Girlfriend in a Coma…
It’s Tuesday morning. I know this because someone on the radio, playing nearby, told me. I’m fairly sure it’s the month of June and the year is 2010. If it is, then that means I’ve been in this coma of mine for a little under six years.
Nobody really knows whether people who are in a coma can hear what’s going on around them.
Apparently, according to my doctor anyway, there have been those who’ve woken up and claimed they could hear in their coma state but this has never been one hundred percent verified.
Had my predicament been classified as me being in a vegetative state, the consensus is that hearing is possible, likely even.
That’s not me though. I’m full on coma. Coma, coma, coma, coma, coma chameleon. You come and go (you don’t), you come and go (you don’t).
I’m in a coma but I can hear every word.
I hear the nurses saying how cruel it is that I’m kept alive like this. I’ve even heard them say I’m a waste of a bed.
Mostly they just tell me about their lives.
Everyday stuff that people who aren’t in a coma involve themselves with. They complain about their boss, bitch about their colleagues, share intimate details about their personal relationships and tell me what they’re having for lunch.
I think some of them consider me a friend. I am a good listener after all. They know I’m never too busy and I don’t judge (I do actually but I’m working on it).
I hear my doctor showing me off to his latest batch of medical students. He’s a good man and I know he’s done his best for me these last few years but, when he starts explaining the ins and outs of all things my coma, I don’t half feel like a prize poodle.
Some of these medical students don’t seem suited to the profession either. One of them openly wept as my doctor shared the background to my case. I’m well aware that it’s a particularly sad state of affairs but, come on sunshine, grow a backbone.
Alex will be in soon. He comes most days. We lived together before I ended up here. I’m his girlfriend in a coma.
Although I can hear, I definitely can’t see so I’m beginning to find it hard to remember what Alex looks like.
On a good day my mind’s eye has him as the handsome chap someone with my rose like beauty would regularly attract. When the days aren’t so good I try not to picture him at all. Sometimes it’s just easier that way.
All this has been very hard on Alex. There is no instruction manual for our current relationship status and I know he struggles such a lot, maybe even more than I do.
I do know one thing. He doesn’t stay with me out of any sense of duty. Alex loves me with every fibre of his very being. He always did, he always has, he always will. It breaks my fucking heart.
I love him as well. It would be the reason I’d want to die if it wasn’t for one thing that remains unsaid. I’d want to die so that he can be free, to live his life, to love his life.
Death is not an option though. Not until I tell him something of the utmost importance. For that I’m going to have to wake up. This is my focus, although I’m clearly not making much progress which is irritating in the extreme.
I’m Sophie by the way. I probably should have introduced myself earlier but I do have a habit of allowing my coma to define me.
Despite appearances, I am more than just a girl in a coma who doesn’t say much.
As I alluded to earlier, I’m a red haired beauty with enough self confidence to know that’s true. My imperfections are part of me and I’ve learned not to let them bother me too much.
Some would describe me as an extrovert but, although there’s some truth in that, much of the real me always preferred to be in more peaceful surroundings than at the wild parties I used to frequent.
I was happiest on my own or just with Alex. I never cared much about what we were doing when it was the two of us. Just being with Alex was enough.
Before I adopted the ‘being fed through a tube’ diet, my favourite food was cheese and pickle sandwiches. I also liked eating Sugar Puffs straight from the packet. A spoon, bowl and milk were always deemed unnecessary accessories. I’m sure the Honey Monster would have approved.
I worked as a school teacher, although I’d begun to love that less before coma came for me. It had become less about the children and more about paperwork, targets and budgets. In other words, boring, time consuming nonsense.
Music was probably my first love. I have eclectic tastes, which does include; ‘The Smiths’. I often sing ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ to myself when Alex visits. I know he’s never wanted to murder or strangle me like the lyrics suggest, but I am his girlfriend in a coma so I think I’m hilarious. I don’t get out much.
Anyway, enough about me. To the matter in hand. Waking up so I can tell Alex he’s not responsible for me being in a coma. He thinks he is, a lot of other people believe he is as well, but I know he’s absolutely not.
The misplaced guilt he carries round is killing him, it’s killing me. I need to tell him the truth.
Wake up Sophie, wake up Sophie, wake up Sophie, wake up Sophie.
This ‘mind over matter’ lark is not all it’s cracked up to be.
I watched a film once called Awakenings. It was about a doctor who treated a number of patients who, after a suffering from a disease I don’t remember the name of, had been left in a catatonic state for decades.
A particular drug, again I don’t remember the name of it, brought some of them temporarily ‘back to life’. They were able to wake up, move around and communicate. In the end it was only temporary and they all eventually returned to their original state.
I know their condition wasn’t the same as mine but I’d give anything just for five minutes where I could speak to Alex and make him see the truth. After that, death can have me. If I have to, I’d even accept spending the rest of my life stuck in this coma. I just need five minutes.
He’s here. My hearing is so finely tuned these days that the second or two he stops breathing when he first enters my coma domain is deafening. I bet he’s not even aware he does it.
I’ve long since added it to my list of things to berate him about in the ‘normal life’ daydreams I have to pass the time.
Leaving the toilet seat up, failure to empty the dishwasher, offering advice when all I want is for him to listen and his annoying habit of temporarily stopping breathing during times of stress all leave him staring down the barrel of Sophie’s gun.
I never actually shoot him though. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I love him far too much to pull the trigger, even in my daydreams.
Did I just say that? I don’t half make myself cringe sometimes.
It’s true though.
So why did I jump?
To be specific, why did I throw myself down the stairs?
Even after all this time, I can’t really offer a proper explanation as to why. I wasn’t depressed, I hadn’t been considering harming myself in any way and I didn’t even know I was going to do it until a split second before I actually did.
I was happy.
It’s this that provides the only reason I can give for doing what I did. My happiness scared me. I didn’t know how to be happy so I pressed the self destruct button.
I was happy but I wasn’t a happy person.
Does that make sense?
I’ve been thinking about it for nearly six years and I’m not sure it completely does for me so I completely understand if you need some time to get your head around it.
My life was in the best place it had ever been. I loved and was loved, I had a future to be excited about and there was plenty of cheese and pickle in the fridge.
And yet I still flung myself towards an uncertainty that became my coma reality, without so much as one thought, let alone a second one.
Where I really fucked up, even more than the part where I ended up in a coma, was not being fully up to speed on the statistics around staircase based incidents.
If I had been, I’d have been aware that considerably more people accidentally end up at the bottom of the stairs than deliberately throw themselves down them.
Where the person at the bottom of the stairs can’t provide a reason for being there, generally due to things like death or comas, then ‘accident’ becomes the default diagnosis.
Once we’re dealing with an accident, it’s not unnatural to look around for contributory factors. Unfortunately this leads us directly to the door of my beautiful, innocent, Alex.
Do you remember my list of things I daydream about scolding Alex over?
Leaving up the toilet seat makes the cut even though, in reality, he never did this. What I don’t include was his custom of leaving his gym bag at the top of the stairs so he wouldn’t forget it when he left for work in the morning.
Why he habitually chose the top of the stairs, rather than the bottom or, even better, by the front door, you’d have to ask him. When I used to ask, he’d say it was just the place that worked best for him.
Except, on that particular day, he didn’t take his bag. He walked right past it and left the house.
Whether that was deliberate, as he’d decided to give the gym a miss, I don’t know but what I absolutely am clear about is that I didn’t trip over it.
It did dislodge from its position. Maybe I knocked it as I tumbled, it was found half way down the stairs, but it’s not the reason I’m in a coma now, neither is Alex.
But of course, he thinks he is so I’m sure you can now understand why I have to wake up?
So I did.
Not that particular Tuesday, when I first started communicating with whoever the fuck you are.
Or what you are.
Or am I just talking to myself?
I woke up a few months later. On a Thursday.
Alex was holding my hand at the time. In the end it was his willpower that triumphed. He quite simply loved me until I awoke. The power of his love finally defeated my coma.
Love 1 Coma 0.
Coma, your boys took one hell of a beating.
Obviously I was left with some tricky questions to answer when I explained the truth behind the day I ended up at the bottom of the stairs.
Fortunately, people tend to tread carefully around someone who’s been unconscious for more than two thousand days.
I’m not hiding from it though. I want to get help to understand why I did what I did. I never want to put myself in that kind of situation again. I never want to put Alex through something like that again.
Especially now we’re getting married.
So this story has a happy ending?
It does, my life is almost perfect.
Almost, but not quite.
I can’t believe how much more expensive cheese and pickle sandwiches are in the year 2010.
Alex really does leave the toilet seat up now.
Did you miss my last post? Link below.