Sometimes (actually, often), we have some unusual conversations in our family. The other day, I got in the car with W, and as I settled in to drive, I felt a twinge in my knee. “Ooo, my knee hurts,” I commented, mostly to myself.
“Is that from when you fell?” he asked, and I nodded. Back in January, I was pumping gas, and I attempted to step over the loop of hose between my car and the gas pump. Bad idea. The hose tripped me up, and I fell, my left knee taking the brunt of the landing. Let’s just say after the embarrassment, the tears, and the initial pain, I had recovered, but my knee… it was slow to heal.
“You should probably get that checked before you have to get it replaced,” he said in his fifteen-year-old matter-of-fact way. “I know someone who had one replaced.”
“I know someone who had two replaced,” I bested.
“You know those cars that have so many parts replaced they are practically brand new?” he asked, taking the conversation in a related-unrelated direction.
“Yeah. Can you do that with a human? Replace so many parts and organs they become a ‘new’ person?” I chuckled at the thought.
“That would be weird.” He looked out the window, and that was probably my cue to stop the conversation. But I didn’t.
“What about a brain transplant?” I ventured. “That might make someone a new person.”
“They can’t do that.” He went for the logical, but I wasn’t having it.
“But what if they could?” I pressed. “You would be a new person. You might not even remember who you were; you wouldn’t recognize your family or your friends….” I tried to think about the multitude of dilemmas presented by this type of major operating system transplant.
“You’d have someone else’s memories and thoughts,” W started to engage, but then stopped. “But they don’t do that.”
“Maybe it wouldn’t really be a brain transplant.” My mind was working overtime as I tried to wrap my head around this concept. “Maybe you’d wake up and say, ‘Oh look! I got a new body!’ For the person whose brain it was, it would be a body transplant.”
Oh my! I believe I’m thankful they haven’t figured out how to do this type of surgery. At least they haven’t figured it out yet….