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Dreams on Life Support

Dreams on Life Support

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Published by Simone Barros
A short story selection from a collection of entitled, "from the Belly to the Brain" to be published the fall 2010 written by Simone Barros, Stochastic Artworks, LLC. (Copyright 2009)
A short story selection from a collection of entitled, "from the Belly to the Brain" to be published the fall 2010 written by Simone Barros, Stochastic Artworks, LLC. (Copyright 2009)

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Published by: Simone Barros on May 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/05/2010

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Dreams On Life Support
By Simone V. BarrosThe doctor and nurse enter the sterile hospital room where machines hum, buzz and beep the factuality of their existence overpowering the faint soundsof sighs, coughs and wheezing. The human sounds are not so certain of their existence. The nurse tends to everything from the IVs to bedding. The doctor asks, "How's the patient?" I can't help but think, "You know better than me. You,who can read the wheezing and coughs, you, see inside the chest and mind with x-rays and CAT scans, you tell me how the patient is doing” and in my silence, hedoes. "The patient is no longer breathing on her own. These machines are keepingher alive."Machines which will pump the breathe of life into her lungs without judgment or prejudice for the kind life it is. It could be miserable and torturousand desperately painful but the machine doesn't care. The doctor goes on talking but I'm stuck wondering why the machine doesn't care.As long as the blood flows and the heart beats the machine doesn't care. Aslong as the stomach churns food, the fuel of the system, the machine doesn't care. Iwonder would the machine pay any attention if that fuel ran out. The patient’sfigure once of such girth now lies frail and thin. The fuel is running out. How lowmust the fuel go before the machine cares? I suppose the fuel would have dry upto the point where blood cells stood stalled on the arterial highways.From the parade of medical terms marching out of the doctor’s month, I see“white blood cells.” Like the veterans in the Veteran’s Day parade, the white blood cells hobble and crank by in wheelchairs, their fortitude admirable but their numbers dwindling. This once formidable patient now lies vulnerable to any andall attacks to her immune system. I wonder does the machine care of her weakening defenses.The doctor clips the CAT scan to a light box hanging on the wall. “Here isthe remarkable thing.” I lift my eyes heavy with exhaustion to view this black andwhite image of the patient’s grey matter. “Such a unique case qualifies for theresearch in neurology. Her insurance isn’t covering this so might as well free upthis bed. Neurology would be thrilled, I’m sure. The brain activity for a personwith this much failure in the respiratory system is remarkable.”So is this what the machine cares about? Brain activity? Even though the patient seems so disconnected with the things going on around her and in her,somewhere the mind activates… what? Dreams? Visions of happier days tocome? Why do the dreams go one when all else fails? Is this what the machine

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