Wellness Forum by Nathan Kagan

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May 7, 2017

what is real?

Alternate realities.

He was laying in this hospital bed pondering, thinking about what was going on. He vaguely remembered his life, was it a dream maybe? The botanic garden, the colors, sunshine, flowers. Was it just a dream? What is our life, our reality? Reality? What is that-our reality? Who knows. To him, now, it all seemed not that real, maybe a product of his wishful imagination.

He was laying in this room and that was his reality now-this little world-the 4 walls, his bed surrounded by some blinking clicking stuff, his wife…

Maybe this is just a bad dream and he will wake up at home, in his bed, or on the couch just dreaming. Bright day outside, wife working in the garden, birds singing, Luke, his dog, sleeping and probably dreaming of being young and chasing rabbits.

He liked this thought. He was scared of this dark room, of being sick, of not knowing whether he was awake or dreaming.

What is wrong about dreaming, being deep inside your mind, not seeing all this scary stuff?

He glanced at the TV -some show that he did not know, nor cared to know. Why is it in black and white? Something wrong with his eyes? Or the stupid TV is broken?

He looked around with more attention. The things around him- they looked different, not the way he remembered from last time. Was it in his dream or was it real last time in this room? This room? He wasn’t sure anymore. He wasn’t sure of his memory.

Fear crept in. What is wrong with his head? He decided to try to sleep. It will be better in the morning, all will clear up.

On and off he drifted to sleep-lucid dreams, hearing noises, nurse coming and doing something with him and equipment. Eventually, finally, it was getting lighter outside. He could see buildings, cars moving in silence. Something strange about these buildings, the cars. What was it, he tried to analyze, what is bothering him about this picture?

He now could see the room. Again, something was not quite right. What was it? Colors or the lack of colors?

The picture on TV was still black and white-maybe the TV was broken. But other stuff-people, voices, even the air felt strange. Holy shit, I must be losing my mind he panicked.

His wife woke up, moved around, turned to him.

It was her all right. Same women he loved. And yet… He could not quite put his finger on the strangeness, some nuances.

Suddenly he felt lost. He remembered being lost in his dreams, many times. Strange and desperate feeling when you recognize the place – kind of – but at the same time you are lost, have no idea where you are. In his dreams, he was waiting for his wife to find him. But now, here she was and yet he felt lost.

Maybe because of this anxiety, maybe medications, but his mind was working feverishly building explanations. Of course, the first and easiest one was that he was losing it, his mind, his touch with the real world.

Real world-what is it?

There are many theories about our reality, our universe. Multiverse, infinite number of realities. The theory that everything that happened, or could happen is already there and one’s every choice moves you to a certain reality. Realities are constantly crossing – meeting and separating again. That is why the butterfly effect is negligible between realities.

But, he thought, maybe some extreme circumstances cause not a smooth transition but a jump between realities, creating a ripple, a detectable jump.

Maybe his cardiac arrest caused the jump and he is able to detect it.

One thing he knew-no matter what he said trying to describe his feelings, his observations, no one would take it seriously. Most likely he would get more medications.

Do some of these people see anything different, strange about him? If yes, do they just dismiss it as not real? Are they wondering about it or blaming their imagination for this “nonsense”?

He was getting better. Strong enough to walk with a nurse. He talked to the nurses during these walks and noticed some strange unfamiliar words and expressions. He kept this to himself. They noticed it too in me, he was sure of this but he knew the nurses would attribute it to him being an immigrant or not well yet.

In a way, it has been exciting to imagine or maybe to know that he actually travels between realities. An adventure. I don’t care if this is happening just in my head. For him it was real, it was his secret, even from his wife.

The nurse looked at this strange patient, still in a coma. He was delivered to the E.R. after cardiac arrest and doctors managed to revive him and he has been improving.

His breath was deep and even. All vital signs were decent. And yet, he was still in coma.

If there are an infinite number of possible realities, he thought, then I died in some of them. That was an unsettling idea. How would this jumping between realities work? You are sick and this is a stupid idea, he decided, you shouldn’t think about it anymore.

But he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Are these realities subjective and exist for each person? If I die in one reality does that mean this reality ceases to exist?

The nurse could not understand what is happening to this patient and why.

His breathing was getting shallow, vital signs were slowing down. He was dying peacefully, in deep sleep.

The nurse called the doctor. They looked at each other. The doctor was at loss. There was no reason for this. And yet, they are losing this patient.

Finally, he was strong enough and was released from the hospital. He was sick of this place though he could not complain about the service that had been excellent.

He hoped that once he was home and back to normal, all these strange things would go away. All this nuanced strangeness will disappear. And that these dreams mixed with reality, all unfamiliar and yet very familiar – will not be so scary and strange anymore.

Little by little, life returned to normal at home. He slept better, strange dreams that were so real almost disappeared. He enjoyed his wife’s company, kids and grand kids.

And yet, sometimes these strange thoughts, weird feelings would come back and he felt strangely lost. He would push this strangeness away.

The Loop

Author: Nathan
April 27, 2017



Dreams, coma and alternate realities.

He tried to look around. Small dimly lit room. Clicking noises, something humming. Flickering. His bed – metal, like a hospital bed. Hospital? What the hell? Window to his right. It was dark outside. He saw his wife looking at him. Where am I, what is going on? Why? Why are we here, not at home? She just looked at him. “You got sick.” Let’s go home he said and started to get up, turned to put his feet on the floor. And he noted some tubes inserted in his body. “What happened to me?” he finally asked? “You got sick and will have to stay here in the hospital for a while.”

But he had a hard time concentrating, keeping his thoughts together. He felt dizzy and thoughts were coming and going in no particular order. He couldn’t remember his questions and her answers. So he kept trying to get up and she softly would explain again where he was. The door was open on the left and the light was coming into the room. He saw TV on the opposite wall in front of him – it was on but no sound. Some show he did not recognize but it made no difference. It was all foggy and unreal – the room, the light, TV, him being here. He would fall asleep, wake up and sleep again. Somebody came through the door – the nurse. She did something with his body, looked at some displays and left. His wife was unfolding the couch and laid down on it.

Little by little the darkness outside retreated and he could see the buildings, the street, cars moving. He did not hear any sound through the windows and all this looked like a silent movie. He did not recognize the street. He tried to get up and go to the toilet several times but again his wife softly stopped him trying to explain that he had a catheter. In a few minutes he tried again and was stopped with the smile and patient explanation. Little by little the world came into focus and his mind started working. But still the whole thing – hospital, being sick, nurses coming and going. Faces of friends, relatives and his kids and grand kids were like a blur. Surreal.

Days went by. Time was stretching and flying by his semiconscious mind poisoned by medications. He dosed off during the day, woke, ate and looked at TV without really watching it. The world outside was getting dark and lighting up in rapid succession. He knew that he did not like any of this. His wife always by his side was his anchor, his connection to the world. He felt the need to be near her at all times, he felt lost when she was not near him. The doctor allowed him to get up and walk with the nurse and that helped his body and mind to get stronger. His wife told him what happened. Cardiac arrest – his heart stopped while they were in the bedroom. She saved his life.

He thought about it, wondering about his miraculous survival and wondering if what he was seeing and experiencing now was real. He remembered science fiction stories and parallel universes. His imagination was playing out different versions. What if he was really in the other universe and just didn’t know, did not see the subtle differences?

Finally the doctors allowed him to go home. His kids came to help. They all walked to the car helping and supporting him on the way. As they drove he was looking at the buildings, the streets, trying to notice if there was anything different, strange about what he was seeing. He could not see any differences from what he remembered but he still was not sure. He thought that memory loss would prevent him from noticing anything different.

It took him a while to get used to normal life again. Some things were hard. Especially at night. He could not sleep normally in bed and in the dark room. Panic and anxiety were choking him. He would get up and walk, try to sleep in his chair, on the couch. Drink some tea. Trying to calm himself. He could not sleep close to his wife or hug her in bed – he did not have enough air. He would sit in his chair and count hours, waiting for the morning to come. Pills helped some but he had a hard time getting up in the morning. He felt better during the day. And all this time since he woke up, there was a nagging feeling, almost subconscious, about being in coma, still laying in hospital bed, about the reality of this world. What if all his life after cardiac arrest, life after death, is just his dream? And if it is true, what difference does it really make? After all, we don’t really know what reality is.

But as time passed he was getting used to the daily routine. Company of friends, spending time with kids and grand kids. And his wife, his life companion, always by his side. Almost back to normal. But he still has a hard time planning ahead. When THIS happened he did not feel, he did not know what happened to him Until he woke up 3 days later in the hospital. What if he had not woken up? He wouldn’t even know that he lived and died. But… How does he know he is really alive? How do we know what “really” being conscious is? Do we realize that in deep sleep a dream is not “real”? The spring came. Birds, the sun, the flowers. Thunderstorms and winds – he lives in Chicago after all. All this can end without warning, in the blink of an eye. And that scared him. But he tried to push away the thought. The weather was great. The Botanic Garden was waking up from winter slumber. It is a different atmosphere in such places, maybe because a certain type of people go there. Bright blue sky and, emerging fragile and yet unstoppable, the awakening of all kinds of plants. It soothes the soul. He was just wondering around with his wife with nothing in particular on his mind.

He tried to look around. Small dim lit room. Clicking noises, something humming. Flickering. His bed – metal, like a hospital bed. Hospital? What the hell? Window to his right. It was dark outside. He saw his wife looking at him. “Where am I, what is going on? Why?” Often we do not remember our deep sleep dreams. Maybe there is a reason

Dream and reality.


August 17, 2011

Sleep health effects

Healthy sleep

Sweet dreams!

People who get enough sleep (about 7-9 hours a night) are more likely to have higher productivity, feel more energetic throughout the day, and experience less stress. Sleep is crucial for concentration, memory formation, and repairing and rejuvenating the cells of the body. Both mentally and physically, a good night’s sleep is essential for your health and your energy.

Research has shown that the loss of just 1 1/2 to 2 hours of sleep a night causes a marked decline in alertness, attention span and the ability to process information. This seemly small amount of sleep deprivation affects our reflexes and memory. It can also lead to depression. Our decisions can become irrational. The greater the amount and duration of the sleep deprivation the more devastating can be the results. Research has found another surprising fact. Sleep deprivation promotes obesity. Lack of sleep can lead to hormonal changes that increase appetite and therefore calories. This, of course, can lead to weight gain.

The poll by National sleep foundation:

Sleep and stress

Will kill for some sleep!

The poll surveyed a random sample of 1,508 Americans between the ages of 13 and 64. A whopping 63 percent of participants claimed that their sleep needs were not met during the week. This dissatisfaction may be connected to the fact that virtually everyone polled — 95 percent — reported that they surfed the net, texted or watched TV at least a few nights a week in the hour before trying to sleep.

The results of a new poll from the National Sleep Foundation, highlighted yesterday in the New York Times poll reveals that roughly one in four Americans who are married or living with a romantic partner regularly feel too exhausted for sex. Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2010/03/09/many-americans-say-theyre-too-tired-for-sex/#ixzz1V9X0D06A

The NSF poll found that the better the health of older adults, the more likely they are to sleep well.

Conversely, the greater the number of diagnosed medical conditions, the more likely they are to report sleep problems. Additionally, among older adults, more positive moods and outlooks as well as having more active and “engaged” lifestyles (having someone to speak with about a problem, exercise, volunteer activity, etc.) are associated with sleeping 7–9 hours and fewer sleep complaints.

The number of reported medical conditions increases with age, but 19% of all respondents reported having four or more conditions. When compared to those who have no medical conditions, those with four or more conditions have a greater likelihood of sleeping less than six hours (22% vs. 10%), are more likely to rate their sleep as fair or poor (40% vs. 10%), are more likely to report a sleep problem (80% vs. 53%) and are more likely to experience daytime sleepiness (27% vs. 5%).

“A person may have several medical conditions that they’re seeing their doctor about and they may be getting treatment, but they don’t feel they’re getting better. What may go unrecognized is a tremendous amount of sleep disturbance and daytime sleepiness. What may go overlooked is a major sleep disorder that may be complicating treatment of the other conditions.”

Mayo clinic. Food and sleep.

Will a bedtime snack help me sleep better?

Answer from Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D.

Eating a small snack a few hours before bedtime may help. There are no specific foods that help you sleep. But, it’s a good idea to avoid certain foods late in the day. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Don’t go to bed hungry. A light snack before bedtime can keep hunger pangs from waking you up. For example, have a bowl of oatmeal, cereal with low-fat milk or yogurt with granola. If you have diabetes,  discuss nighttime snacks with your doctor.

Avoid large, high-fat meals late in the day. Also avoid garlic-flavored and highly spiced foods. These foods can make you uncomfortable or cause heartburn.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Both can interfere with sleep. Keep in mind, it can take up to eight hours for the stimulating effects of caffeine wear off.

Don’t drink too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluids before bed can cause you to wake up repeatedly to use the bathroom.

Don't use computer befor bed time

Go to sleep!

 My advise: The basic rule of happy marriage and healthy life is: no TV or other electronic devices in the bedroom! If there is too much outside light-close the shades before you go to sleep. Some stretching before bed time is beneficial.

Many of my friend use cool herbal lavender eye pillow that help to fall asleep and improves sleep quality.

And the most important is a positive attitude toward life!

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