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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

In the Hot Seat: The Comatose Brought To Life

In the Hot Seat: The Comatose Brought To Life

Hollywood has given us plenty of stories about people who wind up in a coma. In some cases, they never wake up. In others, they go through a series of odd dreams and revelations in their minds before they miraculously rejoin the waking world.

A few of these stories seem realistic, but often these episodes are highly dramatised tools for storytelling. Here at Lifehack, we wondered what it would actually be like to wake up from a coma. Do patients hear or experience anything in their unconscious state? Do they gain some greater knowledge about the universe while they are in a coma.

To help us answer this question, we’ve got Jeff in the hot seat. He spent some time in a comatose state and lived to tell the tale.

Life changes in the blink of an eye

Lifehack: How did you end up in a coma?

Jeff: I got into a serious car wreck. When we impacted the car in front of us, my head slammed into the dashboard.

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Lifehack: How long were you unconscious?

Jeff: I was out for 8 weeks before I remember anything. Even after I started to wake up, it was several weeks before I was able to sit up, stay awake for long periods of time, and walk. I spent months going through rehab after I woke up.

Lifehack: What have you learned from the experience?

Jeff: Your life can change in the blink of an eye. One minute, you’re heading out to see your friends and having the time of your life. The next thing you know, all those little things that you take for granted are taken from you. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get them back.

I’m one of the lucky ones. The doctors were pretty sure that I was going to be in a vegetative state. They had discussions with my family about “pulling the plug.”

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Lifehack: How did your family handle the situation?

Jeff: My family didn’t want to hear that I might not pull through. My mom, dad, and sisters took shifts sitting by my bedside in the hospital. At first, they weren’t really allowed to say or do much because in order for my brain to heal, I had to be in a low-stimulus environment.

My little sisters were there when I had my first flash of consciousness. They have helped me with my rehabilitation. There’s no way I could have recovered without them.

Lifehack: What did you experience while in a coma?

Jeff: I didn’t understand the passage of time at all while I was unconscious. I do remember being in a white room. It was totally empty except for the chair I was sitting in. I don’t remember what I did there, but it was like I expected something to happen.

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Lifehack: How did you feel after waking up?

Jeff: Terrified. When I woke up I had no idea what was happening to me, where I was, how long I had been out, or why my sisters were crying. The fear didn’t last long though because they kept me pretty doped up on medication for the first couple days of being awake.

After that, I remember feeling lots of confusion and frustration. I was not able to speak because there was a tube down my throat. I couldn’t move my limbs at first. When they finally sat me up for the first time, I was so nauseous that they had to lay me back down. I realized I was going to have to relearn how to do a lot of things.

Lifehack: Did you experience any memory loss or revelations?

Jeff: I don’t remember the three weeks before the accident at all. I didn’t even remember why I was in the car until someone else told me.

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I also did some things while I was waking up. At one point, I started asking for my wallet because I wanted to give my mom some money. I have no idea why I felt like I needed to pay her, and I don’t recall the incident. We can laugh about it now.

As for revelations, I didn’t figure out the meaning of life or anything. There was just a white room.

Lifehack: What are you thankful for from this experience?

Jeff: I’m so grateful that I was given a second chance at life. If I hadn’t had such excellent medical care and the love of my family, I wouldn’t be here today. Every day you can be awake and a part of the world is a beautiful day.

Seeing the world through new eyes

Jeff’s experience changed the way he looks at life. Hearing him speak about his experience with coming out of a comatose state was a good reminder to appreciate everything we have.

Featured photo credit: Peter Heeling via skitterphoto.com

More by this author

Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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