I mentioned that soon after waking from my weeklong sedation, that my experiences did not always fully reflect reality. Particularly during the night, my sense of location and time just might have taken a turn into dreamland. Fortunately, this never took an adverse turn, so it’s pretty easy to laugh about this now.
After going over the caring bridge journal and guestbook entries again, I’ve worked out at least some correction to my dreamlike memories. It’s impossible for me to capture all of them, but I have several here which I think are amusing.
Sleeping by the Castle
The first one occurred the first night after I woke up. That night my friends Willie and Meg were staying with me, although they were not visible to me for some reason. Instead what I remember were groups of workers building a set with Cinderella’s castle on it. It was blue, and there was a lot of fake snow and clouds around. Also, the activity around the bed made for me just outside the castle made sleeping difficult.
Obviously, no stage and no castle were in my room.
Dad takes me to SF
A couple of days after the "castle" experience, my father picked me up and drove me around San Francisco. We were going to visit some friends and run some errands, I thought. Then we ended up in someone’s kitchen, with him talking to some people in the next room, while I remained laid on a gurney, waiting while they spoke.
In actuality, he’d come along while I was attempting to see a specialist for my eye in another part of the hospital. I have no idea why I felt I was being driven around in a car.
Floating in the River with May
I had surgery on my face about ten days after the accident. The night before I remember being restless, possibly apprehensive about the surgery. My friend May greeted me upon my arrival into a basement room in which we were to sleep in individual boats. When we woke up the boats were to be sent out to sea, so this was some sort of weird ‘christening’ for them. I simply could not settle down though. The idea of sleeping on a boat is relaxing, but I stirred May awake several times throughout the night. Eventually, she had to get up and go to work.
I was certain that May had asked a nurse to take me over to a small, pastoral-looking office where I saw my friends Lynn and Randy. I was very surprised to see them, and remember thinking wow, I didn’t know they worked here. I recall asking a bunch when the doctor would be in to operate, and was very surprised to hear that it was three or four in the morning. I’d been sure it was light when I’d been outside!
Obviously, I’d never left my room. No boats, no water, no outside, no daylight. The friends I’d been with were in my room, looking after me.
Gittin’ Into Surgery, then Hassling Amy and Bob
The next day, we waited forever for the surgery. I was second behind someone else, whose operation seemingly went on forever. When they finally wheeled me in, I felt I was placed on a conveyer belt. I rolled from station to station while they tuned the machines necessary for the surgery, and I remember hearing someone call me over loud music playing in the background. Then I went to sleep.
I woke up in front of a computer, at a desk looking out over a nice lawn, with the sun setting. I did some work for a while. Suddenly, I couldn’t see anything. I heard my friends Amy and Bob talking, and asked them if I could work on a laptop. No, sorry. Then I tried to get up. Nope. I remember talking with them a lot, and getting lots of very polite ‘no’ answers to my requests. They were so nice about it, but man it was a bummer.
I don’t know what to make of the surgery stuff, but it turns out I’d woken up late at night with Amy and Bob in my room. My eyes were stitched shut following surgery (which they didn’t know!). And I wasn’t remembering that I was in the hospital when asking to get up, work, etc.
Running into John and Nathaniel
One morning, I thought I’d woken up very early and wandered off to do some work. It felt good getting this done, so then I took a walk over to a huge room with bunches of chairs set up to look out at a meadow, splashed in sunlight. After meditating on the grass for a while, I looked over and noticed my friends John and Nathaniel sitting next to me.
"Hey guys – what are you doing here?" I asked. They explained that they were here visiting me. We chatted for a while longer, and I remember saying something about the sunshine. "Um – Paul, it’s 3 am" was the reply. I couldn’t believe it. How could they explain the light outdoors?
No need to explain this one. John and Nathaniel overlapped their shifts looking after me at 3 am … in my room.
What Does It All Mean?
Honestly, I think this reflected the medication, and perhaps the nature of my injury. The weird thing here is that often, my friends were inserted into a dream’s image. I’ve got no real idea what they heard, as I’ve seldom spoken about these dreams with them. Now, I find most of these stories amusing. The possible exception is the one in which my eyes are stitched shut – that one sounds sad to me.
There are more too. For example, I imagined sleeping two nights in the rear corner of a restaurant where parties were going on, tended by my nurse Dana (herself a former marathoner). Or being steered back to my bed in an old attic by my friend Max. And so on.