This is a commentary about the slow lane, about the slowing of time since I suffered a severe brain injury while skateboarding with my dog. This is a blog about recovery; about our '82 VW Westfalia. It's about writing, surfing, camping, married life, bleeding ulcers that make you feel old at 32; about family, friends, and my dog Artie; it's about cruising in fourth gear, getting passed by every car and learning to appreciate every second of it.
Last night Aimee and I watched Food Inc., a documentary on the production of the food we eat. It didn't come as any surprise to see that Capitalism might have gotten the best of us and found its way to our food supply. I know its been there in the past, Sinclair wrote about it in The Jungle but it's here stronger than ever.
Halfway through the documentary, a food safety advocate was explaining the reason why she began her fight for more regulations in food production. That reason; the death of her two and a half year old son from e-coli. The family had bought hamburgers and twelve days later, the boy was dead. The mother said her boy was so thirsty in his hospital bed, nurses unable to give him water for fear he might drown, that he bit a chunk out of the pink sponge that nurses give patients to wet their mouth.
As she cried her way through the memory of her child's insatiable thirst, I fought to keep my own memories at bay. I couldn't. It was a dream, which turned out to be reality, that I had when I was in the hospital. I was under heavy sedation, I was hooked up to a ventilator, recovering from a recent tracheotomy, unable to drink because the water would fill my lungs. My arms were in restraints. I remember looking outside at a parking lot. It was sunny outside. I told the staff that they had the wrong person that I wasn't sick. I begged them to let me out so I could call my family, and things would be cleared up. They didn't believe me. I then remember asking for water. They said no. They gave me little pink sponges shaped like stars that were dipped in water. I remember biting one of them and sucking every last drop of moisture from it. Around that time, my wife and brother entered the room. I tried to tell them they were holding me against my will. I told them they wouldn't give me any water. They acted as if they couldn't hear me. I now realize they couldn't, because of the tubes and the drugs. I pointed to a water bottle. They gave me another pink star shaped sponge.
The dream lasted for days. To this day, especially last night as I listened to the story about the young boy's fight against e-coli, I remember that dream, that feeling of thirst. I have memories of looking at nurses and other patients drinks and begging for a sip. I remember another dream when a large glass of iced tea was placed at a table next to me, just out of reach.
All it took was a vision of a pink sponge to bring everything back. Those memories of a thirst I have never felt before, of only wanting a drop of water but not getting it. The most troubling thing about it, about hearing that story of a young boy and his loving parents watching him die all because of a hamburger is I couldn't stop thinking about myself. The unquenchable thirst has now turned to a unsatisfiable need to talk about my own journey, a journey filled with dreams that turned out to be real life.