Rip Van Winkle must have had quite a trip when he came out of his prolonged slumber and awakened 20-years-later to a completely different world.
Similar to the fictional literary character, one could imagine how jarring it must be for patients coming out of a coma.
Wondering what it must feel like to witness the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel only to be pulled back into consciousness, Redditor RealLifeTaco asked:
The responses ranged from those who woke up with amnesia to those who lost certain abilities like reading.
Many of the comments focused on people having wild hallucinations and being unable to distinguish between what is real or imagined.
There was one commonality on which everyone could agree on: that they wished never to experience being in a coma ever again.
That and the fact that ice chips are awesome.
"I was in a coma for 2 days. I remember nothing. It took about two weeks for me to recognize my surroundings and start talking again, months and months for my memory and communication to come back to a level inferior to before. I lost huge amounts of memory from the years before the coma. The older my memories the less affected they were. My memory is still kinda shot 5 years later."
"Really sh**ty experience especially for my family."
Turning To Audiobooks
"I was in a coma for 4 days and then a medically induced coma for 10 or 11 days afterwords. Semi truck accident."
"I was a book reader before my coma. Afterwords, reading was a chore because I could no longer focus on words and comprehend the story. I'm ok in small bursts. I can do a chapter or two. But I still prefer audiobooks now over actual books."
"It has significantly improved my memory. Likewise, listening to books I know that I've read before but don't recall would usually bring back a flood of memories that the coma locked away somewhere. Half of the books I've listened to have been like opening a safe full of memories. Some good, some not, and not all real."
Three Comas In One Lifetime
"I was in a coma three times over a period of five months: for about three weeks the first time, a week the second and five days the third time, all due to hepatic encephalitis (brain swelling caused by liver failure). When I was actually out cold (most of the time), I remember nothing."
"I had horrific hallucinations - probably during brief periods when the doctors dialled back my sedation to see how I was doing or as I was emerging from unconsciousness as I improved."
"I was in hospitals in New England every time. But the first time, I believed I was being kept alive in a nursing home in Korea while my organs were being harvested. Apparently, I removed the breathing tube in my first attempt to flee. The next time I remember anything, I had on mittens that were like white oven mitts that I couldn't get off. I somehow managed to throw myself over the bed's guardrails. When I landed on the floor I realized that I there were catheters all over the place that made getting away hard. Also, people came running."
"The second time, I believed that I was stuck in a kind of purgatory where a bunch of people would come to my bed, torture me, laugh and leave. The weirdest part was, it was like watching a movie. Sometimes it played really slowly and sometimes really fast. But it was always exactly the same. It always started with a beeping sound that I came to dread. (In the cold light of day, a shrink came up with the idea that my mind formed a memory of a single instance of nurses repositioning me in the bed and suctioning my breathing tube, which made me gag. The beep was probably a blood pressure cuff. I believe that is correct.)"
"The third time, I believed that a semi-pro hockey team was trying to find me and kill me because I knew that my great-grandmother and the great-grandmother of the team's captain had been lesbian lovers and the team wanted to avoid scandal. I absolutely thought that I was being moved around the hospital and hidden. (The only time I left the ICU was for a CAT scan.) I have no reason to believe that my great grandmother was a lesbian."
"I also believed that I had decided to buy all of the nurses blueberry milkshakes, but that one nurse had stolen the money I gave her to pay for them. Apparently, after I was awake, I ranted about that for days!"
Between What Is Imagined Or Real
"Kinda weird. My coma was a few days but I woke up with memories of the past week really jumbled and to this day I cant tell what was real and what I imagined from people telling me."
"Plus I woke up on a breathing tube and that was the day I learnt what it felt like to deep throat someone."
"edit: I woke up from the coma but was still on anesthesia for a while so the moment I woke up I saw my entire family around me in tears and me being unaware I was in a hospital assumed I was still watching TV with my mom and, trying to be funny, my first words to her were 'Who died?'"
"It was weird I guess is the best way to describe it, I woke up with retrograde amnesia so I didn't remember anything from before. I remember waking up quite clearly though, especially when my family came in to see me. They all rushed in, tears streaming down their faces, hugging me. All I could think was 'Who the f'k are these people.' I had a massive panic moment when I realized I didn't know who I was. 0/10 would not do again."
"I was in a coma about 8 yrs ago it lasted 5 weeks. All I remember was having really crazy but very real dreams. One I remember was having a bees nest in my chest and doctors trying to coax them out with honey. As I said it was crazy but It was so real. Also I had dreams that mixed with things what were going on in real life. For example my dad would come in everyday and read his newspaper to me. I must have been taking it in as I would dream about some of the events as I was there."
Coping With Pain And Loss
"Was in a coma for a little over a day. Don't remember 10 days in all. It was like a blink, 30 seconds before the wreck then this guy was in a wheel chair talking to me about something. The only things I knew for sure was that I was married, I was in the Air Force, and I hurt all over."
"I guess I looked confused because the guy stopped and changed his tone. He suddenly sounded like he was bored answering questions he had already been over a dozen times. Then news was bad."
"'You're in Elmendorf AFB hospital, your wife is downstairs. You were in a wreck and your daughter was killed.'"
"I don't speak much of our daughter. It hurts too much, It is a wound I cannot seem to heal."
"My recovery has taken years. I lost a portion of my left frontal and temporal lobes. I had mood control and anger issues. I also have a speech problem remembering nouns. I switch names of things being discussed without realizing it, or I forget the name of somebody something entirely."
"I don't introduce my wife to people because it is very embarrassing to forget the name of the woman you love, heart and soul."
"I have a form of epilepsy that manifest as pain. Along with some very strange sensations."
"But I have a loving wife, have raised two children, and had a satisfying career. But I still deal with the disability everyday."
Ice Chips Are The Best
"This is my experience with being in a coma, that being I was in a medically induced coma. Not sure if they are different or not. I had a very bad car accident & almost didn't make it, I remember the same thing ambulance ride got to the surgery table/room bright lights people talking and moving extremely fast almost panicked type movements from everyone."
"Then I'm in icu, now I wasn't always awake but I remember things when I was in the coma which to me freaks me out. I remember my mother talking to me I remember my family visiting me while I was still in the coma, where they were standing helI I even remember the ones that cried their eyes out. It's weird because as you described I couldn't move or tell them I was ok, it was frustrating to say the least. I was restrained as well because I tried pulling out my ventilator tube which I do remember also. And F'KING YES I was parched. The ice does wonders I had the worst case of cotton mouth when I woke up."
When we see comas represented in TV and movies, it's almost always pretty identical to sleeping, and a person just wakes up one day. In reality, though, a coma can consist of floating around through various levels of consciousness.
Okay, those are all great words, but functionally what does that even mean? What is it like to exist that way? For that, we turn to Reddit.
The responses left us sitting with a heavy train of thought. A lot of the people responded that one of the things their minds did was create false memories that, to them, feel just like any other. For a while, they couldn't tell the two apart.
Some peoples memories were disjointed but others, like the woman who remembers a family vacation that never happened, create clear storylines that they are emotionally invested in.
If we fell into a coma, lived a cherished memory, and then woke up ... would I want to know the thing I imagined wasn't real? Does the woman really need to know the family vacation never happened? What about the people who imagined awful things? How do you ever believe that this experience you really felt just didn't happen? How do you accept and move on from that?
Like we said, heavy.
I was in medically induced coma for about a week.
The coma itself is not much to talk about - there is just a gap in your memory, even from before it happened (I don't even remember the accident that brought me there in the first place).
Waking up from it is much different story though. Since I was fully dosed by painkillers and sedatives and whatnot I was basically high as kite and since the trauma I suffered was very serious my brain constructed very stressful, vivid nightmares I remember to this day.
Waking up was like the shallow sleep when you're semi-aware of your surroundings but you're also half dreaming. The former made me realize I'm in the hospital and that something bad happened (could not figure out what though), the latter combined with the said meds made the experience utterly terrifying.
But yes, at some moment I realized that I need to wake up, but I didn't know how. Also, there were several timelines concurrently going on in my head (as crazy as it may sound) and I could not determine which one is the correct one to wake into...
Turns out none of them was the correct one, although the fragments of reality were present in each of them, and I didn't have a conscious or any other control over choosing between them. It's not like I chose my reality, it's more like those delusional ones receded eventually.
My wife was in a coma for about a month. At first I didn't bring the kids up because of how she looked but in the third week her color was closer to normal and there was less 'stuff' going on as she was pretty stable compared to the first two weeks.
Anywho....I had told the kids that while Mom wasn't responsive there was a chance could she hear us so they should be as brave as they can and sound as happy as they can. I described to them everything I thought that might spook them from the tubes and wires to things beeping randomly and Dr's & nurses coming and going.
They were awesome. Even in the initial shock at seeing her with a ventilator they were vocally loving, hugged and patted, held her hand etc. We sat in the room a while and just talked.
At one point I asked the kids what their favorite vacation was. Instead of our Disney and Universal Studios trips they both agreed it was the road trip we took from Vegas down to Arizona...driving all over and seeing all the incredible sights...we talked about rides & amusements in Vegas, then Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, cave dwellings, petrified forest, silly road stops, a cheap motel we stayed in Flagstaff...we laughed and cried (just a little). It was as nice as it could be. They kissed her goodbye saying "see you soon".
My wife heard it all...but in a hallucinatory way.
She now has, to this day (near 10 years later), a vivid memory of a second Arizona vacation she went on with us. She even asked me early on after she woke up if we had gone on a vacation recently. Her mind went through every detail we talked about and even added on to it as if it all actually happened and the memories of it are as real as any.
10 Days of Grief
10 days I don't remember anything about. Not sure if it is a blessing or a curse. Hit by a drunk driver. My wife and I lived, our daughter didn't.
To me that stuff on tv where the pt wakes up and everything goes back to normal is bullsh!t. When I woke up I was in a conversation with another pt. Air Force had sick bays, not individual rooms. I can only compare it to a computer, I had been hung in an update and then, flicker, new screen.
I had "woken up" several days earlier, but nothing stayed with me. My wife says I was paranoid that they were "putting acid in my I.V." because I was tripping. I was hostile and aggressive. I read the medical records, they kept me restrained for a couple of days after I hit an nurse. I started acting normal so they moved me from ICU to the sick bay.
The blessing is forgetting 10 days of some pretty intense pain. I was broken in a lot of places and bruised in all the rest. Never knew you could bruise some of them. That freaked me out.
The curse was I wasn't there when my wife needed me most. There is that tinge of guilt that she faced that grief alone for 10 days. I know, couldn't be helped. I know it's not my fault, but live through it and tell me how it feels.
No Football AllowedGiphy
Not me, but my dad has described his coma after his car accident. He was pulled up a little too far at a stop sign, and a guy who was speeding and on his phone swerved off the road.
So he was in a coma for about two months. On my end, it wasn't like the movies. He didn't just wake up miraculously. It was two months of steady improvements. One eye opened, then a few days later his other eye was half open, then he could wiggle a toe, then he could move his fingers, etc.
On his end, he said he could hear bits and pieces of what was happening around him, but it was like a dream that he couldn't wake up from. When me and my two younger siblings would come in and talk to him, his heart rate would go down. When a football game was on and his friends came to sit with him and watch it, the nurses made them turn it off once his team started losing because his heart rate blew up. He's a fan of the Miami Dolphins, so I guess his HR never fully returned to normal.
Worst Nap Ever
I had a motorcycle wreck a few years ago. Someone texting blew a stop sign and ended up t-boning them. Not sure if coma is the correct term, but I was definitely unconscious for two days, honestly just felt like the worst, least refreshing nap in the history of naps. Had the wreck on a Sunday, woke up sometime Tuesday afternoon/evening and asked if the bike was ok.
Was hit by a car when I was 5 years old. Ended up with toxic shock syndrome and went into a coma for 4 months. I just remember some very weird 'dreams,' which i can still recall vividly 26 years later. Someone mentioned something about visiting another realm, and that's pretty close to the mark.
My favorite dream from the coma involved me floating over a huge grey colored ocean, and i saw something rise up from the water that i can only describe as a dragon with scoliosis. It moved its head like it was smelling the air and then turned and looked right at me.
In another one my favorite cousin had abandoned me and now lived in the ceiling above my hospital bed with my two best friends, Jason and Jason, who were also twins. They just moved a tile out of the way and would just stare at me from above.
The OG Power Rangers came to see me in one of these dreams too. Except Tommy. They just stood around my bed wearing their colors, and Jason picked up my little stuffed red power ranger pillow. Then he pointed towards the door and just outside on the cliff was Numb and Skull sitting at a bar and waving. I thought that was real until i was about 12.
Back To Sleep
I can only compare it to when you're little and wake up at a friends house and don't know where you are. I was in a coma for 2 months after a bad car accident. It wasn't medically induced, it was thanks to brain damage. When I woke up I was alone in the hospital room and had no clue what happened or why I was there. I had a neck brace on due to a broken neck so I figured something was wrong with my neck but was unsure how or what happened.
For some reason I thought I was 60 years old (I was in my 20s). I was paranoid and scared, but didn't know why I was there. I used context clues to figure out I was in the hospital. It was frightening. After about 5 minutes I decided to go back to sleep. 2 months of sleep wasn't quite long enough.
When I was in 5th grade I fell out of a tree and bonked my head pretty well. I woke up 3? days later in the hospital. For me, the experience is easily summarized in three parts:
- When I fell, I blacked out before I hit the ground... or at least that is where memory fades. And "fades" is really the best word. It was as if my consciousness was drained away and then blackness and nothingness. It was as if my body knew how badly it was going to hurt and so it shut down.
- I have very, very, very, vague memories while in the coma of hearing my Dad reading a book, or my Mom telling me that she knew I would pull through, or of a tube in my nose. But these were always super fuzzy moments and I never was conscious during them, it was more like a half second of being aware of one particular thing--the way the tube felt being taped against my arm and wishing I could reach out and move it--and then back into the nothingness. I think that I was somewhat aware of the fact that I was a little more aware each time that this happened but honestly I am not certain of even that much.
- 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.
I survived and am fine now without any lasting issues.
So Many Casualties
Survived (sort of) a major auto collision after a drunk Marine driving home from the Del Mar race track drifted onto our side of the highway.
Sadly, my older brother and fiance did not. I suffered a TBI and my family was advised I wouldn't live thru the weekend. All they could do was perform a burr hole procedure to drain blood from my brain and relieve pressure -- then wait. Dr.'s pumped me with barbiturates and fent to keep me under for 5 days. Woke up 16 days later.
Took about 8 hours to realize what was happening. Don't know about others, but my coma was not a deep sleep as some might imagine. It's like you're swimming underwater, but near the surface. I was in a nightmare within an adventure.
When I woke up, I didn't ask to see anyone or wonder what had happened to me. Apparently, the first word I said to anyone was "water." I have never experienced such thirst in my life.
Shortly after I regained my senses, a doctor casually notified me that both my brother and girl had perished; furthermore, the neurological damage was irreversible and I would now walk with a limp for the rest of my life. What made it worse was my girl didn't die right away. She stayed alive for 4 days hoping I would wake up so she could say goodbye. She passed away thinking I would soon die as well.
Unlike portrayed in TV & film, accident/coma survivors don't simply go home and resume their lives. For me, the accident and the coma's after-effects set in motion a cascade of personal loss which took 10 years to somewhat recover from.
I later revealed to friends & family that we were on that road because we were headed to pick up concert tickets I found on Craigslist. Her parents blamed me for her death.
Although my dad never directly accused me, he resented me and he distanced himself from me for the next few years until he passed. My older brother was his pride and joy. He stopped treating his hypertension and essentially gave up on life. I consider him a casualty of the accident as well.
I was crushed.
Polite And Compliant
Coma for three days from medication cocktail suicide attempt. I remember getting REALLY tired. Like my entire body suddenly dropped even lower into the gurney in the ambulance. Then my head started falling sideways and halfway down I lost consciousness. I woke up three days later with zero memories. I don't know if they had me drugged because of the reasons I went in, but I had no emotions at all for like three days after. Just nothing. I was incredibly polite and compliant.
I say it was like a blink.
I was in a coma for two months after a car accident, and suddenly I became aware that everything is different. But two months had passed and I didn't remember any of it. Of course, I was 40 pounds lighter and couldn't walk and couldn't talk and half my head was shaved, so clearly time has passed, but I didn't feel any of it.
It was like I blinked and everything changed.
I was in a coma for 2.5 weeks in my early 20s. I had meningococcemia (the kind of meningitis people get vaccinated for now) and my body just shut down. I was on a ventilator and IV nutrition as well.
I had these wild hallucinations/dreams while I was out of it like that there were ninjas in my room and people trying to come take me out of the room. There's a period of time I don't have any recollection of at all, though, where everyone had to tell me what happened after I woke up. I remember parts of being weaned off the ventilator and the only thing I can compare that to is being way under water and not being able to breathe but seeing the surface of the water and knowing if you can reach it you will get in a good breath of air.
It took them 3 or 4 days to wake me up enough to get off the ventilator. For the most part my family said they sat there and talked to me throughout the entire time. There was one period where they turned down the sedation and I thrashed around and restarted ripping my IV's out and tried to grab the ventilator tube but I was so weak a nurse was able to stop me. I would not recommend.
When I woke up, my body had used most of my muscle mass in fighting off the infection so I could hardly move (I couldn't even put chapstick on myself). My lips were all chewed up from me trying to get the ventilator tubing out of my mouth, all the tape they had to use on me peeled my skin off and I had ventilator assisted pneumonia. I also lost both of my legs below the knee and 2 fingertips.
In retrospect, the coma was probably the best part of it all. Its waking up from the coma that is the hardest part and all the things you have to deal with afterwards.
Just over a year ago I was in a car accident, a pretty bad one, and ended up walking away with only a few scratches.
Fast forward 5 days and I was going in and out of conciousness in my apartment, feeling very sick and delirious. Got to the ER down the street via my dad picking me up late at night, don't remember the entire thing but all of a sudden I was on oxygen and people were checking on me constantly, and I realized I was slowly losing the ability to move, or at least it felt like it.
I remember fading in and out, and truly fading seems to be the best word, because as I remember it, it was like fuzzy memories of the following week.
I had a severe case of sepsis (not sure if that's how to phrase it exactly), and abscesses had formed around a few of my organs including my kidneys and liver. Also a horrible case of aspiration pneumonia to top it off so I couldn't breathe on my own either.
All I remember from the week was random moments of pure discomfort, and then immediately fading to black, I only seemed to wake-up/be aware when the pain would start/I had run out of whatever heavy-duty pain medication they gave me.
When I finally woke up, or was woken up, I was in agony and after a few hours I felt jolted into being extremely aware of everything around me and was confused for awhile. I remained in hospital a further 4 weeks, had to learn to walk again since the muscles in my legs forgot what to do (that has a name, I can't recall rn).
Still dealing with health issues over a year later. I often dream about that week of being kept under, like random moments of nurses fixing my oxygen, my parents sitting looking at me, and doctors murmuring to my parents, or my least favorite, just dreaming about knowing I'm not conscious but still feeling the pain, like I'm back there all over again.
When my mum was late teens she had multi organ failure and went into a coma for three weeks. I just text to ask if she had any of these crazy dreams that others have written about but she replied 'I had the best dreams ever'.
When she woke up she was in hospital surrounded by nuns who's first words were,'Jesus wants you for a sunbeam'. When she looked through the glass she could see her dad (who had been in another country when she went into the coma) so she thought she had died!!!
Her heart actually stopped beating at some point and she said that all she felt was pure peace so she is not afraid of dying now. So I thought I'd share as this gave me quite a bit of comfort 😂
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Comas are one of those unique experiences many people will neither see nor live through. It's the living through part we're focusing on today, as people put into comas, either through accident or medically induced, opened up about what it was like in the deep sleep.
Reddit user, u/yummygumdrop, wanted to hear what it was like when they asked:
Wisconsin Man Collapses At Gym—And Now His Wife Has A Warning About Supplements And Pre-Workout Drinks
Eating or drinking a pre-workout product probably seems like a healthy option to most people, but Daphne Buxman-Carley of Greenville, Wisconsin wants to spread the word that ingesting pre-workout food or drinks can, in some cases, have fatal effects on the heart.
"These have become such a big deal within the past couple of years – they're all over the place now. Whether it's a trend or whether it sticks, I don't know, but more and more people have been having heart problems because of it."
On that fateful March morning, Daphne's husband, 42-year-old Kevin Carley, drank a pre-workout product before heading to the YMCA, as he almost always did. All was well through a warmup and, with nothing to fear, Carley then got on the treadmill.
For those who are addicted to pre-workout or artificial forms of dieting.. https://t.co/HuEF7NFLQv— eva marie poon (@eva marie poon)1546881931.0
"I got 15 minutes into my run and that's when all of a sudden, just instantly, I couldn't breathe. I broke out in this cold sweat. That's all I remember. The next thing I knew, it was Monday."
Daphne found out about the incident as paramedics were giving her husband CPR:
"He was very combative, they couldn't keep an oxygen mask on him. He was ripping it off, constantly flailing around. The first responder, he asked me, 'Does he have seizures or any sort of medical issues?' At this point, we were the healthiest we've ever been."
I don’t use these, but someone here might, and find this a useful warning ⚠️ Wisconsin Woman Warns of Pre-Workout D… https://t.co/sAEicxT7ah— melinda (@melinda)1546878806.0
She was being truthful about their health: Buxman even taught a high-intensity interval training class at the YMCA. Kevin would sometimes attend these classes.
Altogether, the couple would go to the gym roughly 5-6 times a week, which made it even more surprising that Carley would experience a cardiac arrest.
Doctors, stumped as to the cause of his condition, put Kevin in a medically induced coma to save his life. They got their first clue as to his ailment when they pumped his stomach.
"When we intubated him, there was like green liquid, like slime, that shot out of his mouth. Even when he was still in a coma, there was something sucking out the green slime hours later. You would see it behind him, the green slime in a little container."
It was then that she remembered the small bag of pre-workout powder in his gym locker. A couple days later, after Kevin regained consciousness, doctors ran many tests to confirm their suspicion: the drink nearly cost him his life.
Thank God Jake Whisler and Betsy Janda Whisler. So scary. https://t.co/4IU8c3kAZp— Anthony R. Arrington (@Anthony R. Arrington)1546721352.0
Dr. Peter Weiss, interventional cardiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, explains what may have made the pre-workout drink so dangerous in Carley's case:
"We know the body has a 24-hour cycle, so we have increased natural levels of things like cortisol, steroids and adrenaline and that sort of thing in our body early in the morning anyway. Then if you pile on a bunch of this artificial stimulant of unclear dose and push yourself athletically, you could potentially have increased risk of this sort of event occurring."
While such products do have their benefits, the doctor suggested eating or drinking other, less synthesized products before hitting the gym. Though it seems less healthy, he suggests a "cup of coffee:"
"When somebody ingests stimulants, whether it's caffeine or any others, it basically mimics the effects of adrenaline in the body. Unfortunately, these things are really not regulated. So we don't know much about the quality of the ingredients or the dosing other than what is being claimed on the package."
Favorite pre-workout drink: coffee Favorite post-workout drink: also coffee. #fitness ?— Mike Danto (@Mike Danto)1546605269.0
One of our new year's articles just warned about this problem- know what you are ingesting, every ingredient, or do… https://t.co/0uhrvVanyy— Jill Murphy (@Jill Murphy)1546736892.0
Doctors warned Carley to stay away from pre-workout drinks in the future. They were very close to costing him his life, as they did for John Reynolds of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, who died in 2011 after going into cardiac arrest caused by an energy drink.
Cassondra Reynolds, the deceased's wife, commented to Inside Edition:
"I want people to know it really only takes one drink. I just don't want anyone else to go through what my sons and I go through. I don't want another family to be harmed by any of this. I just want people to understand that it can very very easily happen to them."
With Americans everywhere making resolutions to get in shape during 2019, Weiss wants to make sure everyone stays within the borders of what is healthy:
"If people really want to work out, say, 'Hey it's New Year's, I'm going to get healthy,' that's amazing. Just stay away from any sort of energy drinks and supplements. You don't need that to go work out."
Former Coma Patients Describe What It Was Like Being Trapped In Their Own Bodies
It's so hard to imagine what it would be like to be in a coma, if you've never been in one. Is it like sleep? Do you maintain some level of consciousness? What exactly does it mean to be in a coma? What's so scary is scientists have almost no answers for us. It's impossible to replicate the level of consciousness from inside of a coma. Luckily, there are some surviving coma victims who can share with us.
Redditor lauren__95 asked the internet:
Here were some of the harrowing recounts.
My husband was put into a medically induced coma when he was 4 years old for 6 weeks, after a near death experience post-tonsillectomy (that's a whole other story - lead to the discovery of a very rare bleeding disorder.)
During the coma he could hear everything and he could feel. His family would notice tears, he was crying while comatose, and no one could figure it out, not even the doctors. Then one day his grandma got this idea that if he could cry, maybe he could feel, and if he could feel, maybe he's itchy. She scratched his whole body for him. The crying stopped. She did it every day till he woke up. He remembers feeling itchy and not being able to scratch. He also remembers the relief when his grandma started doing it for him.
I went into a coma, after spending 2 & 1/2 months semi-comatose. I may as well have been in a coma the entire time, since I have very little memory of what occurred that entire time, but then again, my memory sucks as a whole, thanks to this entire event. My seizure meds were no longer flushing through my system, and my body just started shutting down, til I ended up fully comatose. Apparently I was having what my sister called a never-ending seizure while in the coma, which led to my being tied to the bed. At one point, I felt my step-mother rubbing on my arm, while her and my sister told me to settle down. Shortly after, the dr told them to go ahead and begin funeral plans, but thankfully, not in my presence. However, the following afternoon, I began the slow process of waking up, pissed off because something was making a god awful noise and I couldn't open my eyes to figure out what it was. Come to find out, it was me, by swallowing against the tube in my throat. Terrifying experience overall, even if most of it has been relayed to me secondhand.
I don't remember anything from those 6 weeks; but I woke up angry with a family member who rarely visited and did/said dumb stuff around my comatose self. Apparently, when the doctors said I could hear, they weren't wrong. Was angry for quite a while.
In my case I was perfectly aware of everything going around me but trapped in a sleeping body. Couldn't move a single part of my body for myself but was able to hear, feel and even focus and see when the dr lift my eyelid. Very frightening. Luckily it only lasted a couple/three hours tops (it was caused by an unknown extreme allergy to opioids).
Short backstory, anesthetics don't work on me. I lose control of my body, but I can hear and feel everything. And I mean everything. My appendix burst a few years ago, I had surgery and I was comatose for 3 days because of the anesthesia. I felt every cut and every stitch, I heard the surgeon talking about his daughter's school play, I felt dad hugging me and crying after the surgery, but I couldn't react. I heard my brother yelling at the doctors why I wasn't awake yet, and my highschool friend talking to me.
This is why I'm scared to get that f-cker of a wisdom tooth removed. What if it happens again?
I was put into an induced coma for about 6 days after being struck by a taxi while crossing a road. I was blackout drunk when it happened so for the most part I don't remember anything from about the time I went out for the night to when I was properly woken up after my first surgery (facial reconstruction for my broken frontal bone). However, I was woken up periodically to check how responsive I was. The memories for this stretch of time were pretty hazy. The first thing I remember was waking up and freaking out about having a breathing tube down my throat. This was around the 5th day. Seriously freaked me the f-ck out tbh, it felt like I was being abducted by aliens.
To The Stars
I was once in a coma for 72 hours.
I remember seeing stars, and a voice telling me to count all the stars if I want to go back, I remember looking 'up' at them and telling the voice it's impossible, there are too many, then I started counting them...
Besides that, I just remember waking up and feeling groggy.
Strange but true.
1st time I've ever told that story.
I was in a coma for 11 days from an accident. The Neurologist(s), Internist, Nurses, etc told me I was one of the most 'agitated' Coma patients they had ever seen. They literally had to invent new, almost boxing-type gloves for my hands! But to answer your question, I do remember being in my coma sometimes...its been over a year, and I can still recollect the 'world' that I resided in for those 11 days as clearly now as when I woke up. Contrary to popular culture, one doesn't just "wake up" from a coma and are suddenly themselves. It's very gradual. Takes days. I remember being in a dream-like state, but in that 'dream' I could taste, touch, feel, hear, etc. Its weird. I remember choosing to wake up as well. I was on a cabana on the beach when a guy in his thirties (I can still see his face but he was a complete stranger) approached and spoke with me for a while. As he was talking, suddenly the buildings behind me, pieces of furniture, even people, start to fade away, and disappear altogether. He told me remain calm, and that I had a choice: I could remain where I was, or I could take a left, and walk down the beach to a 'tiki like shack' of sorts, where a Haitian woman would be waiting. I chose to walk. When I arrived at the shack, the woman asked me if I was ready, took me inside, had me lie down on a small, twin bed, and when I replied that I was ready now, I just...started to wake up. Once I 'woke up' from my coma, no matter how many times I floated in and out of consciousness, I could never return to that state again.
I was in a coma in 2007 after suffering Traumatic Brain Injury from crashing my head through a fence as the result of an ATV crash.
I had the craziest dreams, wow. I can still remember a couple of them pretty vividly. I feel like some of the things that were happening in real life were actually contributing to the dreams; for instance one involved the nurses and I got them to take me to a pig blood party in the hospital hallways. There was another wild one involving going through the drive through at mcdonald's in a jeep wrangler with a machine gun strapped to the top.
My coma was roughly a week but I don't remember anything from that week. I recall the ambulance ride (I had busted my head pretty badly) and know that I heard them saying I would be okay. When I woke up I thought it was still the same day. It was kind of like when you lay down to sleep and wake up eight hours later but it feels like you blinked. You know time passed but it feels like an instant. I tried to sit up but the doctor stopped me and talked to me until I was coherent. Apparently I had been in the process of coming around for about an hour by the time I tried to sit up.
My mom claims that I knew songs after my coma that I couldn't have heard before but I listened to so much radio back then I don't really know if that's accurate.
throw away account cause this is really personal.
While unconscious on the ground I lived a different life.
I met a wonderful young lady, she made my heart skip and my face red, I pursued her for months and dispatched a few jerk boyfriends before I finally won her over, after two years we got married and almost immediately she bore me a daughter.
I had a great job and my wife didn't have to work outside of the house, when my daughter was two she [my wife] bore me a son. My son was the joy of my life, I would walk into his room every morning before I left for work and doted on him and my daughter.
One day while sitting on the couch I noticed that the perspective of the lamp was odd, like inverted. It was still in 3D but... just.. wrong. (It was a square lamp base, red with gold trim on 4 legs and a white square shade). I was transfixed, I couldn't look away from it. I stayed up all night staring at it, the next morning I didn't go to work, something was just not right about that lamp.
I stopped eating, I left the couch only to use the bathroom at first, soon I stopped that too as I wasn't eating or drinking. I stared at the lamp for 3 days before my wife got really worried, she had someone come and try to talk to me, by this time my cognizance was breaking up and my wife was freaking out. She took the kids to her mother's house just before I had my epiphany.... the lamp is not real.... the house is not real, my wife, my kids... none of that is real... the last 10 years of my life are not f-cking real!
The lamp started to grow wider and deeper, it was still inverted dimensions, it took up my entire perspective and all I could see was red, I heard voices, screams, all kinds of weird noises and I became aware of pain.... a f-cking sh-t ton of pain... the first words I said were "I'm missing teeth" and opened my eyes. I was laying on my back on the sidewalk surrounded by people that I didn't know, lots were freaking out, I was completely confused.
at some point a cop scooped me up, dragged/walked me across the sidewalk and grass and threw me face down in the back of a cop car, I was still confused.
I was taken to the hospital by the cop (seems he didn't want to wait for the ambulance to arrive) and give CT scans.
I went through about 3 years of horrid depression, I was grieving the loss of my wife and children and dealing with the knowledge that they never existed, I was scared that I was going insane as I would cry myself to sleep hoping I would see her in my dreams. I never have, but sometimes I see my son, usually just a glimpse out of my peripheral vision, he is perpetually 5 years old and I can never hear what he says.
I was in a medical induced coma for a month when I was 8 years old. I could hear the people around me, I wanted to move but I could not I could not open my eyes.
When I did dream it was extremely vivid and mostly nightmares due to the medications I was on. I don't remember them now but my parents say that my heart rate would go up and I looked scared.
I never want to be in a coma again. I still get anxiety thinking about it, even though all I remember is being paralyzed. Not being able to open my eyes, but hearing my parents discussion was terrifying. I wanted to join in I wanted to move, but I couldn't even with my brushes with death this is the one experience I experience the most anxiety/fear from.
I can't speak to her experience as she didn't make it through, but my aunt was in a coma and responded to things we said. Around christmas, my mom said "if Sandy doesn't get up or isn't able, one of us will have to make the deviled eggs this year" and my Aunt's blood pressure spiked. My mom freaked out and said "sorry, we won't take your job from you Sandy" and it went back down as soon as it came.
Band Of Brothers
Personally I was never in a coma but my uncle worked on an oil rig that burnt down. In a small Canadian town named Flin Flon. He was on the top floor of a 15 story tower as it was on fire. The event is known as one of the more tragic events in the town and everyone who lives there knows about it and someone who was affected by it. All my uncles friends ended up dying except for my uncle. 80% of his body is burns and was in a coma for 2.5 months I think and says the entire time he was dreaming that he was a solider at war and his co-workers were his army pals and he watched them all die in the field and he said he thought it was all real.
Wall Of Clowns
Was in an induced coma for a week when I was 6.
I dreamt really weird sh-t. I dreamt of this red wall with red objects, slowly passing by in front of my eyes. I also dreamt of a few situations with people I knew (not even friends) where the room was really weirdly lit and it seemed like people were laughing at me. It was kind of scary, cause it I somehow felt something was wrong but there wasn't anything I could do to change it. Lastly, I dreamt of clowns that were laughing at me, but I think that was just me being high on morphine, cause I later heard that I was swearing like hell at the clowns who were supposed to cheer me up.
I've been in a coma - don't remember a thing. It was basically just like a normal night of sleep, except a bit longer. I usually don't dream (or remember doing so), and nothing was really different about it.
I've also had sleep paralysis, and that's a completely different deal. After a long, sleepless night, I was waiting outside a classroom on campus, and sat down in a chair. The moment I leaned my head backward, everything blacked out. I was still completely conscious, but couldn't see anything, couldn't hear anything, and couldn't move a muscle. Right as I internally started panicking, I heard myself start snoring - like incredibly loud, almost cartoonish-level snoring. I desperately tried moving anything I could, mostly out of sheer embarrassment because it still sounded like I was snoring. What felt like minutes later, I finally managed to move an elbow slightly closer inward off of the armrest of my chair, which jolted me sideways a bit, waking me up. Vision and sound started flooding back in, and I immediately noticed that no one around seemed to notice or care that I was basically trapped inside myself for a few minutes. I never did find out if I was actually making any sounds or weird movements, but it was definitely an experience that I don't want to repeat.
I'd pick a coma over sleep paralysis any day.
Not me, but my mom. She had a minor procedure last year which went sideways (she developed acute pancreatitis and she went into shock); she slipped into a coma for two months.
She said that she could hear us from time to time, but it was all like a dream. For instance, my sis learned that she was pregnant on the same day my mom slipped into the coma and she told her about it while she was asleep - she woke up and remembered it.
She also had some really weird and vivid dreams. For instance, she was convinced (even after she woke up!) that I was replaced by an impostor. She also woke up angry at my dad about something that happened in a dream. My sister was the only one who she wasn't angry with. At least I know which of her children she loves more is.
I had a short-term (1 night) medically induced coma after reacting violently to an anti-nausea medicine and then given an overdose (mistakenly) of antihistamine to stop the reaction.
I had crazy, vivid nightmares for 8 hours (probably induced by the overdose of antihistamine my body was trying to get rid of). I was never so happy to wake up in my life. I only have nightmares in normal life (never good dreams), so maybe someone else would've been just dreaming.
I was in a coma for 3 Days. It was as if I fell asleep waiting for a nurse and then instantly woke up in a hospital bed. Time travel is never a good thing. My blood sugar was at around 800. This is when I found out that I had childhood onset diabetes at the age of 22. I had lost 40 lbs in 3 months. Went from 6'2 185-145. Within a few days of waking up they had rehydrated my body and I gained most of my weight back. Pretty scary sh-t.
All I Ever Wanted
My wife was in a coma for several weeks. She was touch and go at first, thought we might lose her, so I didn't bring the kids up. About the 2nd week, after she has stabilized but still in a coma I finally brought the kids up.
While they were their I got them talking about past vacations. Asked them which was their favorite and we talked for a long while about road trip vacations we had taken...one to Nevada & Arizona and one to New Mexico. Then we talked about our what our next vacation should be and they were all into seeing more pueblos, mountains, deserts, caves, dormant volcanoes, canyons etc..kids were laughing and it was quite therapeutic overall.
Flash forward to about a month and a half later when my wife is out of the coma and she has completely real memories of a new vacation. In her mind she has a week long road trip from Texas to New Mexico, then Arizona and back...that never happened. Crazy.