Coma Survivors Break Down The Biggest Changes They Noticed After Waking Up

Comas are one of the great mysteries of life.

We as a species don't fully understand what the body and mind goes through when it is unconscious for that amount of time. Coma survivors describe anything from feeling like no time has passed to having vivid, scary, long-form dreams.

And then the aftermath is also so different from person to person that it only adds to the mystery.

u/Upbeat- asked:

(Serious) Coma Survivors, what was the biggest change personally or globally after waking up?

Here were some of those answers.

The Dory Problem

People looked at me as normal. There was no visible injury. People would say oh he's fine. My short term memory was non existent. I still have some issues . But for years reading and retaining information was incredibly difficult.


The Dreams

For a long time I lived with survivors guilt. The depression was intense.

Physically my body was destroyed, my mind was messed up, it took me a while to get my motor skills back. I actually "forgot" how to sleep naturally... My mind just doesn't do it anymore. I take a heavy sleeping pill to knock-out for 8 hours.

This is nearly 2 years ago, I still think about the dreams I had in there... Some really wild things.


One Year Gone

The first year was the toughest. Looking back, everything seemed cloudy. My perception was dulled. There were quirks from the brain damage.

After my brain did it's re-wiring, I was actually better in some areas. My math skills improved. Reasoning skills too.

A downside is I still have this fear of getting hurt and going back. I would rather die than go back.


Pay People No Mind

I had to learn to walk again, my lungs are permanently damaged from the pneumonia and ventilator, and I no longer care to read books. I used to read several books a week, now I've read 1 in the past year. I suppose now I care even less about people too.


Developing Social Anxiety

I know someone through a friend who was put in an induced coma for lupus I think. They gave her chemo while she was under to fight infections she had and it was meant to be 2 weeks. After 2 weeks the hospital couldn't wake her up and she was out for 6 months.

When she woke up, she said she didn't come out of it all at once ot took quite awhile. People had left cards, Flowers and Biscuits on her tables. She was being attended to lovely nurses and she was so disoriented she said she thought she had been kidnapped and forced to work in a sweatshop making handbags (she thought the presents were bags and purses).

After that, she had to learn to walk again and do all of the basic things we take for granted. She developed severe anxiety so she went to a friends house one night and had to leave at 7 and had to drive a specific way home and then we found out she was only doing her route to work, the shop and a friends house. She became extremely tired at social events and would have to go rest.


Re-remembering Life

I was only in a coma for a week, but in the process of recovery I had to rediscover that I'd graduated college (two years prior), my previous relationship had ended (leaving me functionally homeless and with my belongings scattered across NYC at various friends' places), and that the guy visiting me in the hospital was the one who had brought me rollerblading on a date where the accident occurred. It's been a tumultuous recovery process these past few years. I've had to say goodbye to the sense of identity I had pre-accident and come to terms with these new mental deficiencies - I'm still learning every day. Though in the past year I've finally rejoined the workforce in a meaningful way, which has done wonders for the depression :)

And we just got married so I'll call that a win


Mom, NOT The Point

I was in a car accident 6 months after my 18th birthday. Accident was Saturday morning, I started to wake up approx Monday. But for hours I was asking what time it was, what happened and I have no memory of that. I have partial amnesia for approx 1 week before until the accident. I was in hospital for approx 3 months altogether due to my shattered knee and other injuries. After the hospital I started to gain weight, partly because of learning to walk again, partly because antibiotics destroyed my gut bacteria and the wrong bacteria took hold (there are indicators for that)... BTW, when my mother heard that I was awake, she called me and yelled through the phone about her car that I wrecked (although it was fully insured 🤦🏼♂️ )


Lil Sister Non Forgiver

My dad was in a coma for 3 days, not medically induced but due to a rare disease. Ended up being in the hospital for over a month, but as my sister and I were kids we weren't allowed into the intensive care ward. My sister was very young, when he finally came home she was mad at him for being gone so long. She didn't understand. I was too young to understand how bad it really was but I was glad to have him home.

My dad felt a lot of survivor's guilt at first. He's in some support groups for others with the condition. He's okay now and it's well managed, but he doesn't talk about it much.


Self Medication

My brain swelled up (Please don't take ibuprofen when you have bad alchohol poisoning!) And I was medically induced into a coma for 3 days, I had to learn how to walk and lost function in my right hand and left leg. I now live with constant vertigo.

For about a year after the accident, since I was deprived of fluid and chemicals, I was thrown back mentally to my teenage self, obnoxious and angry.

I still live with the consequences from my actions, and I wish it away every day.


Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire

Oh, this just happened to me.

I was in a coma for two weeks.

When I woke up in the hospital my younger brother was the first person I saw and he started quizzing me on photos he had of our pets, their names, etc.

I don't remember anything about how I ended up there.

I do remember feelings, like feeling better when my family was there in the hospital visiting me, even though I couldn't communicate that.

Anyway, much testing later, and as they slowly removed all the diodes and tubing and the cooling blanket, I've been diagnosed with a type of autoimmune disorder called Vasculitis.

So, there is pain, but not always, overexertion hurts, but there's plenty of worst things.

The strangest thing was I woke up in the hospital just as the Pandemic was being acknowledged as a worldwide problem.

Life is strange.


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