My "miraculous" recovery from a 6-week coma through a skeptical and humanist lens, written by a writer published by Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry. When I awoke, I could barely raise my head, and it has been a hard road back. I also aim to educate the public about covert cognition. Too many people who are still conscious are being dismissed as hopeless vegetables, as I was. As many as one in five people with consciousness disorders have covert cognition. For them, there is still hope.
Monday, January 25, 2016
The Chaplain's Cat Logic
The Secular Spectrum: The Chaplain's Cat Logic
I had interviewed Keith and my mom about the lying hospital chaplain I've nicknamed the Prevaricating Preacher when I first wrote about him in Coma Chameleon. But the one person I had neglected to ask about him was Joella because she isn't a nonbeliever like the other two.
I finally did so the other day, in preparation for writing "The Chaplain's Cat Logic.
Joella confirmed what I had expected, that PP had prayed for me while she was there. But as I was talking with her, I explained what Keith and my mom had told me about the cleric. I realized that he had apparently adopted cat logic after he promised Keith repeatedly that he wouldn't bother me.
In PP's mind, he didn't have to obey Keith if he wasn't there to catch him...just like a cat.
I had my hook for the SecSpec post!
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Not a miracle recovery, but a miracle of modern medicine
In 2013 I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died after I contracted legionella. The Legionnaire's disease was in turn triggered by immunosuppression caused by the prednisone I was taking for my rare autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.
I suffered a series of strokes on both sides of my brain when the sepsis caused my blood pressure to plummet. I fell into a deep coma. My kidneys and lungs began to fail, as my body was began dying one organ at a time. My doctors told my loved ones to give up hope for my full recovery. They expected me to die, and even if I somehow lived, I would remain a vegetable or at best left so hopelessly brain-damaged that I would never be same. But unbeknownst to them, while they were shining lights in my eyes and shaking their heads, I was telling them in my coma-dream--my secular version of a near-death experience--to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep. I was experiencing what is known as covert cognition, the subject of my Skeptical Inquirer article "Covert Cognition: My So-Called Near-Death Experience," which appeared in their July/August issue.
But it wasn't a miracle--despite what so many continue to believe--that I recovered so fully. I owe my life not to God, but the miracles of modern medicine, as well as the nature of the watershed-area brain damage I suffered, as I detailed in my article and in this blog.
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