Drug Returns the (Almost) Dead to Life
I can’t help but think of that scene in THE PRINCESS BRIDE where Billy Crystal’s Miracle Max proclaims that Wesley is not dead but “mostly” dead. There it was funny, and in the movies–and on paper–it’s intriguing, this concept of a human body being almost–but not quite–dead. In reality, though, it kinda creeps me out a little bit of a lot. I remember watching this documentary on Investigation Discovery (90% of the time, if I’m watching television, the set is tuned to ID.) about this guy who was bludgeoned to death with an axe. Just enough of his brain remained intact, though, to keep his heart pumping, and he got up and started walking around in some grotesque pantomime of life. Creeeeepy. (The guy did eventually keel over instead of developing a thirst for blood or a taste for brains, but still.) A snake getting its head chopped off and then crawling away, or a decapitated chicken running around flapping its wings. Creepy, creepy, creepy. I remember going fishing with my dad when I was a little boy. Afterwards he was cleaning the fish for supper, and he dropped the severed head of one of the fish into a bucket. I looked down and saw the fish’s gills still working and its mouth opening and closing. Skeeved me the hell out, I tell ya!
People who suffer brain damage, who exist in a state of “minimal consciousness,” are more to be pitied than skeeved by. (Still freaks me out a little, though.) Could drugs like the sleep aid Ambien help people like this, actually waking them up? There does seem to be some evidence to this effect, for a small percentage of the brain-dead or nearly brain-dead.
Ambien ain’t helping that guy who got his head bashed with an axe, though.