Being in a coma is obviously no joke.
The family and friends of a comatose patient are stuck in a twilight zone between dread and hope.
Patients who manage to come out of a coma often face a long road to full recovery, if that is even possible.
The public have been horrified by the ongoing story of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, who was put in a medically-induced coma after a terrible skiing accident.
Here was one of the world's sportiest guys, and then suddenly he is trapped in his own body.
He's out of his coma now, but there are fears he may never fully recover.
But tragedy does offer a rich seam of narrative opportunities.
There have been a lot of good coma-centric flicks over the years, with the thriller Coma (1978) springing to mind as the most obvious example.
A more recent choice might be Maleficent - Sleeping Beauty's endless sleep is basically a magical coma, right?
An even more recent example would be the Chloe Grace Moretz flick, If I Stay, which opens here in two weeks.
Moretz plays Mia, a promising young cellist who falls into a coma after a car crash that kills her parents.
While her body lies motionless in the hospital, Mia's spirit is free to roam.
Before she finally perishes, she must decide whether she wants to return to the land of the living as an orphan, or stay in the after world.
Do you think the impossibly handsome boy (Jamie Blackley) pleading with her to come back will have some impact on her final decision?
Though there's something about a coma in a fictional context that is very evocative. Poetic, even.
Trapped between two worlds, here but not here, endlessly sleeping, endlessly dreaming - there's a lot of beautiful imagery to be mined.
If I Stay is based on a popular young adult novel by Gayle Forman and I really admire the way it explores its central question - is a life that sucks a life worth living?
This is actually a pretty big question for a YA book to take on, though frankly this genre of books in general seems to have been a lot more daring over the past several years than some of the literary stuff targeted at adults.
If I Stay finds a human meaning within a senseless tragedy.
It does what the very best stories have always done - shake us out of our slumber.