Coma

This blog is dedicated to other people who have experienced coma and is also helping with my recovery, my memory. My posts are under the menu item of that name, memory. I was in a coma for three months, I have written about my life in the hope it can help others. Indeed now through the Internet we can communicate globally with anyone about anything. Think of these ramblings as a conversation over a camp fire, or the rantings of a lunatic over a beer. Apparently I was taking Xanax quite heavily at the time of my motorcycle accident. Xanax by doctor’s prescription because of Menier’s disease. Perhaps that drug contributed to the events that transpired. My identical twin brother’s blog about the early days of my coma is here Mathew’s Recovery, and here is a link to another site that describes a coma victim.

I thought to change this page to show my post categories so that you can view my ramblings by theme. To see them unfiltered just click on ‘blog’ in the menu and it will show them by date…

 


Defects

A list of all the defects I’ve experienced since coma. Thinking about this site and how best to help other coma victims I decided that the best approach would be to tell others of the problems I’ve encountered.

Mobility

Obviously with my many physical defects resulting from coma, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), I’ve found it difficult to get around. Well I’m out of the hospital bed, wheel chair and walking frame but still need a walking stick after nearly 4 years. It’s like the brain is learning to walk again. A child takes a long time learning to walk properly. My ankle appears to be the main problem, I was told in hospital heel first then toe. I need to make the ankle turn up to do that, my left one does it automatically but not the right, I must mentally try to make it turn. Also the toes on my right foot still point to the heavens especially the big toe, I often use my brain to try and make them point straight ahead. Difficult mental adjustments of the toes, they aren’t normal yet. I still can’t use my walking stick with my right hand after years of trying, I do sense some improvement. Neurologists now say the brain can relearn. I go to the gym regularly to try and teach my brain again about my body. We are soon to travel to Vietnam, which will test my mobility again, travelling has really helped my mobility I think. Of course it would, to try and be active and not staying put because of my little problems.

Balance

My balance has become bad, I trust my left side much more than my right. Several times each day I try to lift my left leg and stand only on my right, I have to hold somethings while trying, I try to hold with my right but it doesn’t always work. I try to use my right hand on stairway rails. I always find it difficult to stand in the shower but I must do that every day. I try and use my right hand in the shower to wash my hair and lather but must use the left sometimes. Also I try to brush my teeth with my right but still must use the left occasionally, maybe half half.

Cramps

I get many cramps in my right foot, I’m not using my arm so much because it doesn’t work well, I have to use my foot often to try and walk. Perhaps it’s the use of the foot that causes the cramp but I don’t remember getting cramps before. I suspect circulation has something to do with it, perhaps my mind is reacting and interpreting the sensations of my body differently and not like before and judging unusual stimulation generically as cramp.

Circulation

I suspect my blood circulation is bad too. I get rashes around my groin that won’t go away after daily treatment. They always return despite extra care. There are suggestions on the Internet that many of the defects I have from coma relate to blood circulation. Perhaps my body has forgotten this activity too, how to move liquids through the body.

Dressing

I have a hard time putting clothes on especially socks and shirts. I only mention this item because it does trouble me and I’m often thinking about it before I do something. It’s worse at the gym where I must put socks and runners on. When this improves I’ll be considering myself a recovered man.

Toilet

I always think about needing to go even when I just went. I also had a problem with bed wetting and pissing my pants, always thinking about when to go and how to stop these accidents, I haven’t had an accident pissing unexpectedly for about 6 months because I’m always thinking about it and going to the loo just before bed

Writing

Many times when asked to fill in a form anywhere or country arrival form on the plane it’s always difficult. I’ve stopped keeping a diary except for this site, I use my iPhone with the left index finger.

Memory

My long term memory is bad and I must try to recall what I did yesterday. I forgot my age recently. Important event in my past I can’t remember, apparently I was married before for a year and then divorced but none of it I remember. Other significant events in my life are also forgotten, various family gatherings and weddings that I attended that anyone would remember I can’t.

Guardianship

I had some guardians which was obviously necessary when I was incapacitated but guardians need to know when the control of a person’s life becomes unsustainable. Important for monetary and legal reasons at the worst of it but not appropriate for a victim who is approaching normality or for the guardian to questions personal, emotional, decisions. It can impede recovery when people don’t take them seriously in their thinking once they can actually think independently and logically again. I received an email from someone who read this site that reminded me of this, my biggest problem from coma. I must have forgotten what troubled me so much a short time ago. The doctors said I would require institutional care for the rest of my life which I guess impacted the guardians thinking. I was recently re-married about 1.5 years after coma, obviously she deeply cares for me to marry a coma victim. And so I left my family for a woman I was with prior to coma, my guardians (family) tried to legally prevent this marriage. We were engaged prior to coma and at the time they tried to prevent our marriage we had known each other for about 10 years. We eventually got married in Singapore, none from my family attended. After we were married I had to legally put an end to guardianship and their attempts to control my life. Every decision as guardian should be to help the victim through this ordeal, not to control. Indeed everyone involved in a new reality needs some time to adjust to the difference, I certainly required that.

Mind

I frequently think of something to do or check but just when I’m ready to act I forget what I was thinking. I’m always planning like never before as far as I can remember, planning what to do next. It’s really my memory that makes me think of  this section ‘mind’. I suspect that I am the same person after coma , my thoughts and feelings are the same, but I can’t remember. Perhaps this heading shouldn’t be here at all but the ‘mind’ is an important thing for all people and something not to be ignored. I was quite a thinker they tell me before coma, always in my mind, I don’t know what they mean by saying that? Perhaps I am just being myself again with this section ‘mind’ as a heading on the page ‘defects’, and I’m in my ‘mind’ now. At least the heading ‘mind’ reveals my deep rooted defects arising from coma… Maybe they were always there, these deep rooted defects, and only through coma had the opportunity to surface…

 


HBOT

20130309-191432We, my wife and I, watched the film ‘coma’ last night that tracks several coma victims over three years. The film was critically acclaimed when is came out and was produced by Lisa Garbus. One of the victims died, another ‘s brain couldn’t process the hearing sensations from his ears. For me it’s the right side of my body. A victim was married after coma like I was, Tom Segars was married to a sincere woman and they had a baby after his coma. Another victim was permanently vegetative. The common effect was the brains inability to process the stimuli of their bodies. An interesting thing in Tom’s recovery was that his father started a blog for him, he couldn’t, which talks of HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen treatment). My own site talks of the same. For Tom his father noticed progress in his recovery after HBOT, Tom could walk in the water unassisted after HBOT, he couldn’t before. For my recovery I too noticed improvement after HBOT. My identical twin brother put me on a course of HBOT at the established therapy center www.hypermed.com.au

I think my memory and mind started to improve when I did each session in an oxygen chamber. The person who administered HBOT was a proven therapist by the name of Mal Hooper. I suspect the only reason I can manage my own blog now is because of HBOT, not to mention my overall progress. Several people contributed to the costs of HBOT hoping for my recovery. So my advice to other coma victims is definitely try HBOT, for me the process was to be put in an oxygen chamber for about an hour each time, the theory being that oxygen is central to the health of cells, especially brain cells. The links below explain for Tom’s HBOT…

 


Slow

Dear fellow coma victims, indeed normalisation is a very slow process, I have concluded that the new pathways in the brain must learn everything again. Heel toe the best and most pressing example. At the gym yesterday on the running machine I noticed even for that, it is the correct way for any movement with the legs. I actually am uncertain the new pathway wasn’t used for something else and it’s unnatural for leg operation. I still need a walking stick after more than 5 years but slowly less and less. I wonder at what age as children we develop a complete command of our body parts. At least not all pathways were destroyed by my coma, I’m imagining how bad it could be and probably is for many coma victims. I always wonder about the non physical effects, like empathy or love etc, so many emotions to consider, are these feelings too located in parts of my brain that were damaged by coma? Then again I wonder if they are actually stored in the brain, maybe emotions (person to person) are in the environment by association and we access such feelings from there. Indeed we are learning much more about reality nowadays with the likes of ‘entanglement theory’. I can believe not everything relating to a humans existence is located in the brain. Am I still an ok person? The same or better or worse? Perhaps my experiences through this ordeal have changed my outlook in general, after all a man knows the things in life by experience. Am I equipped to process all experiences after coma? I can’t help to relate all this to computers having worked with them for so many years, have I lost a little RAM? Certainly my hard drive is a little damaged. Much of my data sensors still work, eyes and ears etc, maybe a little worse too. Medicine suggests we can reroute the brain, the organ can adapt to changes, I don’t know how doctors measure this ability. Through trial and error I suspect by the many coma and stroke victims that have gone before. I am no doctor but always try to recover, often consider it and the best approach to all actions. This is merely a record of my attempt and what I think has worked for me. I sometimes look for approaches to recovery online, with anything at my disposal and enquire from doctors whenever I interact with them. It seems the brain hasn’t forgotten it’s disfunction, my ear problems Tinnitus and Meniere’s disease have returned a little among other things I previously had. They were both terrible before coma and I haven’t really had them just a little about 2 years after coma, my hearing and blocked ears bother me now but I’m often addressing it. Maybe the human brain does resemble a computer and I’ve been rebooted loosing my RAM at the time of reboot. Anyway the long and the short of this post is that we must use the brain to evaluate everything we do to rebuild it correctly. Pay attention to all actions, with every step and emotion. By my experience it is only by doing this that we improve towards normality whatever that is, what is truly normal for humans? We have defined it through law and politics. Maybe we should become like Trump. My friend was advised to focus on heel toe after a leg injury, perhaps it’s something we all must be aware of, not just coma victims, something the brain must rehearse to make a habit.

 


Comments

IMG_1375You can leave a comment on any page or post, there were several such  comments that have been deleted when I changed the site. But I was thinking of having a page dedicated to comments to encourage interaction. When you attempt to leave a comment WordPress asks for your email address but you don’t need to provide it. If you just click submit after typing your comment it will post, I made some changes to the settings and did a test comment which appears as ‘anonymous’ on this page. I reply to every comment.

18 comments

  1. 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

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  2. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 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…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 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?

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  5. 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
    Willis

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  6. 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

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  7. 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….

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  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 ?

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  9. 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…

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  10. 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 ?

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  11. 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

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  12. 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.

    GM

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  13. 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…

    Liked by 2 people

  14. 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.

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  15. 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.

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