Recovery

Fellow coma victims, how to recover? By my research there is no clear path but at least everyone thinks I’m recovering quite well. Can we become the person that we were before coma? I think not. By my experience it takes so long for the brain to communicate with body parts again, to develop the new pathways. Also non physical defects like memory can be difficult, I have been religiously trying to remember what happened yesterday. Thankfully my memory is improving perhaps through use, it wasn’t for a long time. I know that I’ve been to Japan before but I still can’t remember anything about it. I knew my way around Bangkok quite well from being there before, Khao San road and the likes stimulated memory. But I still have trouble with body parts on the right like toes, the foot, and my hand etc… and get cramps in my foot. I always consider my defects with every step, trying to normalise my gait. The eye sight in my right eye isn’t perfect either. Certainly my walking dramatically deteriorated about 2 years after coma, perhaps the new pathway became primary at that point, but the new pathway still needed to relate to the subtleties like feeling and balance. So can we become the person we were before coma? I suspect not but we are always the same person to others, maybe a little less capable to ourselves. The photo above is about 1.5 years after coma, I’m out of the wheel chair now and past the walking frame but still need a stick, slowly improving. There was no damage to my leg, just coma. So I am recovering awkwardly. I sometimes feel embarrassed by my defects because I suspect people don’t believe I’m trying. Coma is not like a typical injury where we see regular sequential improvement. My only advice to other coma victims is to encourage the brain to relearn the subtleties by using the limb in strange ways, the human body is a very complex thing. Regularly I try to balance on my bad leg and use my bad arm to hold onto something as I lift the good leg. When I started doing this I would fall. After 2 years it’s much better, not perfect. We must always push our bodies, perhaps the same can be done with the non physical defects. I always try to remember yesterday, even now that it’s improving just to keep using that part of the brain. So just focus on stimulating your defects I suspect, the only advice I can offer.

4 comments

  1. Hey Matt, while hard to estimate, it is plain you have come a very long way back. Thanks for asking about Guy. He has been in trouble at school a bit since returning in February but we (Mum, Dad, Nana, teacher) are on him. As we are entering the footy season all he wants to do is get out there and play! Take care

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  2. Thanks Jaime, it’s always difficult to talk accurately about these things but by my estimation I’m in the range of 50% back. Maybe we can talk of two areas, physicality and mentality, perhaps 50% physically and completely mentally… who knows… a test for my memory, how’s your son?

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  3. Good on you, Matt. You express the difficulties of your situation without the carry-on. Challenging yourself to reconnect, with your memory, your senses, your being, is absolutely gallant, and you deserve all of the rewards it entails. To me, after your journey, a good while now, I see little difference before or after. Yes, maybe more introspection given what has happened, but you have returned to us in the best way possible. Cheers, mate

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