According to the Mayo Clinic, “a coma is a state of prolonged unconsciousness that can be caused by a variety of problems.” This includes but is not limited to traumatic head injuries, brain tumors, or an underlying illness like diabetes. A coma is a medical emergency and quick action needs to be taken in order to preserve both the life and brain function of the patient. While in a coma, there is little to no activity, but that does not mean that great things can’t be accomplished while in one. Let’s take a look at the remarkable things people managed to do while in a coma.
1. Broke A World Record
There have been two people in history that stand out for the amount of time they’ve spent being in a persistent vegetative state. First was Elaine Esposito, who at the age of six, in the summer of 1941, fell into a coma after undergoing a routine appendectomy. She spent 37 years, 3 months, and 20 days in a coma before she passed away in November 1978. Esposito held the record for over 30 years before it was broken by Pennsylvania native, Edwarda O’Bara. She fell into a diabetic coma when she was still in high school in 1970. She remained in a coma for 42 years, surviving both her parents before she died in November 2012.
2. Became Fluent in Spanish
Most people have heard of “foreign accent syndrome” – a condition in which people who have suffered from traumatic brain injury are able to speak in a foreign language, sometimes native to places where they’ve never been. In 2016, 16-year-old Georgia resident, Reuben Nsemoh ended up in a very brief coma after a terrible soccer accident. Within hours of rousing, he began to speak in perfect Spanish. Everyone was surprised as he’d never taken a Spanish class in his life. Unfortunately, his newly founded skill only lasted for a few hours.
3. Inspired a Movie
If you’ve seen The Big Sick, then you already know this story very well. Emily V. Gordon was dating Kumail Nanjiani for about 8 months before she fell ill. Placed into a medically induced coma because of a serious lung infection and an unknown condition, Emily spent weeks in the hospital, and it is during that time Kumail realizes his true feelings for her. Although the movie ending suggests that they got back together, they got married in real life. The film grossed $56 million worldwide and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
4. Became Convinced That He Was a Celebrity
Most of us have wondered what it would be like if we were celebrities and while it may just be a dream, for one British man, he woke up from a coma believing that he was Matthew McConaughey. Here’s some backstory, Curtis went into a coma after a car crash caused major brain injury. When he came out of it, one of the first things he said was that he was surprised that he didn’t see Matthew looking back at him when looking in the mirror. He even briefly developed the ability to speak French.
5. Became a King
Over the last century, there haven’t been many successions and there are many reasons why. For one, royals didn’t go into battle as much as their predecessors and modern medicine has helped to prolong many lives. So when it happens, people get a little excited. In 2001, for reasons that are still unknown, Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah launched an attack on the Nepalese royal family, fatally injuring 11 people including his parents before turning the weapon on himself. Instead of meeting his maker, he ended up in a coma. Despite his actions, he succeeded his father as king while in a coma. He died three days later, and his brother became king.
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