Tuesday, September 7, 2021

For Jean-Pierre Adams - The Fever Called Living Is Conquered At Last

After 39 years in a coma, Senegalese born Jean-Pierre Adams a legend of French football (soccer) has passed on. He went into a coma, in 1982 during knee surgery, the coma having been caused by errors by the anesthetist and a trainee (who was basically left in charge of the anesthesia and who reportedly later admitted it was too much for him to handle).

When I read the story it immediately brought Edgar Allan Poe's poem - For Annie - to my mind:

For Annie

Thank Heaven! the crisis,
The danger, is past,
And the lingering illness
Is over at last—
And the fever called "Living"
Is conquered at last.

Sadly, I know
I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
As I lie at full length—
But no matter!—I feel
I am better at length.

And I rest so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
That any beholder
Might fancy me dead—
Might start at beholding me,
Thinking me dead.

The moaning and groaning,
The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
With that horrible throbbing
At heart:—ah, that horrible,
Horrible throbbing!

The sickness—the nausea—
The pitiless pain—
Have ceased, with the fever
That maddened my brain—
With the fever called "Living"
That burned in my brain.

And oh! of all tortures
That torture the worst
Has abated—the terrible
Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
Of Passion accurst:—
I have drank of a water
That quenches all thirst:—

Of a water that flows,
With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
Feet under ground—
From a cavern not very far
Down under ground.

And ah! let it never
Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy
And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
In a different bed—
And, to sleep, you must slumber
In just such a bed.

My tantalized spirit
Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
Regretting, its roses—
Its old agitations
Of myrtles and roses:

For now, while so quietly
Lying, it fancies
A holier odor
About it, of pansies—
A rosemary odor,
Commingled with pansies—
With rue and the beautiful
Puritan pansies.

And so it lies happily,
Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
And the beauty of Annie—
Drowned in a bath
Of the tresses of Annie.

She tenderly kissed me,
She fondly caressed,
And then I fell gently
To sleep on her breast—
Deeply to sleep
From the heaven of her breast.

When the light was extinguished,
She covered me warm,
And she prayed to the angels
To keep me from harm—
To the queen of the angels
To shield me from harm.

And I lie so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
(Knowing her love)
That you fancy me dead—
And I rest so contentedly,
Now in my bed
(With her love at my breast).
That you fancy me dead—
That you shudder to look at me,
Thinking me dead:—

But my heart it is brighter
Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
For it sparkles with Annie—
It glows with the light
Of the love of my Annie—
With the thought of the light
Of the eyes of my Annie. 

For those 39 years that Jean-Pierre Adams was in a comatose state, his wife Bernadette devotedly took care of him with love, affection, tenderness and tenacity. She never gave up hope. More at the source. 
Bernadette Adams - like Annie (or the woman on whom Annie was based) who was so very special to Poe's protagonist or actually to Poe himself - must obviously have been one very special woman to Jean-Pierre. If you read the entire linked article, you will have noted that Jean-Pierre's nurses reported, despite his being in a brain-dead comatose state, Jean-Pierre had slight mood changes on those rare days when his beloved Bernadette was not there with him. While it may not have the same rhyming ring to it, substitute the name Bernadette for Annie in the last stanza (or even in every stanza) of Poe's poem and that may well explain how those mood changes were possible - even for a man in a deep vegetative coma! 
My condolences I offer to her for her loss after having endured such long term battle which - all the while, no doubt - she hoped to see turn out otherwise. I also give my sincere respect to her for the unfailing love she gave to him for virtually four decades. She truly must be an amazing woman and was a devoted and loving wife.

All the best,
Glenn B