On T.V. shows, when people wake up from comas, they often talk about the things they were able to hear while being under. Sometimes, they talk about having intense dreams. But what is it really like waking up from a coma?
Here, people reveal what it is actually like being in a coma.
I was in a coma for six weeks or so when I was 14.
I was extremely sick (septic) from pancreatitis and I was unconsciousness, the doctors couldn’t do anything for me, so they put me under in the hopes of my body doing something to fix itself. I basically had a huge hole in my pancreas and it was leaking acid into my abdominal cavity, slowly dissolving all my organs. Cases like mine are fatal 99% of the time, but I was in the 1% and lived! Around week four my body had created this tissue ball that encased my pancreas and a lot of the dead tissue, so they tried to bring me up from the coma. It didn’t work. I was just in a regular coma now and not a medically induced one.
Fortunately, I woke up on my own two weeks later. From my perspective it was practically instant. One second I was in a medical transport helicopter and the next I was waking up. I had a few hazy dreams in the last few weeks of it , but nothing I even remember.
The interesting thing is that I did retain some information said to me while I was under. I had a very kind nurse who took care of me throughout my recovery, and she was the one who took care of flipping/stretching me while I was under. She would talk about anything while she was doing this, as she believed it helped. She was one of the first nurses I saw after waking up. As soon as I heard her voice I gestured wildly for my notebook (I a tube down my throat) so I could talk to her. I recognized her voice! I also asked her about her son in college and her younger son’s sports. Those are really specific details to remember, the doctors thought I had moments where I was really close to waking up, but didn’t quite make it, and had picked up her talking then. It’s weird I only heard her and not my parents though.
My coma started the day before Father’s day and I was in the hospital until mid-August. A great way to spend the summer before starting high school! I was supposed to stay until October, but I begged and worked hard to relearn how to walk, so I could be released before my older brother’s birthday. I felt it was super unfair for him to spend his twentieth in a depressing hospital.
After I woke up I had to get surgery to remove all the dead stuff in me. That little tissue ball ended up weighing fifteen pounds, and they took out pounds of other stuff on top of that! I had a world-famous (in the medical community) surgeon. The only reason I got such a good surgeon is that every other surgeon available refused to do it, I was almost certainly going to die on the table, so my doctors sort of formally challenged my surgeon to do it. My parents were not told my likelihood for death until after the surgery. I have chronic sleeping issues now. Sleep paralysis, night terrors, the whole deal. My doctor thinks my brain is worried about not being able to wake up if I fall asleep, so it keeps me from falling asleep and wakes me up periodically to try and prevent that. That sounds a bit strange to me, but maybe it’s true!
I was born 3 months early and spent the first six weeks of my life alternating between a NICU incubator and ice baths for the extreme, prolonged fever. Although I obviously survived a difficult infancy, my immune system is questionable at best. I have suffered from unexplained fevers (FUO – fevers of unknown origin) off and on throughout my life.
When I was 19, I contracted an often-fatal infectious disease. My parents were traveling out of the country, so I was home alone and by the time I realized that I needed medical attention, I couldn’t move. It was during this period that I began to slip in and out of consciousness.
My older brother lived a few blocks away with his wife and kid. He was trying to be cool and let me party my ass off while my parents were gone, but after 3 days of radio silence, he started to get worried and came to the house to check on me. He found me in my bed, unconscious, and radiating heat. He carried me down the stairs, put me in his car and burned rubber to the ER.
(He broke two of my bones while doing this, but seeing as how I was 6’1″, 180 pounds and literally unconscious, this is not surprising. And before you ask – I have no fucking idea why he didn’t just call 911 and let the paramedics do it.)
I was in the hospital for 11 weeks, completely unconscious for 3 weeks and in and out of consciousness for 7 weeks.
I have six or so extremely disjointed memories that (according to my brother and parents) take place over the next 3 weeks. One was of the sheer panic that ensued in the ER once they got a Dx and were trying to quarantine me and everyone who touched me. Another was of my parents standing over me weeping.
There is absolutely no chronology to my memories themselves, but based on third party accounts, I’ve been able to piece together the timeline of what happened to me.
The moment that my parents stood over me weeping was right after the doctors told them to go home, get rest and hit the funeral home the next morning to make my final arrangements.
They were standing there weeping, trying to decide what to do – if listening to the physician was the right call – when I opened my eyes and looked around for less than 1 minute before slipping away again.
That was all the time they needed to decide “fuck that doctor. This is our kid.” They never gave up and literally never left me alone again for the duration of my hospital visit.
Remember those fevers I mentioned? The ones I have had since birth?
Yeah. It turns out that a dangerously high, prolonged fever is what killed the virus I had.
It also gave me thermal brain damage, but never mind.
Just slightly dumber.
I was in a car accident at 18 and in a coma for three months. A couple of weird things happened.
First, I was fully aware of everything for a couple of days before actually waking up. I couldn’t open my eyes or move our talk but I heard and felt everything. It was terrifying because I honestly thought it would last forever.
After two days of this, I fell asleep and when I woke up I was fully conscious and never more relieved in my life. I thought at first that I had just slept for three months but after a couple weeks of being out of the coma I started having the weirdest most vivid recurring dreams and flashbacks of literally being another person. I had never experienced anything like this before the coma. I had never had a recurring dream in my life but since the coma I’ve had the same four or five dreams hundreds of times and in each one I’m the same person but not me. They are freaky and I always wake up panicked and often find that I’m sleep walking as well and that also never happened before the coma.
I’m pretty convinced that during the coma I lived some other life in a super long and intense dream, it’s the only explanation I can come up with.
If you’ve ever been under general anesthesia, you know what it’s like. That’s a type of medically-induced coma. If you haven’t had that, it’s not even like sleep. You’re awake one minute and waking up from surgery the next with no awareness of what happened in-between, unless you wake up during surgery. That happened with me last time (I was having chest surgery) and I tried to sit up on the operating table.
Scared the crap out of the med students. No pain, just confusion, and I was back under pretty fast.
I was in surgery what was supposed to be 9.5 hours.
I have one memory of a nurse slapping me and screaming at me in the recovery room, then nothing. It was like I was a TV that was unplugged. The next thing I knew I woke up to a priest saying last rights over me.
I am not Catholic.
I croaked at him to screw off because I wasn’t going to die. He flees. A nurse comes running in and says I have been in a coma for four and a half days. I experienced nothing. I was here, then I was gone, then I was back. It was instantaneous. There was no sensation of the passage of time.
I was in a medically induced coma for two weeks or so, I was on a ton of drugs and had some horrible hallucinations, an experience I’m told by the ICU nurses is very common.
I knew I was injured/in hospital (apparently they kept waking me up every day to check my brain function) but was not aware of why, so spent a lot of time very confused, vague hospital based nightmares. Also, some game of thrones hallucinations, because my brother visited and talked about the show at my bedside, and I fought a dragon as a result. I can’t say exactly how much time passed because a) it was more than 2 years ago and I’ve tried to forget and b) things from the outside broke in but from different times than you’d expect – a news story from one week into the coma felt like it was at the ‘start’ of the hallucinations, but i may be remembering things wrong. The brain works in mysterious ways, especially when you’re high.
I don’t remember waking up or learning about my accident etc, though I’m told I had to be told every 30 minutes or so for the first few hours I was awake as I’d start to panic and be confused. I only remember the day after I woke up, when I already knew what had happened.
Would not recommend the experience to anyone.
It was the single most horrible 2 weeks of my life. I was put in a coma for 2 weeks and I heard everything. I screamed at myself to wake up but I couldn’t move at all. I stared at my eye lids for 2 weeks screaming to get up but was completely paralyzed. I heard my family at my bedside, I felt my girlfriend brushing my hair out of my eyes, I felt the nurse give me a dry bath but I couldn’t move. it was the worst experience of my life.
I was in a car accident when I was 17 and was in an induced coma for 2 weeks. I remember bits and pieces.
I remember one thing in particular right before taken off the medication. I remember being told I needed to stop moving because I had been in a wreck. I remember looking around and seeing 2 tiny doctors jumping from one bed to another trying to get to me. They were wearing full size medical gear that dragged on the floor behind them. they got to my bed and put more medicine in me. I looked back and they jumped off the bed and started walking out the door, laughing.
After I woke from the coma, I asked about the tiny doctors. Turns out, there wasn’t any tiny doctors.
Honestly, still feeling the after affects seven months later. I always feel high, like a piece of me is gone and won’t come back. I spent the first six weeks after waking up wondering who I was. I have been diagnosed with Depersonalization-derealization disorder. It’s so hard sometimes to get through it. I wake up every morning wondering if I’m even real. No one understands and they just give me medication to deal with the panic attacks. Walking in woods really helps me a lot and just trying to be normal and doing things you used to helps.
But there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t feel like I’m back at square one.
My friend told me that while he was snowboarding he hit a tree, fell unconscious and was airlifted to hospital and in a comma for two weeks.
While he was in a coma he remembers walking in a field, a wolf by his side, walking toward a tree in the distance. For days he wasn’t getting any closer to the tree, then suddenly he and the wolf got closer and closer until they were at the tree. The tree was beautiful and it had a face but the face kept changing faces, from people he had met in the he past, to people he met later in life. The tree reached its hand out toward him and was holding a key. He grabbed the key from the tree, held it to his heart and the wolf disappeared, the tree disappeared and he woke up. He now volunteers in a wolf sanctuary.
I was in a coma for three weeks nearly three years ago, nearly dying several times from double pneumonia and a strain of flu that was killing younger, healthy people.
I remember precisely nothing. Little flashes of faces and pieces of dialogue, maybe. Everything I know about that period was told to me by my parents, boyfriend at the time, and doctors and nurses. Maybe some people can hear what’s going on around them while they’re in a comatose state, but I wasn’t one of them.
When I awoke, I wasn’t confused or anything. I recognized that I was in a hospital room, and I remembered being in the ER weeks before – it was the last thing I remembered. I thought maybe I’d been there a couple of days and had just slept off the worst of it. Then I saw the dry-erase board on the wall in front of me where someone had thoughtfully written the date.
My first thought was “I am so fired.”
My second thought was “Um, I can’t move.”
My third thought was “I can’t talk? WHAT THE HECK IS THIS THING IN MY THROAT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT”
Turns out the coma is the GOOD part. The recovery afterward – learning to walk again because your muscles have atrophied, waiting for your voice to come back because you’ve been intubated all this time, trying to pee without help, and oh man trying really hard not to get depressed – that’s the hard part.
It was like a really long, vivid dream. I pretty much relived entire chunks of my life ranging from hours to days long. I was out for a month.
Last year at the end of July my transplant kidney was failing and I had caught pneumonia. Doctors were like, we’re going to put you under for a few days. I was like, what do you mean by “under”. Well they told me and I called my parents. Little did I know I’d wake up 5 weeks later.
Apparently it was a fight. I woke to my parents at my side. I just thought it was a day or two, but 5 weeks had passed and no one told me it was September till I was up for like a week. Missed my 33rd birthday last year.
I had really vivid dreams that were mostly great. I’ll go into detail about the dreams mainly because I haven’t really done it before. Traveling places, seeing things. Crazy parties on Charter planes with Tigers and motorcycles. I can accurately recall about 5-10 of them. Then I had one particular nightmare that was really scary that was like Mario meets dialysis in a 007 Golden eye bunker. Mind you my transplant kidney failed while I was under so they had to put me back on dialysis without my acknowledgement. But that was the only bad dream I can recall.
I remember swimming somewhere tropical like Hawaii or something and the water was really thick but I could still almost breath. And then another one that was prob the strangest and most laughable. I remember being suddenly in some Asian skyscraper in some fast food joint of all places trying to play this motorcycle game some I could win money to cab back home. Then laughing to myself because that would take a lot of money to cab back from Asia. That one was really weird and felt like Inception or something. The freaking matrix.
Well, when I woke in September I was still foggy but I remembered all those dreams pretty accurately. I had thought I was just having a lot of strange dreams.
Basically I was atrophied to all heck. Was out for 5 weeks. Didn’t stand for 10 weeks. Didn’t walk till 12 weeks. About a total of 7-8 months recovery but still was rough around the edges for most of this year. Doing much better though.