|The Persistence of Memory|
The other night something woke me briefly, and I found myself in the middle of a series of events involving running away, fighting, rescuing, chasing, winning, losing - what? I have no idea. There was some kind of arena with a tall, arched colonnade. The place was brown - brown stone columns, brown ground, brown sky. I felt as though I was stuck in an episode of Star Trek.
Eventually I managed to persuade myself that I was awake, and this was a dream, and escape back into my bed, my duvet, my bedroom. I was able to force the brown landscape to leave me, and think in technicolour again.
We visited my mother yesterday; she was deeply asleep, so we went away and came back 20 minutes later. She was waking, confused, and cross with my father for standing in the middle of the ward shouting all night, and sleeping in another patient's bed, and hanging his jacket on the back of a chair. She was very angry with him for behaving so badly, upsetting the other patients, causing so much trouble. "You should behave yourself, and be more supportive".
This is her normal state on waking, and it is deeply distressing for my father to get all this thrown at him in a continuous angry rant.
I think that these are dreams and nightmares that have made their way into her real world. Once she gets stuck in this frame of mind she gets increasingly upset and fearful. To begin with, when I assured her that my father had been at home all night, and never come near the hospital, her reaction was to accuse me of thinking that she was going mad. This frightens her more; but eventually, as I talked to her, she began to consider the possibility that she wasn't mad and it might be a dream.
Once she has properly woken up (we have found that it is a really helpful if the nurses come and rearrange her pillows and generally shuffle her about) everything is OK again; the dream-state mother recedes and the real, lively, intelligent, sharp-witted, amusing mother emerges.
She has started "playing" (her word) with her fingers and toes, wriggling and flexing her good foot, straightening out her fingers (even though it is clearly painful), using her good leg to make her bad leg bend and stretch. This is the real person, now taking her recovery into her own hands, literally.
I swear, I swear, I truly swear that I saw, we all saw, that she wriggled the toes of her left foot. The nurse warned me that this might just be a "reflex reaction"; whatever it is, it is SOMETHING!