Here’s a definition of unconsciousness from Microsoft Encarta’s 2004 Encyclopaedia…
“Unconsciousness… [is a] state in which a person has reduced awareness of his or her surroundings, is without deliberate thoughts, and is less than normally responsive to stimuli such as light and sound.”
Thanks chaps: I’m as much in the dark after reading that as I was in the two weeks following the crash, thank you very much. You see, although I’ve been told I was unconscious for two weeks, I really don’t know what “unconscious” means. It turns out that I’ve never known the meaning of the word — I only thought I understood.
Apparently, I wasn’t asleep and, before anyone objects, sleeping is in fact a form of unconsciousness; you might call it “normal unconsciousness”.
And, according to everyone I’ve asked, I was not in a coma. This is good; I’m glad I was not in a coma even though it would have added drama points and increased the bona fides of the whole story: “Hey, you know, I nearly died three times and I was in a coma for two weeks.” Comas, let’s face it, are the epitome of cool; well, they are if you wake up from them.
Steve’s full description of the period between the morning of December 24th and the afternoon of January 7th has been, “the lights were on but no-one was home.” Meaning, that if you squeezed my hand, I’d squeeze it back. I might even occasionally open my eyes. But I wasn’t thinking or responding to what was happening around me.
Actually, that was probably mostly the second week of unconsciousness. During the first week of unconsciousness, I’d guess that no-one was home and the lights were switched off also. There may have been a note saying, “No milk today, thank you.”
It all goes to show, you can only push a metaphor so far before it shoves you back.