My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Jun 1

Not for Michaels

Category: Life,Opinions

Whenever Sara’s cat gets into something he shouldn’t she says, “no, not for kitties.” So, whenever I see a movie, particularly horror, that I know she wouldn’t like, I say, “no, that’s definitely not for Saras.” Normally, that phrase isn’t necessary for me. Movies and books don’t scare me, they don’t bother me at all. However, I wish to God somebody had said that to me before I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. At this point, anyone who hasn’t seen the movie and doesn’t want to know the ending should stop reading right now.

To put it bluntly, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly fucked me up like nobody’s business. Diving Bell is the true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, a man entirely paralyzed save for his left eye after a stroke. Much of the film is shot in the first-person, looking at the world through his eyes. Waking up in the hospital, the initial sense of confusion and utter disconnect, the realization that he can’t speak, the frustration of not being able to communicate, the loneliness and isolation, it’s all there and it’s captured perfectly. Too Goddamn fucking perfectly. It was like watching a gag-reel of the spectacularly worst moments of my entire life. It’s amazing how I’ve thought the exact same things as him in certain situations. I’m better off than him in that I can use a computer and when I woke up two Januarys ago, I definitely wasn’t surprised I couldn’t walk. Still, we share so many other experiences. Of course, there’s one experience we haven’t yet shared, he’s dead and I’m not. Right when he starts to get a little bit comfortable, right when he’s perfected the use of eye movements and the alphabet to communicate, he’s hit with pneumonia and dies. One evening he wakes up coughing, mucus pouring from his trach site. It’s such a disturbing image and I can’t seem to shake it. I actually started coughing while writing this, needed a suction really badly and immediately saw that image. It was like watching how I’m almost certainly going to die. I’m going to have some kind of acute respiratory failure and no vent or medicine will be able to help me. I’ll drown, I’ll suffocate, I’ll die. That movie gave me a bunch of images to go along with things I already worry over.

Obviously, I’ll get over it, Diving Bell will fade some, but not yet. I wanted to drown it out with brandy, but I know that is the worst possible thing to do. I’m better off writing and getting things done. That is exactly what what I’m doing.

5 comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Lori June 1st, 2008 9:13 pm

    This is going to make me have nightmares! You need to cleanse that from your mind with a little “Cool Runnings” or “Stir Crazy.” How about “The Full Monty.” Something!

  2. Nathan Herman June 2nd, 2008 10:50 pm

    When he started coughing, I just kinda went “Ah shit… this won’t end well”.

    I recommend watching Grosse Point Blank.

    Popcorn!

  3. sean June 5th, 2008 10:24 pm

    While watching your story on ‘This American Life’, I couldnt help but wonder why you dont use the same alphabetic-order as in The Diving Bell when you speak without a computer. Just curious.

    You are one awesomely brave soul. I just wish more people, with so many fewer odds against them, realized the importance of life like you (so I assume) do.

  4. michael June 7th, 2008 3:38 am

    I got used to my system before I saw Diving Bell. Also, that movie is evil.

  5. Alex August 16th, 2008 6:16 pm

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

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