Apr 1, 2009

In the Wake of the Red Witch

My sister is essentially a one woman Titanic - disaster follows her (and everyone around her) like day follows night. An "addictive" personality, she might have been called "demon possessed" back in the day. She's my personal Mary Magdalene, always ready to heave a monkey wrench of outrageous drama, each one worse than the last.

The latest episode began one week ago with a call from Harborview Hospital, informing me that sis was in emergency, on life support. She'd been found (after a mysterious 911 call) at home, dead. Heart stopped, not breathing. The Medics were able to revive her and she was rushed to probably the best hospital on the planet for that kind of thing. To make a long story short: emergency, heart stoppage due to alcohol/drug interaction, potential brain damage (coma, vegetative state), calls to the parents, they fly in, stay with us, sis makes dramatic recovery and is now resting peacefully. God... what a week.

The interesting thing to report from a gosporn POV: The day after sis woke up, she had absolutely no short-term memory. When asked the year, she said 1999. Like Prince and the Matrix - it's always 1999 - party as if...

She recognized us, and she could talk, but it was like a computer with no access to the memory files - HAL right before shutdown: Daisy, Daisy give me an answer do...

You could tell her why she was in the hospital and ten minutes later she'd demand to be taken home (though she didn't actually know where that was) because she felt physically fine, and you had to go through the whole thing all over again. It was frustrating for her and for us, and she would cry and get really P.O'd, which was totally understandable. Next day, she had recovered some memory, and her hellish behavior was transformed into smiles.

I found the experience fascinating (in a Spock kind of way) because there was a Star Trek Enterprise episode where Captain Archer (synching with 2001: A Space Odyssey's Bowman and Contact's Arroway) is infected with a disease that prevents him from developing long-term memories. So every day is a literal brand new day to Archer, and T'Pol, his Vulcan caregiver, has to tell him his entire history in 18 hours, all the while understanding that he'll not remember a single word the following day.

If we see Archer as "man" and T'Pol as angel/spirit guide/alien, then the story resonates for me. Every human being is born with long-term memory disorder. We don't know where we come from, not really. So we listen to various T'Pols (representing "caregiver" belief systems) and we hang on to this or that story, from Darwin to the Pope, from Kirby to the Freemasons. Truth is, we don't REALLY know, and when presented with the latest prophet who gives the appearance of knowing, we tend to follow along. It's a remarkably inefficient and awkward system, tending to almost instant error. Haven't we all played "telephone"? Or T-pole?

In a perfect universe, we'd all know, in the core of our Being, where we came from. Preachers, gurus and talking heads would be entirely obsolete:

No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' 
 because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. 
 "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." --Jeremiah 31:34

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. --Ephesians 4:14

No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. --Hebrews 8:11

Speaking of Prince, I want to give a shout out to German porn star Logan McCree, who has covered his entire body with the symbol of he who has no name.


Christopher Knowles said...

Damn, that's tough. My heart goes out to you, brother.

Devin said...

I second Christopher's thoughts Michael! do they have any way of knowing if she will be ok longterm? Very interesting post -this kind of reminded me of a bizarre dream I had-musta been about a year ago before I decided that mixing booze with pain pills wasn't the best idea in the world.When my benefits were cut in March 08 I went thru a period of where normally calm little me was filled with rage-but it didn't have anywhere to go-not even at Nando-haha. Well for a period of weeks I drank more vodka with more pillz than normal -a few nights I vomited and it left the most disgusting "pill" taste in my mouth even after rinsing 3 or 4 times. The last time for me was one night when I had thrown back one or two more drinks than normal -I got into bed-instant bedspin and I thought "o shit-here it comes again" By some miracle I managed not to get sick that night-BUT-I dreamt -I was in kind of a hospital situation and I could hear -then see these guys -couldn't really tell because of these bizarre masks -very futuristic looking they were wearing-and they said "Hurry-he's waking up-he's waking up!" After the "dream" was over I could not get over the feeling -for hours perhaps-that I had OD'd and that was what "death" was like. Needless to say that is the last time I ever abused pills and booze-actually the incident turned me into kind of a teetotaler-since then over the months I have prob had 4 12 oz beers-and it's probably been 3 months since the last one of those -wouldn't even had had those-but I was in social situations which always make me edgy if there is a lot of people I don't know-sorry to be so over-wordy as always-I hope your sister gets better very soon-best to you and Varen also!!

Devin said...

Forgot to thank you for the pic;-)

Michael said...

Thanks guys. Last week when the hospital called, I guess I sounded like "Oh, what is it this time?" because the lady on the other end said something about my tone of voice, like calls from emergency happen all the time around here!

She seems to have made a miraculous recovery, brain scans show minimal damage. Her memory improves every day, and considering how bad it could have been we're all extremely relieved.

Dev, I'm really glad you are not mixing pills and booze anymore. You're dream was so "alien abduction"!

David Stewart said...

Truly sorry to read of what your sister and family have been dealing with - both now and the ongoing struggle - best wishes to all for continued strength Michael.

These memory discussions are very interesting. Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine had her husband suddenly collapse - they still aren't sure why; not a stroke and they are awaiting the results of a scan . . . but he experienced something I have never heard of before - when he came too he was convinced that it was 2010; they have just had a new grandson and he was insisting that the boy was a year old now . . . it would be amazing, and not to mention very Star Treky, to think that he had experienced a year pass while he was out - if it was a full experience like that we'll never know as now that he has recovered he can not remember any of his delusion.
. . . BUT if he does remember any investment tips for the coming year, I will be sure to let you all know.

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