Author: David C. Nutt
They call me a saint at the long term care facility. I go and sit exclusively with patients who are in irreversible comas. Sometimes I hold their hands. Sometimes I sit, as if in prayer with my forehead lightly touching their arm. Once I proved to the staff and families, I wasn’t some kind of freak or pervert, I was welcomed and loved by both. I suppose I am a freak, but not in the pop culture sense. I guess the best definition of what I am is parasite.
Any successful parasite lives in mutually beneficial symbiosis with its host. I am no different. When I sit with the “poor unfortunates” touch and “pray” over them what happens is I am transported into their realm. I get to be with them and the fantastic worlds their brains have constructed. If the wide world knew the actual truth of what life was like for a certain segment of comatose patients, well, let’s just say most rational folk would line up to be put in a coma.
Oh, the places I’ve been!
On Tuesdays I sit with nine-year-old Dillon who inhabits a world of talking animals to include dinosaurs. All the creatures there eat only one thing: apples. Apples that become exactly what you desire to eat. When I visit with him, he makes me appear as a friendly werewolf named Rolf. I sold my first book series, based on what I experienced there- it’s now considered a children’s fantasy classic on par with C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series.
On Wednesdays I sit with Carl, who was watching Lord of the Rings when he had a brain aneurism burst. He chose to stay in middle earth. There’s a lot of fighting, drinking, and whoring when I stay with him. My book series from that took me over the 20-million-dollar profit mark.
Then there’s Charlotte. She’s a grandma and her comatose world revolves around charity work with orphaned children. With Charlotte, I am Rev. James, the kindly but clueless Episcopal priest who solves murders with her. That became a five-season fan fave on A&E. Critics called me a genius for my ability to write outside my genre.
Recently, I began sitting with 20 year old Amanda. Her parents described her as a mousey, shy, and a brilliant young woman who loved horses and collected American Girl Dolls. Her parents feel guilty as they were constantly pressuring her to act more her age, get out and interact with her peers, maybe find a boyfriend or girlfriend and take some risks in her life. One of her beloved horses threw her. In Amanda’s world…well I can’t talk about it without blushing. She’s a six foot, five inch tall Amazonian Queen and I am her faithful male companion. I’ll just leave it at that. Don’t know what I am going to do with this one.
Friday through Sunday I write and rest. On Monday I go to the chapel at the care center and just sit and meditate. I clear my mind and at the edge of my awareness I hear it. The consistent, telltale sound of a respirator. Occasionally I hear an alarm. Once in a while, a trauma team of one kind or another rushes past. Funny thing, these are not sounds natural to the care center. Eventually, I come out of my meditations and visit with patient’s relatives and staff. I have led this life for quite sometime. Only lately I have started to wonder- could it be I am always here, and this is my ideal world?