General Question

drClaw's avatar

What is it like being in a coma?

Asked by drClaw (4452points) March 25th, 2009

A friend from work and I were talking about being in a coma and wondered if people were aware of what was going on, if it is like being in a dream, or maybe it’s just like nothing and you wake up feeling like no time passed at all.

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19 Answers

MrKnowItAll's avatar

Ask ex-pres G.W. Bush.

KalWest's avatar



Benny's avatar

Generally you are completely unconscious and you are not aware what is going on. Occasionally they will remember snippets. It depends upon the cause of the coma and the medications they were on.

asmonet's avatar

I imagine it’s a lot like anesthesia.

chyna's avatar

My nephew was in a coma for 2 weeks after an ATV wreck (no helmet) and all he remembered was that I brushed his teeth.

casheroo's avatar

I think it’s like what @asmonet said.

marinelife's avatar

Based on the reports I have read, people have a continuum of experiences. Some recall people talking to them, some remember nothing, some have vivid dream-type experiences.

basp's avatar

My husband was in a coma for several months.
He has some memories f things that really happened and some memories of things that didn’t really happen in reality.
He definately lost time…was very confused by time during recovery. (he still has difficulty with time)
Most of the time he was non verbal during the coma and does not remember what was going on around him.

juniper's avatar

I have a friend who was in a coma for a very long time. Unfortunately, he never recovered. He’s in a vegetative state, now. Sigh.

Anyway, I talked to the doctors a lot about this during that time. They told me that the human brain is a mysterious thing, and they can never be totally sure what a person is experiencing while they are in a coma. There can be many different situations.

My friend’s doctor once privately told me that he sensed that Matt could sort of understand things like tone of voice and the vibe of a room, but not things like individual words or sounds or shapes.

I always had dreams that Matt came out of the coma and I asked him what it was like. It’s a sad and terrible mystery.

fireside's avatar

@juniper – sorry to hear about your friend

@basp – how is your husband now?

Darwin's avatar

My husband was in a coma for three weeks. He remembers absolutely nothing from about three days before it started until it ended, except he remembered dreaming of being shaved. The staff were having problems with the tape holding various tubes in his mouth because of his mustache, so I said they could trim it as needed. Instead they gave him a full shave. Somehow that sank in. Otherwise, it is just 3+ weeks gone out of his life.

He also now has an irrational fear of pizza and of sink baths. Pizza was the last thing he ate before getting ill but he doesn’t remember eating it. He just cannot stand even being near it. I don’t know why sink baths, unless he didn’t like the way they bathed him in ICU.

basp's avatar

Husband has been lucky over the years. Despite lifelong disabilities, he continues to outlive the earliest predictions.

Darwin's avatar

@basp – I suspect our husbands may be related.

timeand_distance's avatar

I always figured that being in a coma would be just like being sucked back into the 1970s, and people would talk to you through TVs and radios and you’d just like, run around solving crimes while having to deal with crooked policemen and stuff.

basp's avatar

Darwin, our husbands are definately bonded by experience….....

I hope all is well with your husband these days.

Darwin's avatar

@basp – yes, he is doing well. We just saw yet another doctor who is amazed that my husband’s kidneys still work and that his heart is still beating. Hope yours is doing the same.

Aster's avatar

I,d like to try one for a few weeks but so much laundry would pile up!!

GracieT's avatar

I was in one for two months. I don’t remember anything until I was coming out of it, and then only spotty memories. I was told that the reason that they didn’t pull the plug was that they saw brain activity. They kept shoes on my feet so I didn’t wind up like barbie, and the bed rotated so I didn’t get any bed sores. I was told that occasionally my eyes would open and I would track movement if I “recognized” a voice, so they would all talk to me. I was also told that the first movement to someone I made was when pet therapy brought a dog (embarrassing!) so I imagine that any movement I made was a response to pain, so I think I was starting to come out when they first brought her.

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