15 People Who Have Been in a Coma Share What It Was Like

Experiencing a coma is one of those things that seems pretty impossible to truly understand unless you’ve been there – and most of us don’t want to do it just to know what it’s like.

If you’re curious, though (or maybe writing a book), these 15 people have spent time in a coma, and they’re ready and willing to tell you what it’s like!

15. There’s a gap in your memory.

I was in medically induced coma for about a week.

The coma itself is not much to talk about – there is just a gap in your memory, even from before it happened (I don’t even remember the accident that brought me there in the first place).

Waking up from it is much different story though. Since I was fully dosed by painkillers and sedatives and whatnot I was basically high as kite and since the trauma I suffered was very serious my brain constructed very stressful, vivid nightmares I remember to this day.

14. The memories are hazy and vague.

When I was in 5th grade I fell out of a tree and bonked my head pretty well. I woke up 3? days later in the hospital. For me, the experience is easily summarized in three parts:

1) When I fell, I blacked out before I hit the ground… or at least that is where memory fades. And “fades” is really the best word. It was as if my consciousness was drained away and then blackness and nothingness. It was as if my body knew how badly it was going to hurt and so it shut down.

2) I have very, very, very, vague memories while in the coma of hearing my Dad reading a book, or my Mom telling me that she knew I would pull through, or of a tube in my nose. But these were always super fuzzy moments and I never was conscious during them, it was more like a half second of being aware of one particular thing–the way the tube felt being taped against my arm and wishing I could reach out and move it–and then back into the nothingness. I think that I was somewhat aware of the fact that I was a little more aware each time that this happened but honestly I am not certain of even that much.

3) Waking up was sudden. So, so sudden. I was in blackness. Had a moment of awareness, like “my neck hurts” and then the pain was magnitudes higher. No longer a distant perception but something that I was actively conscious of. Waking up was the most painful moment of my life and I just started crying and then couldn’t even cry it hurt so bad. I think that had more to do with injuries sustained to my neck and head than the coma, but that is what it was like. After an hour my body was used to the pain and I was totally normal, albeit very weak, hungry, and thirsty.

I survived and am fine now without any lasting issues.

13. Fuzzy even after he woke up.

I was in a very short coma (6 days) after a brain hemorrhage. I recall nothing during the coma. I have a fuzzy understanding of my first week or two after waking up, having pieced it together by the stories I was told. And memories of the day (days?) leading up to it were temporarily wiped out, though they have since returned.

This was over a decade ago, so take this with a grain of salt. My memory in general is imperfect at best.

12. The longest scariest dream of his life.

In 2016 I was in a coma from March 31 to May 5, then half awake for another month after that.

It was like the longest scariest dream of my life. I was medically induced by a fentanyl drip for about a week at first and let me tell you, fentanyl is a demon. Whacky dreams about fighting corrupt hospital officials, so my brain new where I was.

They didn’t think I’d ever talk or walk again, but in the hospital bed I laughed at an episode of That 70s Show and inclined every day after. Putting me at about 85% health overall these days. But pretty much an average guy.

Oh it was a head injury, had a seizure in the bathroom that made me fall onto the sink.

11. Like visiting another realm.

Was hit by a car when i was 5years old. Ended up with toxic shock syndrome and went into a coma for 4 months. I just remember some very weird ‘dreams,’ which i can still recall vividly 26 years later. Someone mentioned something about visiting another realm, and thats pretty close to the mark.

10. It was more like a dream.

I had meningitis when i was 12, which got misdiagnosed for stomach flue and ended up with me being taken to the hospital last minute. The last memory i had was ‘falling asleep’ watching the emergency news on the Brussels airport attack. I later on had a sort of fever dream, which ended up to be true, about my parents driving me to tge ER saying ‘it’s ok’ over and over again. I couldn’t move or talk, so it seemed more like a dream than something that was actually happening. I saw the lights of the ER parking lot which made me close my eyes and after that it was like taking a nap. I had no awareness of time at all, it’s like going to sleep and just waking up what feels like a second later but it’s actually morning already. I woke up 6 days later, highly drugged but only gained consciousness the day after. My first ‘memory’ after waking up is opening my laptop in the hospital bed to play minecraft, i have no idea what happened or what i said when I woke up before that.

9. A dream that he couldn’t wake up from.

Not me, but my dad has described his coma after his car accident. He was pulled up a little too far at a stop sign, and a guy who was speeding and on his phone swerved off the road.

So he was in a coma for about two months. On my end, it wasn’t like the movies. He didn’t just wake up miraculously. It was two months of steady improvements. One eye opened, then a few days later his other eye was half open, then he could wiggle a toe, then he could move his fingers, etc.

On his end, he said he could hear bits and pieces of what was happening around him, but it was like a dream that he couldn’t wake up from. When me and my two younger siblings would come in and talk to him, his heart rate would go down. When a football game was on and his friends came to sit with him and watch it, the nurses made them turn it off once his team started losing because his heart rate blew up.

8. He woke up alone.

I can only compare it to when you’re little and wake up at a friends house and don’t know where you are. I was in a coma for 2 months after a bad car accident. It wasn’t medically induced, it was thanks to brain damage.

When I woke up I was alone in the hospital room and had no clue what happened or why I was there. I had a neck brace on due to a broken neck so I figured something was wrong with my neck but was unsure how or what happened.

For some reason I thought I was 60 years old (I was in my 20s). I was paranoid and scared, but didn’t know why I was there. I used context clues to figure out I was in the hospital. It was frightening. After about 5 minutes I decided to go back to sleep. 2 months of sleep wasn’t quite long enough.

7. It was a wild ride.

I know this will get buried but I’ll post my experience anyway. I went to the hospital with renal failure and a pulse ox reading of 32. I remember the nurse saying my pee looked like root beer and when she stabbed my arm to give me an IV all she said was “Uh oh…” My arm got really warm and my dad moved my head so I wouldn’t see how much blood was coming out. Next thing I know I’m in a hospital bed, tearing through the desert at 60+ MPH. Nothing but me and a hospital bed. No motor, nothing. Just cruising through the desert.

I’d see all sorts of weird things, most specifically was Ronald McDonald. I saw him all the time. Then my hospital bed would come to a screeching halt and I’d be in the living room of someone I knew. Gramdma, good friends, former coaches… basically any living room I had spent time in with someone I cared about. The weird thing was the living rooms were always three walled. One wall was missing and beyond that wall was a barren desert. We would talk for awhile about god knows what, then I’d be pulled back into the desert cruising at 60 mph again.

It happened over and over again. Sometimes the same living rooms would reappear, but almost all of them were unique. When I came out of the coma everyone kept commenting how good my hair looked. I couldn’t figure out why they kept saying that so I finally asked my mom how long I had been asleep. She said 13 days. And I had cards and flowers from all these people who’s living rooms I’d been visiting in my coma. It was surreal and I definitely can’t explain it. Especially since most of the cards came from people who weren’t allowed to visit me in intensive care and were sending well wishes in writing, not in person.

6. There were some pretty crazy dreams.

Reposting from another thread I talked about it:

2 weeks induced because of Swine Flu. During this time Oprah announced she was ending the Oprah Winfrey Show. I was very upset to learn this after the fact. Mostly because the tv running in my room + the drugs they gave me to keep me under gave the most cinematic dreams I’ve ever experienced – somehow the news of Oprah retiring filtered into my brain as dreaming about saving the whales with her in a submerged Chicago. We had champagne brunch. It was excellent. I was also a superhero who could fly and fought my enemies on the rims of volcanoes.

And then I woke up and not only could I not fly, but my buddy Oprah had betrayed me into retirement. I was crushed.

5. A long nap with super weird dreams.

Very peaceful, like a long nap but with occasional hallucinations (they used some meds to keep me in the coma for healing purposes). It didn’t get bad until they weaned the sedation. I didn’t know where I was and I had the WORST, most vivid hallucinations.

I hallucinated that my mother was trying to remove me from the ventilator, that I was being chased by a murderer, that the room was on fire, that the nurse was trying to kill me and my personal favorite- a robot that floated around like a drone dispensing free weed to all. I was extremely vocal (yelling after my breathing tube was removed) about what I called Weed Bot and was yelling about how great it smelled. (Turns out it was actually a lamp that bends like the lamp at the dentist).

I have no memory at all of the day before I ended up in a coma, which freaks me out as I had a good memory. You don’t wake up and return to normal. It takes intense work and I’m still not 100%. Relearning to stand was incredibly painful, as was learning to walk again. There was a loss of dignity which was embarrassing to me at the time. I was diagnosed with PTSD a few months after this event.

Sounds like the beeping of machines in medical shows put my mind right back in the ICU. Going through occasional procedures terrify me, since during my time in ICU so many people touched my body without explanation or my consent (I understand they had to do their job and I can’t consent while I’m comatose), but this happened even when I was awake.

I experienced a decline in memory, my hair fell out for months afterwards. On July 4th it will be 3 years (went into a coma on the 5th anniversary of my grandmother’s death in 2017). Sorry this is so long. I have never had the chance to speak about my experience, family doesn’t talk about it. But we are able to joke about the Weed Bot hallucinations, lol!

4. Like a really expensive power nap.

Got hit by a truck, I was in a coma for 4 days. It felt like a power nap but in the hospital.

I was worried when I woke up, I had no idea where or why I was.

3. The least refreshing nap ever.

I had a motorcycle wreck a few years ago. Someone texting blew a stop sign and 8 ended up t-boning them. Not sure if coma is the correct term, but I was definitely unconscious for two days, honestly just felt like the worst, least refreshing nap in the history of naps. Had the wreck on a Sunday, woke up sometime Tuesday afternoon/evening and asked if the bike was ok.

It wasn’t.

2. He doesn’t remember a thing.

I wasn’t in one for long (just under a week). While I was in the coma, I didn’t remember a thing. When I came out of it, I just remember hearing my mom yell to the attending “HE’S UP!”. Then I woke up with a bunch of white coats in the room. I was super stiff and incredibly confused.

Oddly enough, I kept having vivid dreams of myself in the coma after the fact. Still have them to this day. They’re almost like an out of body experience because I can see myself laying in the bed with people around me.

1. No idea any time had passed.

My wife was in a diabetic coma for 2 weeks when she was in elementary school. She knew her sugar was low, then all of a sudden she woke up in the hospital with absolutely no idea that any time had passed.

This is what I expected in some ways, but definitely not in others.

Which one of these posts surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!