Coma caused significant memory loss. I wasn’t able to control the right side of my body. There were many brain defects. I was told by doctors that the brain is rebuilding. They say, like stroke, coma is brain death. I think coma victims should always be aware it is rebuilding and practice repetition to help with the new pathways. I think one reason I can walk today is because when I couldn’t I sometimes tried to imagine walking, heel and toe. I couldn’t balance on my bad leg despite daily attempts but kept trying. I still can’t confidently balance but it has improved. Things I once attempted daily to help rebuild my brain I can now do badly.

And a memory! I remember when I was maybe 2 months out of hospital walking about 1 km to the train station to travel on public transport to visit my twin brother. Everyone thought I shouldn’t. It was a trip that might normally take 1.5 hours which took me at least 3. Then I would actively focus on mental sensations while walking. During this period most of my family wanted me in institutional care. We even looked at nursing homes that might take me. Then she came from Singapore to check on my progress. I went back with her to the country I had lived for about 10 years, we got married.

You might say that my improvement was a consequence of time but I think not, one must try to be themselves again. We are not merely an expression of time. Normality doesn’t happen naturally for coma victims, we must mentally construct normality to become it. Reconstruct self.

I am told when in hospital I often looked for my bags thinking I was about to catch a flight, I frequently traveled. I was without logic, couldn’t speak well, arrange sentences, poor choice of words, often in German. Now I know where I am and what happened yesterday. I did daily exercises for memory, questions like what did I eat for dinner last night? My main advice to coma victims is to keep trying and don’t shy away from things because of the opinion of others . We are rebuilding our brains after coma. Indeed coma is subtle, not obvious like a broken leg as you can’t see a broken brain.