Brain Case Part 3

November 10, 2009

Sitting in a case, day in and day out, no arms or legs…It’s like a parody of Johnny Got His Gun…with the exception that you can talk and hear people. I’d been in the case for about a year at this point, if I’m not mistaken.

I apologize if I get caught up in describing what it’s like to be in that state, but I get hung up on it quite easily. I feel the need to convey what it’s like, to get it out of my system. Everything about being disembodied is nightmarish, and I still feel a certain futility in describing it.

You have no sense of balance, for one thing; no ears. I would often feel like I was suffocating, because I had no lungs. Your brain is hard wired to receive these sensations. People often ask me if there’s a sense of having a “ghost body”, something akin to a phantom limb. No, there is no such sensation. Phantom limb sensation, as I understand it, is caused by the nerves of what’s left of the limb. It tells the brain that the hand or leg is there, so the brain says “Oh, ok.” This even though the brain can plainly see that there’s nothing there.

So, I’d spend my days dizzy and suffocating at first, till I learned to filter out those sensations. After a few months, I was fine, as far as coping with my brain trying to process sensations that weren’t there. After awhile the doctors stabilized those centers of my brain that were causing such sensations, and I didn’t have to filter it out. They only did this after it became apparent that the airline wasn’t going to come through anytime soon, in terms of finding me a body. The process of deadening those centers can cause permanent damage to a varying percentage of people, making it impossible to ever put a brain into a new body.

At times, I think it would have been better if I couldn’t see or hear anything, or speak. That way I wouldn’t have had anything to react to, and it would have been like I was in a very peaceful and dark place. It would have been a nice illusion, but honestly, I think that would have driven me insane. By the time they found a body for me, I’d have suffered terribly. Not that I didn’t suffer in other ways, but the isolation would have caused an emotional schism that I wouldn’t have recovered from.

I would occasionally protest my condition when I’d get a visit from a doctor. I’d say things like “this is inhumane, you should find a body for me now, what kind of doctor are you to let me suffer”. That kind of crap. The doctors sympathized. They were good people but they were actually legally restricted from doing the body transplant pro bono. In fact they had signed papers stating that they would not do this, in my specific case, as long as the airline was investigating its legal recourse in the matter.

I still don’t get all the intricacies of the legal bullshit. What it did was create a lock on any kind of procedure that would allow me to actually get placed with a new body. When you’re waiting, every day, for somebody to walk through the door and tell you that they’ve got good news, and day after day it doesn’t happen…and you’re stuck staring at a tiny room, with only your thoughts to keep you company…I’m just trying to make it as clear as possible what it was like for me, and I don’t mean to get all dramatic. I’m just trying to get it out of my system.

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