In the past months we have shared in this blog our findings concerning the different stages following a comatose state and the level of awareness that a patient can experience. Today we want to share with you a message of hope, presenting three remarkable stories of people fully recovering their abilities after a long-term unconscious states and very low recovery expectations.
In 2008, 60-year-old retired baker Sam Carter had fallen into a coma from severe anemia, which occurs when a person’s red blood cell count gets too low or blood lacks hemoglobin. Carter had been in a coma for three days, and he was given a 30 percent chance of recovering. The doctor suggested his family to constantly stimulate him, eventually playing some music. His wife got a set of headphones and put them on her husband, playing the Rolling Stones classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Amazingly, once the song was played, Sam opened his eyes. Sam says that the song gave him energy and pulled him out of the coma. He doesn’t remember much from those unconscious days, but he remembered hearing that song. The song also had a special meaning, as was the first CD he ever bought when he was 17 years old. He said it gave him the push he needed to wake up.
On August 16, 2009, 17-year-old Jarrett Carland and his best friend were involved in a car accident. His best friend was killed and Carland fell into a persistent vegetative state. Doctors said that he would probably never wake up. Carland underwent therapy, and part of that therapy was listening to music. In the care center where Carland stayed, the other patients listened to soft and gentle music, but Jarrett’s parents blared country music legend Charlie Daniels.
After lying in a coma for four months, his parents got a reaction and eventually Jarrett came out of his coma. Six months later, at the Riverbend Music Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jarrett got to meet the man who helped him while he was in his coma: Charlie Daniels. Jarrett has fully recovered since.
In 1988, while working on the railroad, Jan Grzebski had his head partially crushed while trying to connect two railroad cars. According to a report coming out of his home in Dzialdowo, Poland, he spent the following 15 years in a coma. His wife spent with him most of her time during this long period. Then, he woke up, and the world was completely new to him. Poland was no longer a communist country and he had to be introduced to his 11 grandchildren. The story was picked up by news organizations around the world, including the Associated Press and the BBC. However, after the story made headlines, Grzebski claimed such stories were exaggerations. In fact, he claimed that he had been in an actual vegetative state for only 4 years. When he woke up, he was still mute and paralyzed, but was partially aware of what was going on around him (Locked-in Syndrome). He heard the television and knew that Poland was no longer communist. He finally re-learned how to talk and even walk.