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.

I’ve gathered a list of challenges and their hosts.  So if you know a challenge host, please direct them to my blog.  Feel free to contact me anytime.  I hope everyone will be able to use my lists.

Qi (energy) hugs

Cee

40 Comments

    1. To put it in very short terms, Lymes Disease which caused multiple organ failure. My kidneys, lungs and pancreas all shut down. I had so much acid in my body my stomach was being dissolved too.

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      1. O.M.G. I’ve read another blogger that has Lyme. There are two guys in my town that suffer with it…and one is a cop. Terrible disease and, judging by the reading I have done over the last decade, it is an engineered disease.

        You are a tough, tough lady. And, I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine…🤗💕

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        1. Lymes actually rewrites people’s DNA. That is what makes it so hard to identify and the symptoms are all over the board. Hopefully you will never have to imagine it, 😀

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  1. And I get the real chills when I read a sentence like this: “until I was kicked out of the hospital because I was dropped by my insurance”. The US American medicare policies I will never understand!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow! Just wow! I look forward to hearing how your story story unfolds. Until then, I’m popping over to read your background story.

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  3. I woke up from a 19-day coma on my 21st birthday, so it’s been a while ago (almost 40 years). What put me into a coma was a car accident. Waking up was a nightmarish experience. I remember not being able to swallow because of some tubes in my mouth (that tasted horrific), having a blinding headache (not surprising given the fact I had a severe concussion) that only worsened every time I opened my eyes and I was nauseous beyond belief yet throwing up never entered the equation. I vaguely remember seeing my mother at my bed, a few of my best friends and lots of doctors and other medical staff. It was quite bewildering as I had no recollection of what had happened (and to this day I still don’t), where the hell I was and what Mom was doing at my bed in Amsterdam since she and Dad were living in Karachi at the time. Neither did I understand why she and my friends were ushered out of the room. This (in my memory) gorgeous looking doctor introduced herself as my neurologist (she was my first neurologist out of the 10-12 I’ve had so far) and told me I had been very lucky. Very lucky indeed. Without going into any specifics, and strangely enough, I didn’t mind at all. Slowly doctors checked all my vital signs and finally started removing the electrodes from my head and body and the tubes from my mouth. I had completely lost my ability to speak (other than muttering some gibberish), to sit up or to turn around by myself. Rather traumatic… Fortunately, they never kicked me out and I was released some 6 weeks later.

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    1. WOW what a horrific story. The inability to speak I think was one of the hardest things to get over. I have so much scar tissue in my throat (from tubes and various other procedures), my voice never got back to where it was. If my neck gets at all hot, I start coughing and sound like I’m dying. It’s all scar tissue.

      The feelings we had to learn to cope with. I’m glad you were able to get the medical care you needed. Glad you are here to share your story.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. oh Cee, what a brave thing to do to share more . . . but thank you for doing so. As you say everyone imagines what it is like from TV shows and films, but like CPR is is nothing like the reality. I am, if this doesn’t sound too strange, looking forward to join you on the journey as I found you earlier pieces and this one today so incredibly informative.

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    1. CPR often times breaks or cracks ribs. My qigong master once said that the reason people’s heart starts to be again isn[t as much from the CPR itself, it is from the extreme pain it causes.

      Thanks Becky. It’s okay to look forward to hearing the story. It’s really rather fascinating how the mind, body and spirit all work together. To be continued for sure ….

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  5. I’ve read your story before Cee and yes indeed, I recognize a lot of what you went through as it was very similar to my heart failure/coma experience in 2011. Though my 12 day coma was mostly medically induced to keep me immobile while waiting for my damaged heart to heal enough to do its job without the need for an auxiliary pump. The vivid dreams (I was on an all-white houseboat dog-sitting 2 dobermans :-D), then waking up with tubes in pretty much every orifice, the atrophied muscles that left me feeling like a prisoner in my own body, the sensation from intubation of feeling totally trapped and helpless. Makes me shudder just thinking about it. After they took the tube out of my throat it took 3 weeks for my voice to come back beyond just a whisper. And you’re right, what they show on TV and in movies is so unrealistic I just have to laugh.
    I can’t imagine how it felt to be told you were being kicked out of the hospital so that some faceless insurance corporation could improve their bottom line. Whenever I hear these stories I get so angry with the heartlessness of U.S. healthcare and the political leaders who tell all kinds of lies to prevent it from improving. It also reminds me of how grateful I am to live in a country where we put the well being of people ahead of corporate profits.
    Looking forward to reading the rest, and I hope it can be therapeutic for you to share your story. I know it helped me.
    Take care 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Norm, thank you so much for sharing a part of story. Medically induced coma is still coma. 12 days, that is quite a long time.
    I’m so glad you survived and can share a part of your story here. I hear you when you say feeling totally trapped. We were and those scars can run deep. The tubes, IVs etc in every orifice I can definitely relate with. TV show or movie comas, I do have to laugh at too,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have fought back from so much pain and sickness… you are definitely a fighter! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I never knew if destroyed so much muscle mass! Glad you are here to tell your story!

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