in life.
posted by symbioid at 7:38 AM on April 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

Alfred Hitchcock presents: Breakdown (November 13, 1955).

Reading Minds -- Ian Parker, The New Yorker, January 20, 2003.
posted by 0rison at 7:01 PM on April 27, 2014

symbioid - what a beautiful story & I'm sorry for your loss.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:25 PM on April 28, 2014

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