I was in coma for 3 months as the result of a motorcycle accident in Thailand, this blog explores my recovery. Initially it was a place to make records of the events of my life forgetting much. It’s since become a conversation with self. Coma caused significant memory loss, I believe I’m the same person despite coma. Memory gives us our identity, belief, early I was dubious about me. I wondered if I had lost critical elements like empathy. Now I think it is me, confirmed by friends and family, perhaps there is more to us than the brain. Online I can access this diary globally, I don’t need to remember my notebook. Below there is a category called coma that shows all posts about recovery. My twin brothers site while I was out is over here. A good post about recovery is HBOT. My blog aims to help other coma victims. From personal experience I would say getting off the institutional drugs was the most important thing. Many prescribed drugs perpetuated my displacement, the most troubling was olanzapine. Medicine is really good for cuts and breaks, obvious physical damage, but doesn’t completely understand the nuance of the brain. Sure we know the brain controls our body parts but don’t really understand how the brain handles memory. Olanzipine was used to placate me, make dealing with me easier for medical staff. Victims have already experienced coma so don’t displace the brain further with drugs, try being natural. Most of all relax, I’ve had frustrating setbacks. If through recounting my experience of coma I can help others that would be great. Trips overseas have helped, I write now from Thailand. For the non physical effects, try to be yourself reacting to things with immediacy and not with a victim’s filter. Yesterday I was taken for a stroke victim in Thailand, it happens quite often. A practicing French nurse holidaying thought stroke, another person in Thailand thought stroke, hospital staff thought stroke. Perhaps I can help others who have experienced Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

I survived coma forgetting much, at first even my native language. I’m an english speaking Australian who knows only a little German, the language I spoke when I became conscious. To have forgotten how I think amazes me, indeed we live in language. I could speak broken German before, but apparently I spoke it quite well when I came out. I had to practice detailed English. Some coma victims wake to speak previously unknown foreign languages fluently, like a first language. Philosophers suggest consciousness is not a product of the brain, maybe an idea proven by these coma victims. Science today also questions the existence of time, perhaps in coma ones consciousness can go to another place. Memory is typically the association of events, there is no logical association in coma. I am a changed person since coma, doing things I’m told I wouldn’t, like getting remarried. Maybe I also experienced something in coma. I will establish where my memory fails, and try to account for the construction of my identity to rebuild. Some memories have returned, but initially all were lost to coma. What can I now remember?







18 thoughts on “Coma

  1. Congratulations to Josh on his first major step in recovery, going home. I feel that this was a major step in my recovery, to get off the hospital medication that were often used to control me and make easier work for nurses, olanzapine I think being the worst of it, many studies highlight its negative effects. My family has me on health supplements like brahmi and ginkgo biloba etc.

    Secondly I thought my memory the most important thing to address. It would be good if at breakfast you might discuss yesterday with Josh and over time last week, month etc. I tried to remember what I ate last night for dinner, sometimes taking me hours to recall, now it’s probably only minutes, just an exercise for me each day, perhaps you guys can just discuss the previous day at first until memory slowly becomes normal again.

  2. Dear Mathew, I want to Thank You for your information and insight into this new world of yours. In July of 2014 my son had a tragic accident at work and fell approx 50 feet through scaffolding and was in a coma, broke 86 bones, lost a kidney, split his Aorta, lots of nerve damage, TBI, and was in the hospital 3 months. He is now age 25 and we moved him home with us, his parents. I quit my job to be his care-taker. All our lives have changed drastically. We live around his schedule of PT, OT, Speech, meds, and dr appointments. It is nice to listen to your perspective so I have a better understanding of things Josh is going thru. Just wanted to say Thanks for your help and knowledge.

  3. But hope is the most important thing for you, it sounds really bad his accident and the height he fell from, so many bones to break. Don’t even consider my last reply, I was thinking coma was more his problem, I so hope he recovers and you can again be a family…

  4. Mathew, my 19 year old son was in an auto accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He has been in a coma for over 15 months. He is gradually improving. At first doctors considered him to be in a deep vegetative state near death. Today he is classified as a moderate to mild coma. We have him at home after eight months in various hospitals. He makes new improvements almost weekly. This week he waved goodbye to his therapists without any coaching. Do you remember being in your coma? If so, how much were you aware of what was going on around you? I talk to my son all the time, tell him what is going on in the world, read to him, let him watch his favorite TV programs. He is very smart and I am so scared he is bored, frustrated because he can’t communicate. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


  5. TBI is very serious. We are all unique, so are our experiences, I don’t know how to help your son but to say try to focus on the now and future, sure we learn by the past but it has been taken from us. I can only recall dream like things from coma, perhaps nothing, but I feel I had dreams of places I previously lived, maybe I’m overlaying mental activity now. I began to become more normal when I was trusted and no longer treated as a coma victim. Life has changed for us, it’s probably best not to try and live like you did before the accident but accept your change and new reality, perhaps it’s been enhanced. It’s been three years for me and I can’t believe I will ever be normal again, my physics body and memories remain troublesome, I must try to go on. Take his depressions seriously. To be treated and spoken to the same way as you always were in the past might be the best road to recovery. I’m certain he still thinks. Coma is a mental ailment, try to encourage simple mental activity, gradually becoming more complex as you and he deem fit. I am often frustrated by my recovery but it’s an interesting time to be alive, human activity is moving to new heights. I’m assessing my response and trying to think what’s practical in it for you…
    1. Work on his mental activity
    2. His memory
    3. Focus on the future, life is full of opportunities, even for us, it’s all interesting
    4. Take his depressions seriously if he talks about them
    5. Physiological therapy may also help, it didn’t help me though, I suspect oxygen therapy did…
    5. Resume his daily activities like always if possible, just try, understand if you can’t do them anymore maybe tomorrow
    6. Consider the people around you and imagine the events in their lives, we all have unique experiences, unfortunately we had an accident
    7. Travel, you already have but through the world too to see new and different ways of existence

    I am always trying to think of practical things to help people, thanks very much for the opportunity to consider it again. Doctors and medicine know little about the detailed operation of the brain, the non physical stuff like though and emotion. I hope he keeps improving

  6. I stuart Dettman had brain Damage as to car accident aged 25 then recovered I did ? as years went by I was as police to bash me up in the police station and in the other room was two boys getting bashed this sgt police officer grabbed I stuart by the hair pulling my hair and trying as to I stuart let him have it in self defence hit him in the nose he hit the floor yelling to the other cop get the guns I stuart then said ill report you both to the police head office of this then the cops both thru I stuart out of the police station as I said let them two boys out now ? thay slammed the door of the police station and locked I stuart out as I wanted the boys freed thay done nothing wrong as to thay followed I stuart from coldstream to healesville in the same model fc holden as my car the same the two came from Alexandra and where on the way home as we both where at the tyre station when the police came and ordered us to the police station . assaulted us three for no reason we known what for what ?

  7. People always take us for normal despite TBI, sounds like you did your best in difficult circumstances, I sincerely hope you got out alive. I don’t think it advisable to explain to people you’ve had TBI, we must live through things we didn’t previously have to, cops aren’t the most understanding of people. Please move past your experiences and try to get your brain independent and free again. I really hope it all turned out acceptably for you and your friends…

  8. I stuart had brain Damage and have had a solicitor of Slater & Gordon Bash I stuart in the back room of the court St Arnaud Assaulted by Adam Hill of Slater & Gordon DATE 23/11/2000 then report to the Donald police SGT SACHSE whom threat and Abuse I stuart said get out yelling loud take it to the vic bar no piss off get . then abused by solicitor in Donald as to this surgio gurra said sign the release form and we will take Adam Hill to court ? two weeks later out side the hearald paper shop in Donald woods st was this solicitor surgio gurra and said in a aggressive act youll be running if you take Adam Hill to court so ( f ___ck ) off with Abuse .then I put this to the legal profession tribunal but as to this the same taken advantage of I stuart with threats abuse at there office melb as I was with my landlord whom is a witness to that day of abuse from one of the staff girl of the legal commissioners office melb then threats abuse at the legal profession tribunal little Collins street melb I stuart is now been assaulted by the IGA WEIRS SUPERMARKET MANAGER 2006 And The Donald Police refuse to act and assault 2011 jan and I stuart made a complaint of this and the landlord aswell as to the Assault in her property 5 mill st Donald , the police refused to act ?on and on in the street of woods st when my landlord gos in the store he Andrew weir comes out at I stuart abuse and threats I was banned in 2006 and assault by Andrew weir 2008 dec xmas 23?12/2008 AS MRS PAMELA HAARS DAUHTER WAS GETTING SOME BEER A SLAB I STUART WAS AT THE FRONT DOOR OF THE STORE WEIRS HE THEN PUSHED THE SLIDING DOOR BUTTON AND THE DOOR JAMMEDI STUART AND HE ATTACKED I STUART ASSAULT / THE POLICE CAME TO THE HOUSE OF MY LANDLORDS AND I WAS ABUSED BY THIS OFFICER OF Donald POLICE ROD MCLACHLAN AT THE FRONT DOOR ACCUSSED I STUART OF THIS AT WEIRS SUPERMARKET HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THE TRUTH FIRST ? MORE OF THIS WENT ON AND ON STILL NOW 2015 COURT AT BALLARAT 19TH OF JUNE 2015 time of court tribunal 12 noon non will As TUART I TRYING TO GET ONE ALL OVER BALLARAT NON WILL ? as to this of slater & Gordon ADAM HILL SOLICITOR FRAUD and assaults ?ii stuart have a 8 page of the facts of this for you to whom it may concer contact I stuart on mobil 0408971174 thanking you I stuart aged 72 years threatened by police in warburton when the age 35 taken my drivers licence off I stuart for 19 years as to this abuse at healesville court by qc brown and this cop Wilmot whom try to bash me I stuart tried to protect the two boys from Alexandra but the police locked I stuart out of the healesville police station >more to tell and on my book of this hell I fear for my life help me in this matter murder of the two girls that of dennis tanner I stuart witness of this ?

  9. It’s extremely hard to be what they call rational and logical again, just represent your thoughts as accurately as you can, hopefully others will be able to understand your honesty….

  10. Thanking you for I need some help in a letter of court case victim of crime assaulted by solicitor of slater & Gordon and IGA weirs store manager for years gone by with abuse threats stalking harassment

  11. Dear Matthew,
    Congratulations on your recovery. Your blog and story has been a source of inspiration and comfort as my family deals with my dad’s condition – he’s been in a minimally conscious state since one and a half months ago, following a stroke.

    Can I just clarify though – when you said you were in a coma for 3 months, was it actual coma, or semi comatose state (VS, MCS, etc)? I know every person and injury is different, but we’re just trying to understand the length of time needed before patients can possibly begin to recover.

    Yours truly

  12. Dear Willis, I sincerely hope he recovers but I’ve had many people take me for a stroke victim and the brain does take a very long time to develop new pathways for memory and the use of body parts. I was in coma for 3 months then semi conscious state for many more, maybe a year. All I can say is it takes so long for the brains development, I always compare brain TBI to the brain development of a new born. It sounds like he hasn’t been in a deep coma though so perhaps when he becomes conscious again his brain will be like before. I wish him the best and to choose the land of the living, I often wonder if in coma there is something going on in consciousness and we can make efforts there?

  13. Willis, there is also a documentary called ‘coma’ which is very accurate, my condition was similar to those in the film apparently, I have written about it he film on this site, clearly I’m not quite as devastated as them but in the beginnings apparently I was that bad…

  14. My father had an accident and he was in coma for 21 days. He feels pain. If I touch his face, he shakes his body. His right eye opens some time but no other movements. We talk with him everyday and we hope he hears everything. We are waiting for his recovery.

  15. by my experience I think it takes time to develop new pathways in the brain, I suspect the earlier in recovery you try and develop new pathways the better, I think the brain is more malleable in the beginning

  16. Hi Mathew,
    thanks for your inspiring sharing.

    We had coffee together this morning.

    Hope to see u again.

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