Improper Certainty

Yesterday, as usual, the television in my wife’s hospital room was tuned to The Food Network while she drifted in and out of sleep. And, as usual, I divided my time between the harder-than-I-would-like-sofa and the not-as-bad recliner/sleeper positioned so it can operate as neither; it functions only as a chair.

When I was ready to leave for the day, as the afternoon was nearing four o’clock, my wife asked me to lean in so she could tell me something (her voice is extremely weak at the moment). She told me she thought she experienced a hallucination sometime earlier in the day. I inquired for details. She explained she thought she was at a Willie Nelson concert and he was playing music from The Muppets. The idea that she was having hallucinations concerned her quite a bit. She’d had similar concerns a day or two earlier. I asked why she thought it was a hallucination and not just a dream. She wasn’t sure. It was a vague sense, she said.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” I told her. “I suspect it was just a dream. Even if not, you’re taking so many medications it wouldn’t surprise me to learn some of them might interact to cause vague hallucinations.”

Then, she mentioned that Willie Nelson was singing Rainbow Connection. That triggered my own vague memory. Sometime during the day, while my eyes were closed, I heard a country-style vocal of Rainbow Connection.

“It wasn’t a dream! While I was drifting in and out of sleep, I heard someone on television singing that! You weren’t hallucinating. You just heard the music while you were half-asleep. It wasn’t Willie Nelson, but it was a country singer.”

And that settled that. But I kept thinking, all night, that maybe Willie Nelson had, in fact, recorded Rainbow Connection. This morning, after I showered, shaved, had my coffee, and took care of some financial matters, I searched for “Willie Nelson” and “Rainbow Connection.”  And here’s one of the several hits I found:

I was certain my wife was not hallucinating. And I was certain she had not heard Willie Nelson. But certainty was improper in one of those determinations. I will show my wife the video today. I hope it makes her smile.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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