Una rappresentazione dell’esperienza umana della fine, nel delirium che precede la morte. Un medico palliativista dà la sua interpretazione dell’opera Kopernikus del compositore canadese Claude Vivier, prematuramente scomparso nel 1979. La sua recensione su Jama open.
My patient was actively dying—unfocused eyes opening and closing, brow furrowed. She was speaking urgently, but her words only emerged as softly articulated sounds in the back of her throat. With each inhalation I heard the crackling of uncleared respiratory secretions. Each exhalation came with a long moan as her vocal cords collapsed together in fatigue. After quick consultation with her husband and friends who were gathered in her bedroom, I pressed a syringe full of midazolam under her skin. In a few minutes her eyes were closed, and she was breathing more easily. One of her friends asked me what was going on inside her head. Could she still hear them? Was she still present or somewhere else? As a palliative care physician, I’m asked these questions frequently. I told them that I didn’t really know, but I liked to think that she was somewhere in a deep, peaceful dream.
The opera Kopernikus, which I saw shortly after leaving my patient’s house, seems to respond directly to that question and others that arise as we witness the final moments of life—where do we go as we enter the unconsciousness that precedes death? What does it feel like to live within a terminal delirium? Written by French-Canadian composer Claude Vivier in 1980 at the age of 32, Vivier himself did not experience a comparably slow transition to death, as he was murdered at the age of 35 in his Paris apartment by a man he had picked up at a bar. But his rich imagination has given us—intentionally or not—a striking theatrical simulacrum of the pathway from terminal delirium to death.