Mid-year last year, I contracted a rare mosquito-borne tropical virus, and fell into a coma for almost two weeks. The doctors in the hospital did not think I had any chance of coming out alive, and believed I would be in a permanent vegetative state if I did.

Coming out of the coma gave me insight into what it would have been like to have died, and what legacy it would have left behind; as well as a unique insight into what is valuable in life, and what I would have regretted and what I would have been proud of.

Ark me anything; I'd like to think what I have to share could help!

Comments: 75 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

MadLintElf13 karma

Ok, since you are on for 4+ years send the Mod's proof and I would like to ask the following:

How long were you in a coma for, and how long did the rehab take to get you back up and running?

Do you have any memories from your period of coma, even if it was bit's and pieces, if so what were they (if you can articulate them).

What is your view of life having survived this.

Reason I ask these questions is I am 46, when I was 17 I was clinically dead for about 3 minutes. Spent 3 weeks in the ICU barely conscious.

I really remember only tidbits, a nurses face, doctor's checking me out, etc.

Very curious how it was to be in your state.

Thanks in advance.

Prox21 karma

I was in the coma for only about ten days, but the recollection I have made it feel like a period of years - longer, even. Basically, the coma itself felt similar to a dream, but with a conscious 'knowledge' I wasn't going to wake up, and that all thoughts and actions I took were utterly inconsequential.

It's taken a while to actually piece together what I 'dreamt' during that time, but all the bits I recall were strangely...spiritual. There was a lot of coming to terms with my religious beliefs, and facing what it meant to be dead. In retrospect, I notice this is very similar to reports of the effects of DMT on the brain, so it's entirely likely my brain flooded itself with DMT as a response to being 'dead'.

I'll go a bit more into detail in the post below, though.

I question a lot of those memories, though - it took a while for it all to come back, and it came back in bits and pieces. Furthermore, I have no recollection of about three or four days before I went into hospital, or about four or five hours after being told I woke up. I'm told I was conscious for a good while before my memories actually began.

Having survived, though, I've been left with insight into what it would have meant to actually die. I kind of see it as being given a 'second life', in which I'm aiming to undo 21 years of laziness, improperly spent effort, and wasted opportunities. Basically, I guess, having seen the responses of friends and loved ones, I've taken a step back and wondered what they would have thought of my life up to that point, and how I'd have been remembered. I'm actually extremely thankful for that experience.

pointmanzero6 karma

Please verify your claim with a mod

Prox1 karma

Uh, I'm not entirely sure how to do that. Not done an AMA before. :(

iamaredditer3 karma

Was it west nile virus?

Prox5 karma

No, Barmah forest virus, but it became especially aggravated by treatment using the wrong medications - the virus doesn't usually get as far south as I live, so there were several misdiagnoses made at first.

Duke_of_Chutney3 karma

You nearly died. What's your big piece of life advice?

Prox9 karma

There's no excuse to be lazy; you will regret it.

king_walnut2 karma

You know when you're lying in bed in a certain position for a fair while and it gets really uncomfortable? Did you experience that on an extreme level when you woke up or were you turned on a regular basis by the doctors?

Prox1 karma

I dunno. I'd assume I must have been turned, because I don't recall any such discomfort.

king_walnut2 karma

Was walking difficult after being in bed for 10 days?

Prox2 karma

Not really - though, I could barely sleep for about a week afterwards. Even with sedatives.

jadeisanoctopus2 karma

Damn. Glad you're better! What was it like waking up? Was the coma medically induced or was it brought on due to your illness? I clinically died as well for about a minute and a half but I was only 5 years old. I don't remember anything really so I'm really interested.

Prox2 karma

It was originally brought on due to the illness; my body went into shock and I was brought into hospital in a severe delirious state before falling unconscious. I woke from it after about six or seven days, I'm told (I do not remember any of this), but was put back into a medically induced coma as I had contracted pneumonia while in the coma, and my immune system had entirely shut down.

Waking up I don't actually remember. My memories only seem to start about four hours after I returned to consciousness.

I do have one memory of waking up, though - and I'm not sure which time it was. I only recall a doctor telling me not to panic, to slow my breathing, and then asking me to give a few strong coughs, of which I recall bringing up blood.

90-two2 karma


Prox4 karma


Sprinkles20092 karma

Do you have any memory of the coma?

Prox2 karma

Only scattered bits and pieces of the dreams I had while unconscious. I actually have no recollection of anything that happened for about three or four days beforehand, though, nor four or five hours after waking up.

king_walnut2 karma

After coming out of the coma, how long were you awake for before you needed to sleep again?

Prox3 karma

I only slept about 2-4 hours a night for about the next two weeks. Which was a bit unpleasant, because I had very little energy most of that time since I was still sick.

APguru1 karma

I wanna ark you everything :) So, what was going on with your family and the doctors while you were "away"?

Prox2 karma

My mother was panicking heaps, I'm told. The doctors were having long discussions about what it could be - the virus I had is practically unheard of down as far south as I am, so they were coming up with (and treating as though) all kinds of different diagnoses.

APguru1 karma

Jesus, must have been a nightmare How are you doing nowadays?

Prox1 karma

Pretty healthy, now!

Juufro1 karma

  • After almost dying, what do you want to do with your 2nd chance at life?
  • What's something many of us don't realize because we never encountered death?

Prox2 karma

I'm using my second chance at life to do the things I love properly, instead of half-assed - and I'm far, far less lazy - if only in that I spend less time doing unproductive activities. That kind of answers the second, too - realistically, a person could die at /any/ second.

Most people act as if there's nothing to worry about, and they have all the time in the world. While, talking in terms of probability, most people still have years, if not decades left to live, just accepting how easy it is to face mortality really changes your perspectives on what you're doing with your life.

Brotherpace1 karma

I don't see how this could get downvoted.. What was it like? Did you dream? Have any spiritual experiences or anything??

Prox9 karma

When I first woke up, it was hard to actually recall what I dreamt. It has slowly come back in bits and pieces, but I have no understanding of the order or how much of it is misremembered - I guess mostly like a typical sleep-dream.

However, the dreams I had were very different in nature to standard dreams. There was certainly some severe time dilation; I'd say it felt like years, but in reality it simultaneously felt like eternity as well. In addition, the first 'half' of that 'eternity' was coming to terms with being dead; I was incredibly confused, and couldn't access my memories in the same way as being in a waking state. Further, every time I tried to retrace my steps and work out how and why things weren't 'normal', as one tends to do in a dream, everything went black and reset.

Basically, that 'eternity' didn't end until I finally accepted I wouldn't ever wake up. But the moment that happened, everything went vivid and lucid. I was aware I wasn't awake, and was able to explore my memories and experiences - but yes, it definitely came with a vey strong spiritual nature.

From what I've read, many people who have a near-death experiences talk about having had a 'religious' experience, which often seems strangely in-tune with what religious beliefs they hold strongest. This is believed to be related to a neurochemical called DMT, which also carries the effect of forcing people to undergo 'death'. My experience in the coma was no different; I underwent a 'Christian death', wherein I found myself trying to justify why I deserved to be 'freed' from the state to an indescribable religious figure; and was trying to explain myself from a Christian perspective.

I still question these dreams and experiences, and I would say it woke me up to my spiritual side, but as a student of psychology and psychophysiology, I am aware that a lot of my experiences can be explained chemically. What I went through seems very in line with what I've read about other people's near-death experiences, and almost identical to reports of the effects of DMT on the brain, whether introduced naturally or unnaturally.

Hope that answers your question!

Anjz2 karma

Were you scared? Or did that feeling never come to you? How did your relatives react when you woke up and who found you woken up?

Prox1 karma

Actually, for a few weeks after waking, and any time I reflect on it for too long, I do feel a few twinges of fear - mostly fear in the knowledge that death can come at any time with no warning - and that almost every time, it is unforgiving. I may have extremely narrowly avoided it, but that leaves me fearful knowing how close I came, and how powerless I was to avoid it.

I'm not sure of the immediate reaction of my parents when I woke up; I was conscious for a good four or five hours before my memories actually 'start' - but I did wake up to find three of my closest friends at my bed, and my family had just left for a moment.

That was actually thoroughly surprising - I actually had fallen sick and was in a hospital some 800km (almost 500 miles) from home, as I was out of state visiting my family - in some ways, it certainly showed who I could rely on when in need.

Arctic_Religion0 karma

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did you say you dreamed about communicating with God?

Prox4 karma

I can't say it was God, but it was certainly a feeling of communicating with something impossible and, for lack of a better word, 'spiritual'.