One does not come out of a coma quickly like in the movies with a flutter of eyelids, a moment of confusion then a smile of recognition at the throngs of loved ones patiently waiting for this moment.  No, it is more like a slow trek out of Mecca.

After God told Ed he had to go back to his body so that he could provide jobs for people…after I swore in his ear and he opened his eyes not with a sweet flutter but terrifyingly quick like a zombie…he was still very far away…and his body under minimal control.  His lungs began to inhale on their own so the ventilator was removed from the hole in his neck.  When asked questions sometimes it seemed he could blink or squeeze his hand or wiggle a toe to answer “yes” and “no.” Though he may have just been blinking, squeezing and wiggling without purpose.

One afternoon I had driven the hour and a half from my home to the hospital.  I was alone in my visit.  It was the first time he was not in the ICU…he had his own room.  It was so quiet.  There was no oxygen being forced into his lungs, there were no beeping machines or scurrying nurses.  It felt silent as I stood next to he who now breathed on his own.

It was a turning point.  He had gone from almost dead to alive, and the horrid question of what that meant began to seep into my mind.  Whereas all I had been thinking of was breathing and hand squeezing now I wondered who this living body would be.

He had his own room.   There was a radio so I turned it on low.  I sat and looked at him for a long, long time.  He really was a handsome man of twenty-seven.  He had the tone and tan of the athlete he was; a soccer goalie living in the beach community of Capitola.

I looked at that body now breathing on its own.  I looked for signs that he was still my brother.

And then Jail House Rock came on the radio and Ed’s hand and foot began to move slightly.  I got up and turned the volume up a bit and his movement became more deliberate and in time with the music.  I turned it up high, way too high for a hospital.  I shut the door. I never was a huge Elvis fan but I remember thinking this was the greatest song ever written…the rhythm and energy were amazing.

I took Ed’s hand and began to dance with him, and he smiled.

He continued to tap his foot and try and move his hand in mine to the perfect and fun beat of the song.

Cool Ed was definitely still there.

That is my favorite memory of Ed…after the accident and one he will never remember…just me and he who was still there, dancing with Elvis.

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