My Coma Experience, Part 1

Judy from Lifelessons Blog has asked if I would write about the 40-day coma I was in back in 2001.  So for the past week, I’ve been thinking about how to write it without being too dramatic or boring.  I thought I would break it into a series of posts over the next month or so.  If you don’t know my story, a good place to start would be reading my Lymes Disease Story, which will give you some of the background.

Did you know that coma survival rates are 50 percent or less?  I’m assuming we are talking comas that last longer than 7 days.  And less than 10 percent of people who come out of a coma completely recover from it.  Those are some scary statistics.

Chris and I always laugh at TV shows where people come out of being in a coma after weeks, months or years.  The TV show has the coma patients talking, sitting up, feeding themselves, and even sometimes walking within a day or two.  I am here to tell you none of that is possible.

Think about the last time you had a bad cold or flu, and were in bed or fairly immobile for a week or longer.  You feel weak when you first start moving normally again.  You were still able to feed yourself, go to the restroom, and change clothes but you basically just rested and slept because you were so sick. 

While in a coma, your body loses between 1 and 1.5 percent of your muscle mass.  So in my 40-day coma, I lost between 40 and 60 percent of my muscle mass.  Moving was not an option when I woke up.  So until I could start moving my muscles and rebuilding, I kept losing muscle mass by the day. 

Speaking again was also not an option when I woke up.  I had tubes down my throat to help me breathe, as do most coma patients.  Those tubes prevent you from talking right away. Even when you have the ventilator tube removed, you can only speak as loud as a whisper. All the muscles in your throat have weakened, and have been irritated by the tube.

In the next few weeks, I will talk about what I remember while I was in my coma.  I’ll give you a sneak peek.  For part of the time, I was on a yacht partying with Celine Dion.  There was another boat, more like a hospital ship where I got all the painful, ugly medical procedures. 

I will tell you what it was like to wake up and recover in the hospital, at least until I was kicked out of the hospital because I was dropped by my insurance.  The first thing I remember Chris telling me was, “We know your blood type now.”   By the way, I am AB+ which is a universal recipient.  In my case that turned out to my benefit.

Then I will tell you what it was like to go home again and rejoin the world. 

Questions and Responses

Please feel free to ask me any questions you are curious about.  I will answer them.  If you don’t want to ask your questions in the comment section below feel free to contact me.  

If you have been fortunate enough to live through a coma, please feel free to respond on the comment section.  Our experiences are uniquely our own and answers may vary a lot.  Again if you don’t want to respond in the comment area feel free to contact me.

10 comments

  1. Thank you for opening with this post, Cee. Do you know, that you kick me now to work through all this? I’m not ready to write about it yet, but when I am, you will hear from me.
    To wake up is so difficult in so many ways.
    We need to celebrate, that we woke up 😀

    Like

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Reading about loss of muscle mass gave me a bit of an aha moment. Have not experienced a coma, but was bedridden for three years. I’m afraid I adopted that “movie” attitude of “that’s over, I should be able to take up life again.” Your post is a reminder that rebuilding takes time. Perspective shifted, thank you!

    Like

    1. Rebuilding takes a ton of time and patience. I still am not as strong as I used to be. I’ve had to adjust my life and my “head” accordingly, Be gentle with yourself and look for the small victories. That is what I do.

      Liked by 1 person

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