"Dreams feel real while we're in them." - Cobb (Inception, 2010) For years and years I've often wondered: What if I never woke up from that coma? Would I live in that parallel universe for ever? Would I be forever young and not disabled? Would that, in fact, be a better life?
That parallel universe was sunny and warm, much like our world. It had the same streets, people and buildings… but I was different.
I was still a teenager there and never broke my neck.
I remember there was a grey building on top of the hill where I escaped.
Desperately running away from a group of people whose faces I still remember.
I ran for what seemed like 3 weeks from street to street, place to place, trying to get back into reality and couldn't find a way.
I somehow knew I was dreaming. I thought it would be all over if I couldn't wake up.
I tried to slap myself on the face, stomped my toes really hard and scream from the top of my lungs in the middle of a busy street. If Inception had been out back then, I would have tried to jump off a building and jolt myself back.
But nothing worked.
So I kept searching the streets for 3 long weeks. Behind every door. Inside every house.
There were no nights in that world. And I was too frightened to be tired.
In that other world I needed water, in the real world I was thirsty from dry hospital air. In that other world I was running and feeling hot, in the real world I was on life support with fever.
The faces of the people chasing me turned out to those of the doctors and nurses trying to keep me alive.
And the grey building on the side of the road was in fact Austin Hospital where they took me to perform procedures.
While in the coma, I didn't know any of this stuff.
All I knew was the desperation of trying to wake up from a long and terrible nightmare.
Little did I know the nightmare playing out in my real life would last even longer and many times more terrifying.
When this becomes your new reality, you have some pretty dark thoughts: if I knew, would I choose to wake up? If that was my new reality until eternity, who's to judge what’s real or not ?
I later learned that somewhere in the midst of this nightmare, my vital signs stopped for two whole minutes.
I look out of the window at the crystal blue sky, the blue sky I was given a second chance to see, I know, for that... I'm forever grateful!