Hi Reddit. So back on December 5th I fell five stories off a balcony. I have no memory of the incident or what I was doing sitting on a ledge, in fact most of 2015 is gone. I was in a coma for about 10 days and my family didn’t know if I was going to wake up or what kind of person I’d be when/ if that happened. My first words were February 5th when I asked for a cup of water, I guess you could say the thirst was real. On February 10th I went to a rehab hospital where I worked on walking and shoulder range of motion among other things. I kind of woke up/ became cognitively aware around the beginning of March. On March 28th I came to a transitional rehab which should be the final step. Here I have physical therapy, occupational therapy, education, speech, and counseling. Things are really looking up and I was estimated a length of stay of 6 months. I seemed like a long time but so many people have been here for over a year. I’m currently on a walker and am close to being off of it. I have a ton more to say but I’ll leave that to my answers. I hope I can shed some light on traumatic brain injuries and inspire others who are struggling with the same thing. Ask away!

Here’s the fence I landed on that broke my fall but also my pelvis: http://imgur.com/2iaNpUd

Here’s what I looked like before the accident: http://imgur.com/2F30o7T

Here’s me at my worst in the hospital (warning could be a bit shocking): http://imgur.com/7TByxWE

Here’s me currently at my friend’s wedding last weekend: http://imgur.com/26WfiAZ



EDIT: Left for lunch. I'll be back tonight to answer all the questions. Thanks to everyone for the kind words

Comments: 2984 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Xeraphiel2530 karma

How the fuck are you still alive?

Hope your condition improves though

TurquoiseSalamander2090 karma

I have no idea. I know I shouldn't be, nor be doing as good as I am now. I'm like crazy fortunate.

Xeraphiel203 karma

That's 5 stories man. You're a hell of a lucky person

TurquoiseSalamander349 karma

I figure apartment stories are thicker too to provide noise blocking. I'm way lucky

TurquoiseSalamander371 karma

No idea. I am improving every day! I think that fence somehow cushioned (if that's the right word) my fall

simplyshaun830 karma

What percentage of recovery are you expected to make? Are you going to be able to run, swim, ski and do you think cognitively you'll make a full recovery or will there be some mental difficulty with certain things?

TurquoiseSalamander1448 karma

Great question. From my understanding they want to make me 100% again. I'm already walking on a treadmill pretty briskly. Once my balance is back I should be fine. It'll take a long time to work through my toddler strength though.

Hollypopsicle731 karma

Were you on your own when you fell or were you with others? If you were with others, do you know how they have come to terms with your accident?

You sound like you have done amazingly well since your accident, you should be so incredibly proud of yourself. Good luck for everything you do in the future.

TurquoiseSalamander1527 karma

Thank you for the kind words. I was with like 5-6 friends, They all freaked out and immediately ran downstairs. There was actually a doctor out walking his dog and he watched me and made sure no one touched me till the ambulance got their. I think someone was looking out for me. My friends weren't able to find that doctor again to thank him.

Spain_strong437 karma

Same thing happened to me when I was ran over by a car. A nurse saw the accident and made sure that no one moved me till the ambulance arrived. I couldn't find her either...

TurquoiseSalamander381 karma

These types of stories are so interesting. I guess someone was looking out

Coldwater_Cigs143 karma

Doctors don't like to be involved in accidents like this/car wreaks. It's not uncommon for them to be sued if something goes wrong.

TurquoiseSalamander71 karma

It's been nothing but positive so far. And thankfully I no longer requrie a doctor.

Retireegeorge57 karma

Assuming your heart was beating and you were breathing. There are some people who tell "Don't touch him" when a person needs CPR more than the risk of further spinal damage.

TurquoiseSalamander104 karma

Ya I don't know what happened there. I got CRAZY lucky and fell when a doctor was out walking his dog. He watched me till the ambulance got there and made sure non of my friends touched me

HollyHobbLe450 karma

What has been the hardest thing for you to relearn? Best wishes to you for a recovery.

TurquoiseSalamander677 karma

Thank you. Nothing has been hard but walking, for instance, is a struggle. I guess the balance bones in my ear got all jumbled. That and swallowing water have been a task but it gets better everyday!

it_is_burning85 karma

Did you have to be on any thickened liquids? EDIT: saw you answered this. What kind of thickened liquids? I.e nectar, honey.

TurquoiseSalamander160 karma

Damn I'm impressed with your knowledge. I started honey thick but have since graduated to nectar. I have another swallow study scheduled for Tuesday and hopefully I get off that. It sucks having to thicken cereal

SewerSquirrel79 karma

Pardon me for asking if its been answered elsewhere, but why are liquids thickened? That, to me, seems like it would be harder to down.

TurquoiseSalamander161 karma

When I swallow my epiglottis doesn't close my airway well so this prevents choking I guess

barbedvelvet446 karma

Was anyone with you when you fell? Was alcohol involved? I live in Florida, and every year around spring break time falling off balcony incidents spike. Most were not as fortunate as you, and they fell fewer stories! You are one lucky duck!

Be well on your road to recovery, and I look forward to an update!

TurquoiseSalamander527 karma

Ya I was in town for a friends birthday so there was like 5-6 people there. I don't know if alcohol was involved but it was the middle of the day. I know heavy drinking happened the night before but I think that day was just casual sips

1minuteman264 karma

was it a suicide attempt? or an accident?

TurquoiseSalamander640 karma

Completely an accident. From what I understand I was just sitting on a ledge like an idiot and lost balance. No more height for me.

RangersCrusader427 karma

My palms are sweating just thinking about someone sitting on a ledge 5 stories up.

TurquoiseSalamander360 karma

Ya I've always done crazy climbing things like that but this takes the cake

Grimzkhul79 karma

Kinda makes me rethink all these times I've sat on the side of the roof of my 5 story building with dates just drinking wine... fuck.

TurquoiseSalamander83 karma

Oh i've done stupid things too. And a roof is safer than a ledge haha

chickentenderlovin223 karma

How's the food?

TurquoiseSalamander391 karma

Not bad. I'm on a ground diet with thickened liquid cause my swallowing is really weak. I can have pasta and cassserole and meatloaf for instance.

Usnoumed207 karma

Do you have any uncontrollable emotions or outbursts of anger that come out of no where? How's your pelvis? Can we see any x-rays?

TurquoiseSalamander747 karma

I don't have any xrays. But I was immobile for so long that all my fractures healed on their own. No screws needed in my spine thank god. Would've made security at airports a bitch. And I'm already a middle eastern man haha

MissionPrez174 karma

Do you ever feel bad for yourself, or angry at your situation? If so, how do you get over that?

TurquoiseSalamander424 karma

No thankfully. I'm just glad this is all on me cause I can forgive myself but I wouldn't be able to forgive someone if it was a push or something. But I was just stupid and have accepted that. I'm staying really positive, enough for all my therapists to notice. I've just accepted this is life now and things will come back eventually. I really miss my voice though. I had a really deep voice and now its all hoarse and raspy.

Easy301149 karma

Aside from being thirsty what was going through your mind when you woke up in the hospital?

Did you assume something bad must have happened other than you falling five stories?

It feels like it would be a surreal situation, waking up not remembering anything in the past year and now you're laying in a hospital bed.

When someone told you how long you've been there was it a "holy shit what!?" situation?

TurquoiseSalamander278 karma

Well waking up was so gradual I don't even know what I was like then. My first memories are around the beginning of March and I had a hard time believing it was 2016. Waking up was a slow process so I kinda grew awake knowing what happened. I'm fully aware now thankfully.

ChrisCapa119 karma

Do you have a job or go to school? If so how do you manage?

TurquoiseSalamander355 karma

I finished my masters last year and started work as en electrical engineer in June last year. I"m kinda nervous to go back but as long as my job understands it'll take time and to treat me like a new employee, I should be fine.

DanFraser115 karma

Wow, one luck guy indeed. Hope you get better.

The real question is... How tempting was it to post your first answer with a face roll on the keyboard?

TurquoiseSalamander100 karma

I think It would be hard to get my point across haha

bearcam75 karma

what has been the hardest part (mental, emotional, physical, etc) to overcome during the healing process so far?

here's to a speedy recovery!

TurquoiseSalamander151 karma

Thank you. The thing that bothers me and I think will take the longest is my voice. I had a really deep voice before this and now it's all hoarse and raspy. Walking and physical things are improving

bearcam35 karma

great to hear about the walking/physical aspects.

at least you'll have a cool story to go with the cool voice.

TurquoiseSalamander76 karma

Hopefully my voice comes back soon. Its pretty annoying to have to repeat myself. And I have my parents order at restaurants cause I can't really speak over the noise

Replies_To_Threads74 karma


TurquoiseSalamander178 karma

No thankfully. Like I'm cognitively all here. I speak 2.5 languages and remember all of those. I'm reading and doing math at a college level and the peak is grade 18

Kingerondarocks70 karma

My uncle went from a horse face first into a tree and lost some memories, when he realized what happened he thought "who beat the hell out of me?" What were your first thoughts when you realized what happened?

TurquoiseSalamander77 karma

Learning was such a slow process I didn't really have time to think about other things. I just kinda accepted it

Nappiest59 karma

What do you "remember" from your coma?

TurquoiseSalamander111 karma

Like 0. My memories start around the beginning of March at the rehab hospital.

lostinthegarden57 karma

What are you looking forward to doing after you leave the rehab facility?

TurquoiseSalamander189 karma

Just getting back to my normal life. Going back to work and contributing to society. And time with women haha

ATmotoman48 karma

I had a buddy who got into an accident and after getting out of a coma for a few days he mostly talked about vivid dreams that he had. Did you have any dreams or vision while you were out?

TurquoiseSalamander137 karma

No in fact I just had my first dream, that I remember, about a week ago. I was at a Persian party and dancing with my family haha

Terminalspecialist47 karma

You have a great attitude, man. Glad you seem to be on track for a great recovery for something that could've been so much worse. Looking at that photo of the railing you landed on, does it give you any kind of cringe feeling, or do you feel completely disconnected from the event because of the coma?

Anyway, glad you're good man. Wish you a fast, full recovery which you already seem to be heading toward.

TurquoiseSalamander50 karma

I feel completely disconnected from it since I have no memory. I'm just glad it was there.

Sadiebb23 karma

Are you Persian? I ask because I have a friend who is Persian, had an incident involving alcohol and and a bad fall. He was on life support , they told his mom it was hopeless and to take him off the machines, and in the end he made a full recovery too (took a year).

Just wondering if there is a special Persian survival gene--you look Persian to me!!

TurquoiseSalamander39 karma

Damn good eye! Ya I'm 100% and was actually born there. There go my dreams of being president.

am_i_potato10 karma

I'm so glad to see how well you are recovering from such a serious accident! What was the situation that night, who were you with and what did they do when you fell? Do you think that the fence breaking your fall (and hip) is what saved you from going splat on the sidewalk? And lastly, do you anything from the coma? I know sometimes people say they remember voices or crazy coma dreams, did you have any of those?

TurquoiseSalamander24 karma

It was actually during the day. I was in town with friends helping to celebrate a birthday. I think the fence definitely did more good than harm. I don't remember anything from the coma. Like I said even most of 2015 is gone. I woke up cognitively around the beginning of March

absity5 karma

Hi! Hope your recovery is going well. It's always great to hear the happier sides of survival with accidents like these. Thanks for doing an AMA!

I'm wondering what part of this experience you think would surprise people to hear -- or what is lesser known about comas, coma recovery and rehab?

Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions!

TurquoiseSalamander13 karma

Thank you! Honestly when I go out in public with my walker, people like dart out of the way. It's kinda funny but I'm normal guys. Other than that I have 6 hours of therapy a day so it's pretty extensive. It's like a full time job.

Nappiest2 karma

How did you land?

TurquoiseSalamander3 karma

I hit a fence ground level. The picture is up

Blueberryp132 karma

Awesome recovery! I am currently getting my doctorate in physical therapy, and I'm doing an internship working in a TBI rehabilitation hospital. Thank you for sharing your story and shedding some light on the common media fantasy that people get these injuries and wake up with a little amnesia, then leave the hospital a few days later. You appear to be making a better recovery than most; an injury like this can result in permanent brain damage and be completely life changing.

So my question for you is, I know you say that you see yourself returning to 100%, but do you anticipate that your day-to-day is going to be the same as it was before? I'd love to hear your insight on how you may live your life differently now.

TurquoiseSalamander3 karma

Honestly my only fear right now is work. I'll need time to get back to things and I hope they understand that. Dday to day should be fine though. I already cook for myself, go to the grocery stroe, do laundry, and most activties

czer810 karma

How long did the fall take? And how long did it seem like? If you remember.

TurquoiseSalamander1 karma

I don't remember at all. Like I said in the description like all of 2015 is gone. The doctor said the year should come back slowly but the fall and two weeks prior never will. Which is totally fine, I don't want to be scared of heights

ChrisCapa-4 karma

How's your sex life, mate?

TurquoiseSalamander1 karma

Well I'm in rehab and surrounded by other accidents and stroke patients. So... it could be better