Wellness Forum by Nathan Kagan

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May 7, 2017

what is real?

Alternate realities.

He was laying in this hospital bed pondering, thinking about what was going on. He vaguely remembered his life, was it a dream maybe? The botanic garden, the colors, sunshine, flowers. Was it just a dream? What is our life, our reality? Reality? What is that-our reality? Who knows. To him, now, it all seemed not that real, maybe a product of his wishful imagination.

He was laying in this room and that was his reality now-this little world-the 4 walls, his bed surrounded by some blinking clicking stuff, his wife…

Maybe this is just a bad dream and he will wake up at home, in his bed, or on the couch just dreaming. Bright day outside, wife working in the garden, birds singing, Luke, his dog, sleeping and probably dreaming of being young and chasing rabbits.

He liked this thought. He was scared of this dark room, of being sick, of not knowing whether he was awake or dreaming.

What is wrong about dreaming, being deep inside your mind, not seeing all this scary stuff?

He glanced at the TV -some show that he did not know, nor cared to know. Why is it in black and white? Something wrong with his eyes? Or the stupid TV is broken?

He looked around with more attention. The things around him- they looked different, not the way he remembered from last time. Was it in his dream or was it real last time in this room? This room? He wasn’t sure anymore. He wasn’t sure of his memory.

Fear crept in. What is wrong with his head? He decided to try to sleep. It will be better in the morning, all will clear up.

On and off he drifted to sleep-lucid dreams, hearing noises, nurse coming and doing something with him and equipment. Eventually, finally, it was getting lighter outside. He could see buildings, cars moving in silence. Something strange about these buildings, the cars. What was it, he tried to analyze, what is bothering him about this picture?

He now could see the room. Again, something was not quite right. What was it? Colors or the lack of colors?

The picture on TV was still black and white-maybe the TV was broken. But other stuff-people, voices, even the air felt strange. Holy shit, I must be losing my mind he panicked.

His wife woke up, moved around, turned to him.

It was her all right. Same women he loved. And yet… He could not quite put his finger on the strangeness, some nuances.

Suddenly he felt lost. He remembered being lost in his dreams, many times. Strange and desperate feeling when you recognize the place – kind of – but at the same time you are lost, have no idea where you are. In his dreams, he was waiting for his wife to find him. But now, here she was and yet he felt lost.

Maybe because of this anxiety, maybe medications, but his mind was working feverishly building explanations. Of course, the first and easiest one was that he was losing it, his mind, his touch with the real world.

Real world-what is it?

There are many theories about our reality, our universe. Multiverse, infinite number of realities. The theory that everything that happened, or could happen is already there and one’s every choice moves you to a certain reality. Realities are constantly crossing – meeting and separating again. That is why the butterfly effect is negligible between realities.

But, he thought, maybe some extreme circumstances cause not a smooth transition but a jump between realities, creating a ripple, a detectable jump.

Maybe his cardiac arrest caused the jump and he is able to detect it.

One thing he knew-no matter what he said trying to describe his feelings, his observations, no one would take it seriously. Most likely he would get more medications.

Do some of these people see anything different, strange about him? If yes, do they just dismiss it as not real? Are they wondering about it or blaming their imagination for this “nonsense”?

He was getting better. Strong enough to walk with a nurse. He talked to the nurses during these walks and noticed some strange unfamiliar words and expressions. He kept this to himself. They noticed it too in me, he was sure of this but he knew the nurses would attribute it to him being an immigrant or not well yet.

In a way, it has been exciting to imagine or maybe to know that he actually travels between realities. An adventure. I don’t care if this is happening just in my head. For him it was real, it was his secret, even from his wife.

The nurse looked at this strange patient, still in a coma. He was delivered to the E.R. after cardiac arrest and doctors managed to revive him and he has been improving.

His breath was deep and even. All vital signs were decent. And yet, he was still in coma.

If there are an infinite number of possible realities, he thought, then I died in some of them. That was an unsettling idea. How would this jumping between realities work? You are sick and this is a stupid idea, he decided, you shouldn’t think about it anymore.

But he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Are these realities subjective and exist for each person? If I die in one reality does that mean this reality ceases to exist?

The nurse could not understand what is happening to this patient and why.

His breathing was getting shallow, vital signs were slowing down. He was dying peacefully, in deep sleep.

The nurse called the doctor. They looked at each other. The doctor was at loss. There was no reason for this. And yet, they are losing this patient.

Finally, he was strong enough and was released from the hospital. He was sick of this place though he could not complain about the service that had been excellent.

He hoped that once he was home and back to normal, all these strange things would go away. All this nuanced strangeness will disappear. And that these dreams mixed with reality, all unfamiliar and yet very familiar – will not be so scary and strange anymore.

Little by little, life returned to normal at home. He slept better, strange dreams that were so real almost disappeared. He enjoyed his wife’s company, kids and grand kids.

And yet, sometimes these strange thoughts, weird feelings would come back and he felt strangely lost. He would push this strangeness away.

The Loop

Author: Nathan
April 27, 2017


 

Possibilities

Dreams, coma and alternate realities.

He tried to look around. Small dimly lit room. Clicking noises, something humming. Flickering. His bed – metal, like a hospital bed. Hospital? What the hell? Window to his right. It was dark outside. He saw his wife looking at him. Where am I, what is going on? Why? Why are we here, not at home? She just looked at him. “You got sick.” Let’s go home he said and started to get up, turned to put his feet on the floor. And he noted some tubes inserted in his body. “What happened to me?” he finally asked? “You got sick and will have to stay here in the hospital for a while.”

But he had a hard time concentrating, keeping his thoughts together. He felt dizzy and thoughts were coming and going in no particular order. He couldn’t remember his questions and her answers. So he kept trying to get up and she softly would explain again where he was. The door was open on the left and the light was coming into the room. He saw TV on the opposite wall in front of him – it was on but no sound. Some show he did not recognize but it made no difference. It was all foggy and unreal – the room, the light, TV, him being here. He would fall asleep, wake up and sleep again. Somebody came through the door – the nurse. She did something with his body, looked at some displays and left. His wife was unfolding the couch and laid down on it.

Little by little the darkness outside retreated and he could see the buildings, the street, cars moving. He did not hear any sound through the windows and all this looked like a silent movie. He did not recognize the street. He tried to get up and go to the toilet several times but again his wife softly stopped him trying to explain that he had a catheter. In a few minutes he tried again and was stopped with the smile and patient explanation. Little by little the world came into focus and his mind started working. But still the whole thing – hospital, being sick, nurses coming and going. Faces of friends, relatives and his kids and grand kids were like a blur. Surreal.

Days went by. Time was stretching and flying by his semiconscious mind poisoned by medications. He dosed off during the day, woke, ate and looked at TV without really watching it. The world outside was getting dark and lighting up in rapid succession. He knew that he did not like any of this. His wife always by his side was his anchor, his connection to the world. He felt the need to be near her at all times, he felt lost when she was not near him. The doctor allowed him to get up and walk with the nurse and that helped his body and mind to get stronger. His wife told him what happened. Cardiac arrest – his heart stopped while they were in the bedroom. She saved his life.

He thought about it, wondering about his miraculous survival and wondering if what he was seeing and experiencing now was real. He remembered science fiction stories and parallel universes. His imagination was playing out different versions. What if he was really in the other universe and just didn’t know, did not see the subtle differences?

Finally the doctors allowed him to go home. His kids came to help. They all walked to the car helping and supporting him on the way. As they drove he was looking at the buildings, the streets, trying to notice if there was anything different, strange about what he was seeing. He could not see any differences from what he remembered but he still was not sure. He thought that memory loss would prevent him from noticing anything different.

It took him a while to get used to normal life again. Some things were hard. Especially at night. He could not sleep normally in bed and in the dark room. Panic and anxiety were choking him. He would get up and walk, try to sleep in his chair, on the couch. Drink some tea. Trying to calm himself. He could not sleep close to his wife or hug her in bed – he did not have enough air. He would sit in his chair and count hours, waiting for the morning to come. Pills helped some but he had a hard time getting up in the morning. He felt better during the day. And all this time since he woke up, there was a nagging feeling, almost subconscious, about being in coma, still laying in hospital bed, about the reality of this world. What if all his life after cardiac arrest, life after death, is just his dream? And if it is true, what difference does it really make? After all, we don’t really know what reality is.

But as time passed he was getting used to the daily routine. Company of friends, spending time with kids and grand kids. And his wife, his life companion, always by his side. Almost back to normal. But he still has a hard time planning ahead. When THIS happened he did not feel, he did not know what happened to him Until he woke up 3 days later in the hospital. What if he had not woken up? He wouldn’t even know that he lived and died. But… How does he know he is really alive? How do we know what “really” being conscious is? Do we realize that in deep sleep a dream is not “real”? The spring came. Birds, the sun, the flowers. Thunderstorms and winds – he lives in Chicago after all. All this can end without warning, in the blink of an eye. And that scared him. But he tried to push away the thought. The weather was great. The Botanic Garden was waking up from winter slumber. It is a different atmosphere in such places, maybe because a certain type of people go there. Bright blue sky and, emerging fragile and yet unstoppable, the awakening of all kinds of plants. It soothes the soul. He was just wondering around with his wife with nothing in particular on his mind.

He tried to look around. Small dim lit room. Clicking noises, something humming. Flickering. His bed – metal, like a hospital bed. Hospital? What the hell? Window to his right. It was dark outside. He saw his wife looking at him. “Where am I, what is going on? Why?” Often we do not remember our deep sleep dreams. Maybe there is a reason

Dream and reality.

Realities

November 30, 2015

The last leaf

Holding on

I am looking through the window

All is gray, wet and cold.

Droplets bombard the glass.

Black tree skeleton on the low heavy gray sky

Air is mixed with water dust and feels cold even from inside.

It makes my room feel warm and cozy.

Anticipation of winter in the air

Nature is ready for a long slumber.

Sleepy trees are shaking off last yellow and brown leafs

I noticed a single leaf

Still there, clinging to the black branch

Refusing to let go

Autumn

Autumn

The last leaf, it looked cold and lonely

The tree doesn’t want it anymore

But for the leaf it is so hard to let go

It was born there

There is a desperate hope, an illusion

The last leaf

It does not want to die

It does not know-it is dead already

But the tree knows.

The spring will come again

It will wake up to a new bright sunshine

Sun will paint the sky blue

Eagerly anticipating summer

The tree will grow new leafs, a new beautiful coat

The last leaf does not know that it is dead already

It is holding on

It feels that the Universe will end if it let go.

A gust of wind

The leaf falls now indistinguishable from from others

Nobody noticed this drama except me

Life goes on

Nothing changed in the universe

There will be another stubborn leaf next fall

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