In the spring of 2006, I was in a terrible car accident with fatalities in Florida, which left me severely injured. I was unconscious in a hospital for a period of 4 months after massive head trauma. The doctors had said it was a miracle that I survived, but I didn't escape unscathed - my thinking abilities have been reduced. While I no longer have seizures, I slur and stutter occasionally and think a bit more slowly. AMA.

My roommate is helping me by transcribing my responses, as I type very slowly and make lots of mistakes.

edit: Roommate here. Tedsnake has had to retire a bit earlier than planned this evening, but I could tell he loved being able to interact with you guys. He's particularly forthright and open with his experiences, moreso than anyone else I've met, and it's truly inspiring. You made his night, his week maybe. (And to be selfish for a minute, it was fun for me also! He's got a hell of a sense of humor.) This will likely end up being his permanent account, as I think I intrigued him when I explained reddit. Feel free to PM questions or discussions.

This was really nice, reddit. Thank you.

edit 2: Roommate again. So Ted and I did this AMA last night til about midnight, and we wrapped it up early because of an issue he had with his blood sugar. Long story short, he's taking a medicine (Prednisone) for a lung infection which is wreaking havoc on his sugar levels. As a precaution, we took him to be checked out and they're keeping him for a bit. I'll visit this afternoon, at which point I'll show him more of your responses and such. I gave him a quick rundown on the phone a few minutes ago, and he was absolutely elated to hear of your kind words and support. Thank you!

2b: I feel like I'm almost abusing the account by saying things without Ted here with me, so I'm going to post on JJEE from here on out. That's my personal account.

Comments: 1603 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

disorderlyconductor1235 karma

I may have crossed a line here but I really want you to be able to go fishing.

So I wrote to the Darryl Gwynn Foundation, which has a fundraising event called Hot Rods and Reels and said this:

Hello Darrell Gwynn Foundation,

I'm writing you about your Hot Rods and Reels events and also to ask you for help. I'm asking because I'm moved by the story of a man called Tedsnake. On this site called, Tedsnake started a thread, to respond to a request from another member on the site, about his life after waking from a coma which had a duration of four months.

My curiosity quickly turned to compassion as this man, aided by his roommate, described how drastically his life changed after an impaired driver took the lives of his wife and children and very nearly himself. I would encourage you to look through the discussion here to be heartened by the challenges this individual has overcome:

To provide a brief (and what I am sure is in no way complete) history of the comments, Tedsnake lost his job as a manager of Ohio Auto Parts Company, until it went out of business November 11th, 2006. The following spring Tedsnake was involved in the accident which robbed him of his family. After being discharged from the hospital he was homeless only until recently.

I was particularly moved to compassion by this comment: Tedsnake: I was manager of a very large auto parts company in Ohio for 25 of my 30 years employment there. I used to professionally drag race and do mechanic work, including building custom show cars. I can't do these things now. I'm totally disabled now. And I'm worthless. I collect money from the government to sit here and eat. To me that's a worthless person. (Roommate: Doing my best to assure him he's wrong about this)

This comment in particular that started me on the search which led me to your organization:
Tedsnake: No. I'm completely disabled now. I used to work in an autoparts warehouse, but I'm not able to do that now. As for hobbies, I still create models (tanks and airplanes, mostly.) I don't create furniture or hunt anymore, though. And nobody will take me fishing.

I live in Canada, so I can't take Tedsnake fishing, since he lives in Orlando. However, I've noticed that your organization is nearby. I'm hoping that an organization such as yours, that has combined these two passions of Tedsnake would be willing to help this man get his lure in the water. I recognize that the Darrell Gwynn Foundation has focused its mandate to provide support for people living with paralysis and prevent spinal cord injuries. While Tedsnake has mentioned he requires a wheelchair for distances greater than 50ft, he does not have full paralysis to my knowledge. However I believe your organization and Tedsnake are kindred spirts, it is my hope that through your organization, Tedsnake can return to at least one of the things he enjoys to do.

Sincerely, DisorderlyConductor.

I hope that other redditors will send a similar email to [email protected] and the power of the internet can get you out on the water. All the best my friend!

TL;DR Send an email to [email protected] and help get Tedsnake out fishing!

EDIT As pointed out, I got the email address wrong. Fixed that for this post, but big thanks to NattyBumppo for catching my error. Much appreciated. Now lets show that charity the kind of outpouring that got SOPA shelved!

EDIT 2 Big thanks to the hundreds of you that sent emails. We're almost there, please see their reply:

*Hi. This morning we’ve received hundreds of emails from people all over the country asking us to help a gentlemen named “Tedsnake”. We are trying to understand who exactly Tedsnake is, how all of you learned of our organization and fishing tournament, and why and how an email campaign started requesting we help him. We really aren’t having much luck understanding the situation from any of the emails or links that are being sent to us.

If any of you can direct us to a caretaker for this gentlemen, we would be happy to investigate the matter and see if we can assist. Thank you and please have a caretaker contact us a [email protected].*

Tedsnake631 karma

(Roommate: I'm moved nearly to tears by your kindness. Thank you for taking the time to contact them and to comment here. It was fitting and wonderful. Thank you, on behalf of both of us.)

sandfire446 karma

When you were told how long you were in a coma, what was your first thought/response? How hurt was your wife?

Tedsnake1076 karma

"...Oh my fucking god." Utter shock and anger, sadness, hateful, and in denial. I didn't know how to react. My wife and children were killed.

Exedous474 karma

Wow holy shit you sort of left that out in your main post.

Tedsnake656 karma

(Roommate here - I'll take responsibility for that. When I asked him to tell me a few things to put in the main body, I wasn't sure whether he wanted to share that part.)

[deleted]412 karma

Damn this sounds horrible. No question, just wanted to say mad respect for being able to keep trucking on after that. I can't imagine how shattered you must have been losing your family like that.

Fuck dude, I'll come fishing with you. We'll get Chipotle afterwards too.

Tedsnake513 karma

Hey, now that sounds good! But if we catch fish, we're having fish afterwards!

MrMustang371 karma

When you came out of the coma, were you aware of how much time had passed or did it feel as if it happened instantly after the accident?

Tedsnake614 karma

I had no idea of the time frame. It felt more like minutes, and I was really surprised when they told me how long it had been.

aoeu00337 karma

I feel awkward asking this, but if the system permitted, and said "here's a gun," and you could pull the trigger on that guy, would you do it? Or, to a lesser extent, if they let you push the button for the electric chair, etc? Or do you feel him serving for the rest of his life is sufficient?

Tedsnake638 karma

I would in a heartbeat. He took my family away from me. If I could legally, I would want to take his life. Not his family's, because they didn't do anything to me (except for some hateful yelling during his trial.)

k_m_k487 karma

His family yelled at you hatefully during the trial?!

Tedsnake910 karma

Yeah, very vehemently. They were angry that the man was being sent away - from their perspective, taken away. They said they were glad that my family was dead and that it's too bad I didn't die too. People can be very ugly.

jstew311312 karma

Did you feel well rested when you woke up?

Tedsnake534 karma

No, not at all. My head felt like someone just mashed it was a sledgehammer, and my body felt like I had been thrown off a building. Everything was sore.

thefielder288 karma

As a father of three myself, I can safely say that I'm not sure I would want to continue living after losing my girls.. I can't begin to imagine what you've gone through just emotionally let alone physically. I wish you the best in your recovery and hope the guy who did this to you rots in hell.

Tedsnake475 karma

They told me that the guy responsible will likely never leave. He'll probably live his last days there.

A_Crazy_Hooligan266 karma

How much was your hospital bill? do you remember anything before your coma? like the accident. I have heard of some people being in a coma and being aware of their surroundings but not ebing able to respond. Did you experience this?

Tedsnake496 karma

  • $2.5 million. The insurance company for the tractor trailer that hit me had to pay these expenses. Most of this was out of my hands. ,
  • Yes, I remember a little. I was driving on the interstate, and I recall hearing my wife scream. I looked to the right and saw a tractor trailer coming at us (T-bone.) That's the last I remember.

  • No. I don't remember hearing, feeling, or seeing anything. It was like I was asleep.

A_Crazy_Hooligan204 karma

Holy shit. Im glad youre okay and whomever was in charge of your life choices decided to wait as long as they did for you.

Tedsnake344 karma

Thank you. The state law in Florida is one year, and at that point, they can remove life support if there are no requests otherwise from family. I didn't have any family that were in contact with the hospital, so it was all state controlled.

akir2222237 karma

How old are you now? I also read that you said you are completely disabled- mind going into some more detail on this? Are you mobile, able to live alone, etc? All the best though.

Tedsnake677 karma

First question: I'm 54. I'm somewhat mobile, and need a wheelchair when I need to walk more than 50 feet. I have disabilities of congestive heart failure, renal failure, occasional blackouts. I blacked out one night over this past summer and fell and broke my arm.

I have neuropathy in my legs, for which I have a persistent prescription for pain meds. I have seven ruptured discs in my back which they can't surgically repair because of my weakened heart, which similarly, is why they can't do anything for my kidneys.

I also have cancer, which is not related to the accident, but still makes it onto my disabilities list.

I have brain damage, which I mentioned earlier. The most noticeable effects are slight speech impediments, but I also have an issue with my thought process. My short term memory is very kaput.

Gwildar213 karma

Were the medical staff surprised you woke up after such an extended time?

Tedsnake565 karma

Yes, certainly. They did not expect me to wake up. When you're in a coma, they put these electrodes on your head to measure brain activity. They said that when they measured mine, I was labeled brain dead. When I came out of there, the doctors told me that I wouldn't walk again. I had broken 41 bones in the accident. Well, I'm not very fast or agile now, but I can walk around on my own, if not very far.

Tedsnake207 karma

It took a long time before I felt like doing that type of thing, so I had to think about it. I went to a Christmas show at the amphitheater at Lake Eola in Orlando afterward, which was hosted by Home Sweet Homeless, a group that helps homeless people in the area.

shinja59204 karma

Were there any benefits of being able to (from your perspective) abruptly skip four months into the future?

Tedsnake603 karma

Didn't have to pay bills! (He chuckled pretty hard on this one.)

DoctorMeninx183 karma

I'm very grateful to see you are still alive, Ted. Terrible pretenses, but thank you for sharing.

My only question is what do you hope to accomplish in the future? Perhaps writing a book, or finding some way to channel your experiences into a positive outlet?

Tedsnake281 karma

Well, I've shared my story with the Home Sweet Homeless group. I was homeless for a while after the accident, and they helped me out. They used my story (with my permission, of course) when they asked for some donations for the group. I still continue to write stories for them about my life before the accident.

macboogiewoogie142 karma

Why were you homeless for a while after the accident? You said that insurance paid for your medical bills.. did it take a while to get everything sorted out?

Tedsnake347 karma

It's still not sorted out, after 5 years. Any settlements or such are still forthcoming or pending. Even if the medical bills were covered, I don't have a way to make a livable income on my own, and only very recently was I approved for disability so I could get off the streets.

macboogiewoogie63 karma

Sorry to hear that - good luck going forward and I'm glad you were finally approved for disability!

Tedsnake100 karma

Thank you very much.

nerdbebo181 karma

Where you from? I'll take you fishing if you are nearby.

Tedsnake242 karma

I'm in Orlando, FL!

Dan_BikeMan169 karma

I'm really sorry that this happened to you, man. You have my utmost respect.

My question is this: what do you do for a living? What did you do before the accident?

Tedsnake462 karma

I was manager of a very large auto parts company in Ohio for 25 of my 30 years employment there. I used to professionally drag race and do mechanic work, including building custom show cars. I can't do these things now.

I'm totally disabled now. And I'm worthless. I collect money from the government to sit here and eat. To me that's a worthless person.

(Roommate: Doing my best to assure him he's wrong about this)

[deleted]458 karma

Let me assure you, you are not totally worthless. Having such an experience and being able to share it with other people is invaluable to us. You have the ability to connect with people over a subject that affects us all, driving while intoxicated, and with that, the ability to convey the consequences first hand. As a teenager myself, theres a large audience out there that is constantly growing, and thus, needing constant education on the subject. Too many people my age think its ok to jump in a car high/drunk because it 'wont happen to them'. The point im trying to make here is, have you ever considered using your experiences to educate others? (obviously not just on askreddit, consider the bigger picture.)

Tedsnake484 karma

(Roommate: You asked a brilliant question, and I thank you personally for it. He and I just talked for about 10 minutes about this - apparently he was slated at one point to give a lecture at a local university about it, but it was too soon after the accident, so he was afraid to get up for fear of breaking down in front of the audience. He mentioned he's more willing to do this now that there's been some time. I'm going to contact some people at the University (I'm a student) and see if we can set it up. Thank you again.)

jonathonthomas75 karma

Please hold hope my friend. my thoughts are with you. Question: I'm suprised no lawyer came forward wanting to try your case. Not to sound like a typical american, but under the circumstances, i believe some sort of settlement is due.

Tedsnake151 karma

Well hold on there, I had lawyers out the kazoo coming to my room claiming to be my counsel. Eventually I did decide on a lawyer, but that process is still ongoing. He advised that it would likely take some time before I saw recompense.

FrancisDollarHyde161 karma

Goddamn farmers with their trailers. What happened to the person that did this to you?

Tedsnake457 karma

He's doing 3 life terms with no chance of parole until 2036. He had been drunk and high on cocaine, and was in possession of marijuana and cocaine, was illegal in the US and didn't have a driver's license. Because of the deaths, they were able to keep him here rather than deporting.

FrancisDollarHyde157 karma

And justice was served with a grim and mighty bang. Here's to you keeping on the good road of recovery!

Tedsnake167 karma

Thank you very much.

IronCawk159 karma

Do you dream in a coma? Do you have any idea your still alive or just wake up and not have any idea what happened last four months?

Tedsnake293 karma

I woke up and had no idea where I was, or what had happened. I remember being scared. There were no dreams while I was unconscious - I just woke up at the tail end of it.

mandjari137 karma

Was there anything that had happened during your coma that you were shocked to find out about? (Ex. A law that got passed, friends breaking up, any deaths, etc. It could be on a large or small scale)

Tedsnake343 karma

I had just learned about the fate of my family, which was pretty shocking. Nothing else really registered.

Trollmastr131 karma

how did u learn of your family's deaths? how did you cope with it?

Tedsnake347 karma

I asked how they were and they didn't give me a positive response, so I gathered immediately that they were dead. At first I didn't know how to cope with it. They had ministers and counselors come in to talk to me, asking "How do you feel about this?" and "How are you handling it? Are you feeling suicidal, or feel like hurting someone else?"

They had someone to sit with me pretty much 24/7. It took me about a year to start feeling like I could cope with life again. That year was extremely difficult.

G1023128 karma

Did the doctors describe how you awoke? As in, was there something medical that triggered it, and how did they become aware you had woken up?

Tedsnake226 karma

A nurse came in and noticed that my eyes were opened. She called the doctors in and they took a look. It was a natural awakening, and I don't recall any specific medical cause.

lawyerlady120 karma

I am so sorry for your loss. Did you miss the funerals for your family or did they host a memorial for you to attend?

Tedsnake211 karma

The funerals were while I was unconscious. No, they didn't do a memorial at any point.

johnsmcjohn120 karma

Do you have a hard time sleeping now?

Tedsnake197 karma

Not in the slightest. I have no problem sleeping at any time, day or night.

square965102 karma

I guess to add onto this question, were you afraid to sleep the days immediately following waking up from the coma? Like afraid of not waking up again?

Tedsnake198 karma

No, I wasn't afraid of that. Matter of fact, I don't think the thought ever crossed my mind.

Meowmixmyanus111 karma

How was the wake up experience? As in were you surprised in a hospital or was there people with you, etc.?

Tedsnake360 karma

No, at first when I woke up, I had no idea I was in a hospital. From what the staff told me eventually, it took about an hour for me to accept that I was in a hospital due to injuries. When I asked about my wife and the kids, they responded "Well we just need to get you better first." I knew at that moment that they were gone.

PhilGarber105 karma

I am a person who stutters. Are you aware of the stuttering support community? Http://

Tedsnake127 karma

Yes, I'm aware, but I haven't interacted with that community. The biggest reason is a lack of transportation.

stievstigma103 karma

What did you do before the accident? Have you been able to resume your previous career/hobbies?

Tedsnake273 karma

No. I'm completely disabled now. I used to work in an autoparts warehouse, but I'm not able to do that now. As for hobbies, I still create models (tanks and airplanes, mostly.) I don't create furniture or hunt anymore, though. And nobody will take me fishing.

stievstigma103 karma

Damn man, I'm sorry to hear that. If you're ever in Florida, North Carolina, or California, I'll do my absolute best to get you back out on a boat. I'm come from a fishing family and we all like to help out when we can. I'm serious, if you're in any of those areas, you're gonna be fishing.

As far as hobbies go, I can safely assume you were more of an outdoorsman/craftsman, so I understand that the transition may be tough. But, have you ever considered taking up art or music? There's been studies that show that creative hobbies are helpful in restoring lost cognitive function due to brain trauma.

Tedsnake104 karma

I'm in Orlando right now, no intent to leave any time soon! I'd love to go!

parisien96100 karma

Do you recall everything from before the accident? Like street names, nearest supermarket, stuff like that... Also, how long has it been since you woke up? Thank you in advance.

Tedsnake205 karma

I woke up July 12th of 2006, so it's been 5 and a half years. I know exactly where I was, I could take you to the exact spot on I-4 where it happened.

Tindwel86 karma

If you worked for that company for so long, do you have some sort or retirement promised?

How did you find your room mate? By the way, room mate, you seem pretty awesome.

Can you post pictures of some of your models or past projects? _^

Tedsnake198 karma

  • No, because November in the year before my accident, I went in to work to find that the business had closed/gone under. This was Ohio Auto Parts Company, Nov. 11, 2005.

  • I found him under a rock. Actually, I found the room advertised in a newspaper, and he was already living there. (Roommate: Thanks! This guy has a hell of a story and I'm grateful I could get you together.)

  • Sure, here are some! Tank Collection British Chieftain from WW2 Early German Tiger Tank

naglfar90955 karma

What are those, 1/48?

Tedsnake100 karma

Actually, they're 1/35! (Roommate: I fixed those links so they're appropriately sized photos now. Sorry about that.)

Dysgalty75 karma

Horribly sorry to here what happened to you, I hope your cognitive functions fully recover in due time. But I have a question, I remember reading something before concerning the sex drive after recovering from a coma. What was your sex drive after you recovered?

Tedsnake316 karma

It went to zero afterward, and stayed that way for over a year. I didn't want to think of any women that way, because they weren't my wife. I still don't think anyone will replace her, so I don't have any desire to marry, but if a cute redhead presents herself and wants to spend a couple nights, I'm there! haha.

petrofire69 karma

How different did your body feel (strength, reflexes, reaction time, fatigue, etc) after 4 months of lying in a bed? How difficult was it to cope with these changes?

Tedsnake278 karma

Extremely fatigued, and hurt to the point I couldn't shift my own body. The nurses had to help me move onto my side when it was necessary. I had the reflexes of a cat (a dead one.)

[deleted]116 karma

It would be pretty bizarre to have the reflexes of Schrödinger's cat.

golgy66 karma

Just how are you sure that Schrödinger's cat is indeed, dead?

Tedsnake141 karma

(Roommate here: Completely sure. Both possibilities, alive and dead, exist until you open the box and observe!)

ItsEvolution63 karma

Did this experience, as well as your health issues as of now, put a new perspective on how you view death? And how did you deal with being stuck in the hospital for that long(while awake, that is)? Being someone who was in the hospital for 9 days(spending Christmas there as well), it was.......hell to put it bluntly, but thats because I'm only 16 and I hadn't seen my friends for months(I couldn't go to school prior to this)..yadda yadda yadda. The usual psychologist lingo.

But I digress. Regardless of what you've done in your life so far, I find it admirable that you've gone through so much and are still trudging along. Hope things turn out for the better.

Tedsnake189 karma

Yes, it definitely did. It woke me up to the fact that life can be stolen away from you at any moment, and that I shouldn't take life for granted. For the first year after waking up, I would've welcomed death. I was busted up, broken, my wife and kids were gone, and I had no job. My life was nothing. It was worthless. The only thing that helped to change my outlook was time. I met a group of Christian kids - I'm not religious, but I got in with this group, and they told me I needed to be positive and think about life rather than about loss and dying.

7HR4SH3R46 karma

So you were in the coma strictly due to head trauma then? Or was it medically induced? Did your body wake you up, or did doctors do something to make you wake up?

Tedsnake89 karma

The head injuries are what knocked me out, and I woke up naturally.

kjoleem44 karma

What kind of rehabilitation did you through after you awoke from the coma (physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech)? What kinds of challenges did you face and what was the impact of rehab on your life?

Tedsnake90 karma

I went through all of the above rehabilitation types. Learning how to walk again was the toughest by far. I'll never forget my first couple of steps. My muscles were pretty seriously atrophied. After waking up, it was probably a month at least before I could start moving around much in the bed, which progressed to only standing up, then eventually taking steps. It was rough.

therealknewman27 karma

were you hungry/thirsty after waking up? I know they give you IV nutrients, but I imagine its just not the same as food.

Tedsnake81 karma

Yeah, matter of fact, I got really thirsty and drank too much water at once and ended up throwing it up. They had told me to sip it, but... my body was saying everything but sip, at the time.