Half my life ago, I was in the hospital recovering from brain injuries. After coming out of a coma, I found myself unable to walk, talk, or put together logical strings of thought. The doctors anticipated that I would be in the hospital for another three months and, even then, with limited capacity (to walk, to talk, or to put together thoughts).
“How horrible!” people say, now. “That must have been scary.”
Yes and no: Yes in that I wouldn’t wish an extended stay in the hospital on anyone; no in that there are benefits to confinement, to a reduction in choices. Lift your leg. Bend your elbow. Hold my hand. TV on or off? I could handle these kinds of commands and decisions. I did what I was told, and I did what I had to do to get better without overthinking or overanalyzing. Never once did I ask myself, “Yes, ok, but what does this mean? What is the significance of the balance beam and my inability to walk across it right now?”
That lack of self-awareness allowed me to give up control for a bit. I was able to put myself and my fate in the hands of people I trust.
The question now is, could I do that again without being knocked unconscious first?