Instagram | _nobody_else._

People Reveal What It’s Like To Survive A Coma

Paddy Clarke 31 Oct 2019

A lot of TV and literature likes to play around with the ideas of people being stuck in comas, from the likes of Life On Mars (the good U.K. series!) to Iain Banks' novel The Bridge. In such instances, people in comas are portrayed as being trapped in these surreal dream-worlds from which they are trying to escape.

However, one person wanted to know the truth of what being in a coma was like from people who had experienced one first hand. So, they took to Reddit and asked: "Survivors of Comas, what was it like?"

And, I have gathered for you here, some of the most bizarre, terrifying, and interesting answers that the question received.

1. Endless Dreams

Instagram | @omanke

"Had a major open-heart surgery, almost died and went into a 2-week coma after resuscitation... Being in the coma felt like sleeping soundly tbh, had an endless series of random dreams. The last dream I had before waking up was that I was riding escalators for way too long, so long that I even thought to myself in the dream, 'That's strange, why aren't I waking up?'" — littlesleepsleep

Endless dreams (aside from sounding like a dream-pop indie-rock single) sounds horrendous, especially if you have as horrifically torturous dreams as I do. Anyway, moving on...

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2. Muscle Atrophy

Instagram | @velmlegs

"I was in a coma for a month and had to build my muscles up to be able to walk and climb steps again. I think I made it from my door to the next one the first time they got me out of bed, and I cried because of the mixture of physical and mental pain.

"The first time I tried to climb a flight of stairs I just went at it like normal and was exhausted before coming close to the top. The rehab person had to explain to me that for now, it was getting both feet on the step before going for the next one (like how old people climb stairs)." — chaoticnuetral

Having to go to rehab just to walk properly again after already surviving something so torturous is unimaginable.

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3. No Memory

Instagram | @elelol95

"In a coma for 42 days. I don't remember a thing." — dendaddy

They went on to reveal that the first memory they have was of being in an ambulance en route to rehab and being unable to even hold a pencil. They wrote that even though they lost the use of their legs, they were glad that their mind was still intact.

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4. Intense Crazy Dreams

Unsplash | Martha Dominguez de Gouveia

"I was out for 9 days, coma dreams are intense. Coming back from it was super strange too, a lot of questioning reality.

"I won the super bowl after I built the arena and had an operation to become a Quarterback... Go cowboys. I created an App that helped you poop. I shot my grandfather. I had a vagina surgically tattooed on to the right side of my scrotum. Swallowed a bumper." — popeboyQ

And that man is now a millionaire after inventing the app that helps you poop!

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5. Hearing Music

Instagram | @justaudiorepaircenter

"I was in a coma for two weeks and my family was told to start making 'arraignments'. My wife and my 3 boys, all adults, were with me around the clock. I don’t remember anything at all, but later, much later, when I made it through and was out of the hospital, I didn't feel like listening to music, especially the Beatles or Zeppelin as well as some other which are my favorites and I have playlists for all my different moods.

"It made me depressed and angry! We all had gotten together and I was told that sh*t now I crying, my family played these playlists non-stop." — Dr-Diesel

This one is heartbreaking. Music is so special to so many of us, and while he may find difficulty in listening to what he once loved now, the reason behind it is one of love and compassion.

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6. ICU Delirium

Instagram | @rishimd

"I was in a medically induced coma for a week or do, back in 2008, after going through a 22-hour surgery to remove the tumor from my abdominal area. I ended up spending about three months in the surgical ICU recovering from that, before being sent upstairs for three MORE months in the hospital receiving chemotherapy.

"I still have PTSD today from my time in the ICU. A big part of it was something called ICU Delirium. Basically, it's when the bright (always on) lights, constant beeps and odd combinations of medicines mess with your systems and... basically... make you temporarily crazy. I still remember the hallucinations I had there more vividly than dreams I had THIS WEEK." — facelesscog

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7. Dreaming Of Oprah

Instagram | @oprah

"The first day I was so out of it I thought Oprah had found a cure for cancer. I also for some reason decided to attack a nurse tried to run and promptly fell face-first into a counter. I broke my nose. The weeks following were very strange. I developed a fear of falling asleep and had mild hallucinations. All in all 0/10 recommend." — kidneygirl44

Oprah finding a cure for cancer is probably the most sane dream we've have described on this list, which is a bizarre fact in itself!

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8. Unable To Communicate

Unsplash | Piron Guillaume

"I was put into a medically induced coma for a week after I got my shit rocked in a crash. It sucked balls. 1: I could hear what was going on, but had 0 ways to communicate. 2: the hallucinations/nightmares were really fucked, but that’s to be expected from anyone who goes into a coma due to a traumatic event. And 3: I couldn’t tell what was real and what was a dream for a VERY long time, and still have moments where I have loud and severe auditory hallucinations that convince me I’m back in my non-consensual nap time." — LoyalBastet

Being able to hear people but not let them know they can hear you could be one of the most unsettling things I've read on this list.

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9. Writing Subconscious Books

Unsplash | Kseniia Rastvorova

"I was out for 10 days after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 15 years ago. No memory of the coma but I had a series of something between hallucinations and wild dreams during waking, which were oddly specific, including being the writer of a novel called Salt & Cement about a woman buried in a large open cement shaft on a salt moving/processing yard which I played partially within the dream in a mild moment of inception." — seanbluestone

This person should absolutely write that novel now!

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10. 404

Giphy | Alex Bobeda

"I was out for a week, after my TBI. Have zero memory of anything. Just a giant 404 error." —Iamadakingmoron

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11. Time Travel

Giphy

"I was in a medically induced coma for three weeks. All I remember is what it’s like when they start pulling you out. I was having very vivid and strange dreams mixed with reality then one day I was able to recognize it was now September but I remembered entering the hospital in August." —Evergreendreams

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12. "It was the most beautiful experience he ever had."

Unsplash | Mohamed Nohassi

"A friend of mine has had two comas [...] When he tells me off his experiences he says he was flying through the sky over mountains then past our planets and our solar system. He always tells me he can't wait to leave his bone cage and go back to traveling through the galaxy. It was the most beautiful experience he ever had." — sonofthenation

The phrase "bone cage" will stick with me for a long time, what a horrific, yet oddly beautiful idea.

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13. Memory Loss

Instagram | @elizabeth_morelli

"[Aged 7] I was playing around on a swing and apparently fell over and hit my head. Fortunately, people around were quick to react, somebody reached down my throat and took out my tongue and called an ambulance. I don't really remember it all that, I just remember waking up at the hospital the next day. My mother was standing next to me and as I woke up she started asking me questions like about what my name was or what her name was.

"I remember being really confused, I was like 'Mum, what sort of silly question is that?' Turns out, I’ve woken up at some point in the ambulance and had no idea who my mum and dad were, as they were in the ambulance with me." — IvyYo

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14. Brutal Honesty

Giphy | VH1

"I was out for 2.5 days from an unintentional overdose (AKA why the pharmacy always asks if you have any questions about that pill nowadays). I have no memory for about a day after waking up but my family said I had some pretty rough things to say after my eyes opened. 0/10 would not recommend."

"They never told me but it sounded like I said some mean things, I'm forever grateful they never held it against me even not knowing what I actually said."—GuineaElephant

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15. Are You Awake?

Unsplash | Anita Jankovic

"Attempted suicide via overdose of anti-depressant in my teens, it was weird because I started hearing voices and then I blacked out. Came back into consciousness and I was throwing up and hallucinating, I hallucinated that I threw up a bar of soap.

"[...] woke up a week later, trying to rip the ventilator tubes out of my throat. They sedated me and then I woke up groggy. No dreams, nothing. Kinda makes me believe that once you die there is nothing but loss of consciousness. My biggest fear is that I'm still in a coma, and this is my dream." — theholyhanna

This is apparently quite a common fear, as indicated by the number of survivors on this list who claimed that this affected them as well.

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16. Not Easy As Pi

Giphy

"I don't remember the coma itself. I was conscious and then I woke up with my mom sitting next to me, nothing in between.

"When I woke up, I assumed I was at home. Why would my mom be sitting next to my bed? Wait, this isn't my bed... Wait, is this a hospital room? When did I get to the hospital? Why am I in a hospital? Why am I in pain? I was pretty much panicking here.

"Eventually, everything was explained to me and I calmed down. I had rolled my truck and hit my head, 9 days prior.

"So, coma itself was ?/10, waking up after was pi/10, would not recommend."—314159265358979326

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17. A Really Long Sleep

Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

"I woke up in the hospital three days after an unintentional overdose of opiates and benzos. I remember projectile vomiting in my apartment then waking up three days later with my girlfriend by my side. She showed up to find me unresponsive and barely breathing on my couch.

"As far as the coma itself goes it was basically like falling asleep and waking up three days later. It was initially very confusing." — eternalrefuge86

Very confusing could be the biggest understatement I've ever heard considering what they'd just been through!

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18. Differs From Person To Person

Instagram | @murse.cody

"I am a nurse who've worked ICU. I must say it really differs from person to person. Most people told me they don’t remember a lot, maybe some dreams or the last few seconds before the accident/ surgery.

"But I had a few patients who actually heard things happening in the ICU around them, like someone could tell me quite personal details about one of the other nurses. [...] Or they remember the motion of being turned to different sides. Someone I met later told me she cannot stand smelling the body lotion scent we use there." — TheGinTonics

It's interesting to hear the thoughts of someone who has experience of multiple different cases. The human brain is insane, and the things it is capable of never cease to amaze.

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19. Half Their Childhood Gone

Instagram | @gateskeywest

"We were in Key West on some random vacation when I was climbing the underside of our boat like a rock wall climber. I feel almost at the Pinnacle of the tip of the boat. When my head hit the rocks my vision turned into a static screen and my body was paralyzed.

"I awoke with Micky, Donald, and goofy hand puppets. They released me back with the family and I spent the rest of the vacation on a fold-out lawn chair with wires glued to my chest and head. Half my childhood permanently disappeared. Can't remember anything." — Ruffalobro

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20. No Hangover Cure

Unsplash | thom masat

"I fell into a coma after I got very drunk, fell over, cracked my head and had a bleed on my brain had the last rites said as well. I was out for about 21 hours or so.

"I remember nothing of the coma, just woke up with no recollection of what happened, was a mixture of very confused, disorientated and had a standard sh*tty hangover." —goldencleric

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21. Diabetic Coma

Instagram | @diabetescommunity

"Not me, but my cousin. He went into a diabetic coma in high school in his sleep, while having a nightmare. He was out 2 weeks, said the entire time was a nightmare. When he woke up, he hallucinated the nurse checking on him to be stapling his fingers together, so he slapped her and screamed 'Who the f**k are you?' Then the nurse walked out of the room and said 'he's awake!'" — MrBigRagePig

These nurses must see so much insane stuff that this sort of thing just passes them by. Health care workers deserve much more praise and credit than we currently give them.

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22. "It Was Beautiful."

Instagram | @_nobody_else._

"It was absolutely beautiful. Well, the near-death experience, mine was only like 3 days it was pretty surreal coming back and then immediately very depressing after experiencing that peacefulness. Messed me up really bad for at least a year and still not who I was anymore." — Ivn0

Perhaps the only other one with a hint of positivity, in a manner of speaking anyway. The reality of coming back, however, not so much.

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23. Lost Time

Unsplash | Malvestida Magazine

"I was out about 13 days. Don't recall too much, but there were dreams that had familiar faces and places but not structured like an event so much. However, when I awoke the most difficulty I had to deal with was finding a way to resolve the "lost" time." —jumpnrun1953

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24. Somehow Pretty Normal

Instagram | @mrsward2you

"Had cancer as a kid, one night I had a fever of 105+, so obviously had to head to the hospital. I remember waking up and seeing my mom and I had met up with my dad at a gas station (he works nights and his office was on the way) then I remember going into the hospital and getting an IV, then waking up hella confused and attached to a bunch of weird machines 3 days later.

"Ate some food, knocked out again for 4 more days. Apparently I had some virus causing fluid around my brain, totally could’ve died, and my brains reaction was to go unconscious. When I woke up the last time I somehow felt pretty normal, got the IV taken out, and went home later that day. It felt like almost no time passed. Super weird." —ZN199

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25. Constant Screaming

Unsplash | Marco Albuquerque

"I have flashes of being surrounded by a flurry of nurses and doctors and then nothing. I woke up in the ICU, confused. I remember not being surprised when I heard the diagnosis, it felt I already knew somehow.

"I thought that was it until I spoke with my mom recently. I mentioned the boy in the ICU bed across from me. How vividly I remember his constant screaming that first day, soon replaced by very poignant silence. My mom said she recalled but I shouldn't. He was there when I first entered the ICU but was gone long before I came to after the second day." —xxjulzmariexx

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26. PTSD

Unsplash | Kristina Tripkovic

"Never been in a coma personally but my BFF was in one for 3 months after a motorcycle accident and he told me some weird stuff/had some crazy trauma from it.

"[He dreamt] of Gargoyles. At least that's what he called them. The little gray ones wanted to hurt him but the big reddish-brown one scared them off. Apparently it wasn't safe either but it ignored him rather than killed him.

"Not long after he had brought a new puppy home. He called me over because he was afraid to be alone with it. Apparently it reminded him of the red gargoyle. I don't know if comas cause PTSD but I would fully believe that he had it." —whatswrongwithanime

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27. "Horrible!"

Unsplash | Wil Stewart

"When I woke up (2 weeks after the coma) I could not remember anything. I forgot who my parents were and everything. I GOT A COMA FOR FREAKIN TRIPPING OVER A ROCK AND HITTING MY HEAD ON CONCRETE! Like what??? It felt horrible when I woke up. My head was all dizzy and my eye sigh was barley working till a couple blinks. Now I know never to go outside and run across my neighbors drive way..." —RachelNoData

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28. Bruised Brain

Instagram | @hurt911atlanta

"My sister was in a coma for over a month from a car accident. She was asleep in the backseat on a road trip and her friend flipped the car on the freeway (trying to avoid something on the road by swerving, but in a panic she hit the gas instead of the brake). She had a bruise on her brain which was kinda like her being mentally handicapped but each day she got better, now she's completely recovered and back to normal. When she woke up she told us she had a dream where some mystery guy shot her and thats what she thought happened with no recollection of the car accident." —FartGoblin420

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29. Mix Tape

Giphy

"A few years later, I found this CD in a drawer and didn't know what was on it, so I played it. As soon as the music started, I started bawling. I didn't know why. My husband came to see what was wrong. I told him I didn't know. He then realized what CD it was. He told me he had made it and it was played for me while I was in my coma. I had no idea until then it was made." —gr8carn4u

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30. Biker Chicks

Unsplash | Zac Wolff

"I dreamed all my nurses were lesbian biker chicks who were trying to rape me. Later on I realized they were just trying to get a catheter in me. By the way I have nothing against lesbians or biker chicks. Just had a diseased brain at the time." —onegreatbroad

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31. Oddly Angry

Unsplash | Ricardo IV Tamayo

"I was in a coma for 6 days following a car accident. When I woke up, I was, for some reason, very angry at my mom, and my girlfriends boss. Didn’t have a reason to be before, never understood why I woke up mad at only these two people. Otherwise, I was in a good mood.

"Turns out, my mom was in the room with my girlfriend, and kept insisting to that 'I would be in a wheelchair and have to be spoon fed the rest of my life'. My girlfriends boss had called her 3 days after the event, ringing her out saying 'I need to know when you’re going to be back because we need the staff'." —1-L0V3-J4I1BR34K5

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32. Constantly Wheeling

Unsplash | Luis Melendez

"My father survived recently a cardiac arrest. He was in a coma for almost a week. When he was strong enough to talk, we asked him what does he remember. He said he remembers being wheeled constantly to different parts of the hospital, endless doors, constantly being wheeled in. Most likely it's a recurring scene of him in the ER as docs were trying to revive him.

"He was completely out for around 3-4 days and would wake up sporadically for the remainder of the week until he was finally released from ICU. We asked him if he saw any door or white light, tunnel stuff...he said nope, just doctors bustling around him." —Sweetragnarok

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33. Memoryvision

Instagram | @cruiseparamedic

"I was a skeleton with just eyes and I was laying on a mortician table rewatching my past memories on a bunch of televisions above me. I couldn't move." — DFA_2Tricky

Twilight music begins

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34. The Mystery Of Anna

Instagram | @benportaria

"My cousin was in one for a month. He woke up, looked around and began to scream like a lunatic. And saying someone’s name. However, after that day of waking up, he didn’t remember a single thing. The name he was screaming was 'Anna.' And no one there knew who Anna was. The doctors believe it was a deep coma dream.

"He spent 3 weeks after that shaking. He had a lot of issues walking properly and forming more than 2 sentences without stuttering like crazy. I'm very close with him, and when I ask him about Anna, his mood changes drastically and all he says is 'I don't wanna talk about it.' Pursuing it further would make him break down crying or make him scream at you." — RobTheSaboteur

Goodness knows what things this person has seen, I both really want to know the story behind this, and don't.

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