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[Perspectives] Consciousness: wonder and fragility

It was a Monday morning when he had a stroke. By that evening he’d had his second and possibly third. Life since has been a blur. We’ve been waiting for him to regain consciousness, each of us struggling to define what that means. At first it was simple: dead or alive, a drama played out in numbers on a computer screen above his head. As the signs of life get more familiar though, the question of consciousness becomes more complicated. “Wiggle your fingers if you can hear me.” “Can you open your eyes?” Each longed-for benchmark discarded as soon as it arrives, hopes immediately pinned to the next.