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People Share What it Was Like to Be Stuck in a Coma

Waking Up to New Inventions “A friend of ours fell into a coma at at age 25 (~1992) and woke up at age 36 (~2002). She… Alexander Gabriel - July 30, 2023
Grunge

Waking Up to New Inventions

“A friend of ours fell into a coma at at age 25 (~1992) and woke up at age 36 (~2002). She was a rhodes scholar nominee (I think, second hand information) and quite brilliant. She was still 25 mentally – as if everything was just on pause. Her body was really well preserved; She’s really fun and cool and sort of the ultimate cougar. Plus she totally woke up to the internet.” Reddit users were so fascinated by r/horsman’s response, they begged him to bring his friend to Reddit for an AMA, or “Ask Me Anything“.

Grunge

Worst Case Scenario

“I was in a medically induced coma for two weeks, about three months ago. I had open heart surgery; it didn’t go well, and I had trouble coming off the ventilator, so they just put me in a coma to try to give me time to heal. I had nightmares the entire time from the medicine they were using to knock me out. I thought I had been kidnapped by a nurse. I thought my aunt had her friends rob my sister and her husband, killing my brother-in-law and one of their children, and I thought I was constantly being grabbed by people under my bed. It was not fun.”

BBC

This Man Was Unconsciously Comforted by the Presence of His Wife

“I spent 8 days in a coma last year after a particularly traumatic surgery, my waking thoughts were wondering if I had died or made it. I couldn’t open my eyes and I was on a medical air mattress so I felt like I was floating, this lead me to think that I had died, and I remember thinking it wasn’t so bad and wondering if my dad would come find me. Once I realized that I was still alive I thought I had been injured fighting in a war and worried that my wife might not know I was still alive. Trying to communicate with the nurses while intubated and drugged was very difficult. What I learned later from my wife is that she was there the whole time and while I was fighting against the doctors and nurses I would immediately calm down and cooperate when she held my hand and sang to me. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of the love and devotion she has shown to me during this time.”

ABC News

Relearning the Basics

“I was in a coma for nine days. When I woke up, I was still on a ventilator. When they took me off the ventilator, my body didn’t remember to breathe on its own. I literally had to relearn how to breathe. It took me a few days; I had no natural sense for how deeply to inhale, how long to hold it, how long to exhale. I had to put all my mental focus on breathing. It was really weird. If I dozed off, my blood O2 monitor would start beeping and wake me up, then a nurse would yell at me from across the ICU to remember to breathe. I couldn’t talk because I’d had the tubes down my nose and throat, but I remember one time I woke up, really exhausted, to that damn beeping. So, I started focusing on breathing again, but I was really angry about it. My nurse came running over yelling at me to breathe. I glared at her, and screamed in my non-existent voice, ‘I. AM.'”

Health Jade

Fantastic Bedside Manner

“My dad (Emergency Room Doctor) told me about this woman in a coma he saw during his residency. One woman was in a deep coma for weeks…Every time they’d come in, he’d say ‘Hi Ms. ____, I’m Dr ____ and I’m just here to check on you!’. He talked to her like she was listening to him, explaining what he was doing to her step-by-step, and a lot of the other doctors thought it was kind of silly. I mean, she’s in a coma, so she can’t be listening, right? Well, time goes by and the woman wakes up, all of a sudden. They’re doing their rounds and he walks in the room and says something and she immediately recognizes his voice: she came into the hospital in a coma and never saw the man, and never heard him talk while she was awake before that day. She immediately recognizes his voice and says ‘Oh, I remember you! You’re the one that was so nice to me!'”

Pinterest

This Woman Had an Extremely Vivid Imagination

“I was in a medically induced coma for approximately a week due to sepsis. When I was in, I thought I was a bird with my wings outstretched that was slowly freezing to the ground. When I woke up, I thought I was in Taos, but it looked like Raton (I was in Albuquerque, in a hospital that I had worked in for years). I thought I was 10 years younger. I thought I had gotten into a wreck and that my fiancé at the time was an abusive ex-boyfriend. I thought my fiancé had found me naked on the side of I-25 and had taken me to a veterinary hospital. It took another month and a half for me to understand what happened.”

Huffpost

Extra Years Lived

“My dad was in a coma for about 2 months a couple years ago. Recently we were talking about the whole thing, and he told me that he had ‘dreamed/hallucinated’ that he lived for 10 years, and did all sorts of things during that time. He said it was very vivid, and he walked across the country a couple times during it. When he woke up/got home, he said it would throw him off when he would run into people he hadn’t seen since before the coma, because at first he always expected them to have aged by 10 years.”

The Today Show

Baby Talk

“I was in a coma for four days. When I woke up, everyone was talking about the baby boy I had. I had lost my long-term memory and didn’t even remember being pregnant. My son was at the children’s hospital in the NICU. I delivered him via C-section at 29 wks. All this was due to me having Crohn’s disease (which I found out after I woke up); my colon had ruptured during my pregnancy. My husband said I was talking like a child when I first woke up.”

Mind Matters

One Person Says it’s Like Blinking, Not Sleeping

“I was in a coma for 3 days after a car accident where I hit my head. Pretty much I was driving, then the color purple, then waking up 3 days later. There really was nothing. It’s not even like sleeping because when you wake up from sleeping you know you were asleep. It is like blinking, one second you are doing something then the next something totally different. I do have a vague memory of being on a table with a cute guy wiping my nose and it hurting really bad. I remember saying ‘you are super cute’ but that’s all. I believe that was before I went into the coma after the accident. I had a brain bruise or something like that and it caused speech problems for about 6 months after.”

XLNT Brain

This Coma Victim Offers Solid Advice

“A friend of mine was in a six-month coma after an accident. Afterward, he made sure to tell everyone around him to talk to people in a coma because they can hear you. BUT he noted that they should always tell the person in a coma what happened, where they are, and what’s happening to them because he said that his moments of lucidity were mixed with some truly horrifying dreams — and he had trouble distinguishing between what was real and what were dreams.”

Covenant Life Fellowship

Feeling Like You’re in Heaven

“My friend was in a coma about 10 years ago for roughly three weeks after a car accident. When he woke up, we visited him, and when I was alone with him, he told me it was like a lucid dream. The real world was gone, and he felt like he was in a world he could create himself for years. He was dead serious, too — he talked on and on about how he had a slight understanding that he was not in the real world anymore and that he thought he might be in heaven. He felt like he was actually dying and his last few seconds just stretched on and on forever.”

United Brain Association

The Miracle of Motherhood

“This was told to me by a dear friend. When having her second son she had a scheduled c-section. Her first was also a c-section birth. She had been uncomfortable during the last part of her pregnancy, saying that she felt pain in her bladder. Anyway…during the operation she suddenly screamed, and then hemorrhaged. Turns out she had placenta percreta, where the placenta grows through the uterine wall. It grew into her bladder and intestines. How this was not picked up during all her ultrasounds I will never understand. Her doctors saved her, and it was not easy. She had a heart attack, her lungs collapsed, I can’t remember how many units of blood she needed. We all thought she would die, and she was in a coma for over three weeks. Then one day she just kind of woke up. She told me that she does not remember much, but was aware sometimes of voices and a feeling of panic. Her husband talked about how they would put the baby on her chest and when they picked him back up tears would leak down her cheeks. She told me that things got lighter, in her head, like sun through deep clouds, as she healed. They call her the Miracle Woman.”

Harvard Medical School, Harvard University

Completely Deaf

“I was in a coma for four days from bacterial meningitis. When I woke up, I was completely deaf! I had to communicate with my parents and doctors with a notepad and pen. Some hearing gradually returned in my left ear, but my right ear is still 100% deaf to this day.” Deafness is not a particularly common symptom of comas. However, during a coma, the brain is in a state of altered consciousness and may not process sensory information in the same way it does when a person is awake. In some cases, this can result in sensory deficits, including hearing loss.

Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center

Dreams and Nightmares

“I was kept in a medically induced coma for 9 days and I have vivid memories of my time in the coma. I would describe it as very intense semi lucid dreaming where I had a measure of control however not complete control. Stimuli from the outside world definitely appeared and worked its way into the dreams which truly distorted my reality. Some of the dreaming was pleasurable and some was nightmarish. The real terrifying part was after I regained consciousness however.”

The Lancet

Finding a New Sense of Religion Afterward

“My mother had a miscarriage, and as a result went into a coma for two weeks. She described a huge lush forest, with beautiful white light penetrating through the canopy. She says she heard beautiful music, and that God spoke to her, saying it wasn’t her time and then she came back. After that she’s become incredibly religious.” Other users in the thread asked the poster, r/AlphaWolfParticle, if their mother had been religious previous to her coma experience. r/AlphaWolfParticle responded, “Yeah she was, but no where near as much as she was afterwards.”

Mind Food

Brand New Personality

“I was in a coma for 11 days, severe brain injury. I don’t remember being in a coma or waking up from a coma. I lost several years of memories prior to the coma, and my brain didn’t really start to ‘retain’ information again until ~6 weeks after I came out of the coma. I’m told that my personality changed afterwards. I had to rebuild most areas of my life. It sucked, but it was probably a good thing. Although I’d be lying if I said I never wondered what my life would be like if I’d never had the coma.”

Department of Defense

Waking Up Was the Worst Part

“Waking up was sudden. So, so sudden. I was in blackness. Had a moment of awareness, like ‘my neck hurts’ and then the pain was magnitudes higher. No longer a distant perception but something that I was actively conscious of. Waking up was the most painful moment of my life and I just started crying and then couldn’t even cry it hurt so bad. I think that had more to do with injuries sustained to my neck and head than the coma, but that is what it was like. After an hour my body was used to the pain and I was totally normal, albeit very weak, hungry, and thirsty.

Oprah

This Person Was Very Upset Over Oprah Ending

“Two weeks induced because of Swine Flu. During this time Oprah announced she was ending the Oprah Winfrey Show. I was very upset to learn this after the fact. Mostly because the tv running in my room plus the drugs they gave me to keep me under gave the most cinematic dreams I’ve ever experienced – somehow the news of Oprah retiring filtered into my brain as dreaming about saving the whales with her in a submerged Chicago. We had champagne brunch. It was excellent. I was also a superhero who could fly and fought my enemies on the rims of volcanoes.”

Revitalizing Infusion Therapies

Traumatic Flashbacks

“I was in a coma for almost a month (29 days). The ‘dreams’ were terrible, and I had a problem where if I smelled something that I could relate to pure oxygen, or the room I was staying in, it would trigger a flashback. I would literally be reliving it all over again. Bleach was almost guaranteed to trigger it. These were not dreams. They were flashbacks that occurred when I was wide awake. By flashback, I mean you go right back to it. You are reliving it all over again.”

News at the U, University of Miami

The Length of a Film

“For me? it felt short, but not instant. It wasn’t like as if one minute I was in my mums car and the next I was in a hospital bed. The actual coma felt as if it was the same time length as any film you go and see, it was calming I guess. It didn’t feel like an eternity nor did it feel like a sudden shock of impact to hospital bed, if you get what I’m saying. I distinctly remember hearing voices as if I was underwater, and colours, fading colours. If I recall I didn’t experience any dreams nor nightmares, it was relaxing which is weird to say. I woke up and realised I had been in a coma for three months.”

WPLG Local 10

Time Distortions

“When my grandfather was 12 (early 1940s), he contracted Polio and slipped into a coma for two weeks. He actually ended up missing his bar mitzvah. When I asked him about it, he said that his concept of time had been completely thrown off. When he woke up, he thought he was just waking up the next day. He said he had to force himself to realize that it was two weeks later because his internal clock had just picked up where it left off.”

Wikipedia

Vacations That Never Happened

“My wife was in a coma for almost a month… While they were there we (kids and me) talked about or favorite vacations together… they both picked ‘Griswold style’ family trips to Arizona and New Mexico… long drives and lots of beautiful scenery… picked them over the Disney and other theme park trips we’ve had. Flash forward a couple of weeks… and she woke up with vivid memories of our latest family vacation. Seems the last half of the coma was basically one long trip to New Mexico and Arizona for her… Grand Canyon, Mountains, Desert… etc. It’s been over a year now and she still remembers many things that never happened…. as if they were completely real.”

 

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

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https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/15ir72/redditors_who_have_been_in_a_coma_for_a_long_time/

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https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/muscle-atrophy#:~:text=Muscular%20atrophy%20is%20the%20decrease,their%20strength%20as%20they%20age.

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/meningococcal/meningococcal.html#:~:text=Meningococcal%20disease%20is%20a%20rare,who%20get%20the%20disease%20die.

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https://medlineplus.gov/crohnsdisease.html#:~:text=Crohn’s%20disease%20is%20a%20chronic,beginning%20of%20your%20large%20intestine.

https://www.flintrehab.com/learning-to-speak-again-after-brain-injury/#:~:text=Dysarthria%20refers%20to%20when%20the,mouth%20such%20as%20the%20tongue.

https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/do-people-in-a-coma-dream/

https://religiondispatches.org/new-study-claims-to-explain-near-death-religious-experiences/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/cesarean-section#:~:text=Cesarean%20section%2C%20C%2Dsection%2C,and%2Ddown%20(vertical).

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6170087/

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https://www.cdc.gov/polio/what-is-polio/index.htm#:~:text=Polio%2C%20or%20poliomyelitis%2C%20is%20a,move%20parts%20of%20the%20body).

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