I awoke very gradually. Up until December 17th, I have slight memories of scattered dream-like images some of which make sense and others which are completely off the wall. I didn’t have any questions as to what happened. The first thing I remember thinking was, “WOW, I almost died ”. I knew I was in a car wreck but that’s all. I didn’t know this was because of a drunk driver. Someone died but who? I was frightened that the person who had died was my roommate, Samantha. I knew she was in the car but I didn’t know who else was in the car with us or for that matter what kind of car we were in and I really didn’t care. In fact, I didn’t care about anything at that point. Things were very sketchy. It felt like I had been asleep with absolutely no sense of time.
My first form of communication was writing down any thoughts that came. The first thing I wrote was, “Someone died, right”? No one ever had to tell me that someone died. I think anyone in a coma can hear all that goes on around him or her on a subconscious level.
While I was in Oklahoma my aunt asked my friends what my favorite song was. They all replied, “Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart”. She bought me the tape and played it for me on my Walkman every day. After I came out of the coma I looked at the names of the other songs and I only knew one of them, Total Eclipse of the Heart. I decided to listen to the different songs that weren’t familiar to me to test myself and see if I could memorize them. I found out that I already knew every word to every one of those songs. I think this alone is proof enough that coma victims can hear things while they are comatose.
The doctor’s allowed me to go home for Christmas. This was a time for much heartache. My parents had to put me in the tub while mom had to bathe me and shave my legs. I couldn’t even dress myself or put on my own make-up.
After I had been communicating through writing for about two weeks I started talking to my family. Sara, my speech therapist, would try to get me to talk to them. My family would tell her I was talking but when she tried to get me to talk I would just turn my head and ignore her.
At this time I wanted to call a good friend of mine from Chicago. I told my mother and she said we’ve been gone for more than three years so we’ll have to look up Jane's phone number before you call her. I told them, “Call her now. The number is XXX-XXX-XXXX”. Jane was my best buddy at the phone stuck in the ear stage. Because of this I called her at least 2 million and five times and how could anyone forget a number that was dialed so much. Now I understand the extent of my memory loss. I remembered people but not events. I've lost some of the simple tasks I learned in school. In fact, I don't even remember what courses I took in college.
Because of my refusal to speak to her, Sara got a little annoyed. She raised her voice to me one day and said that if I didn’t say, “Hi Sara” when she returned from her vacation I would not be allowed to go to rehab. Rehab. is the rehabilitative section of the hospital. She said that she was the person who had to give the “ok” to let me get into rehab. I wanted to get well and the first step to achieving this was to get moved over to the rehabilitative part of the hospital When Sara walked in a week later I said, “Hi Sara, how are you”. Her lecture worked and later that day I was moved to rehab.
Rehab had a college dorm-like atmosphere. It was three stories high with rooms on the second and third floors. It had a gym with mats in it for physical therapy on the first floor, a room for occupational therapy plus many other rooms for all different kinds of therapy. My room was on the second floor and nurses and therapists surrounded me so it was a far cry from a home like atmosphere. I was not alone during the day though, my radio was right there by my side. A woman named Madonna was on every station I listened to. I wondered who Madonna was because it seemed like she arrived on the scene in just one day. That forced me to wake up and truly believe that I had been asleep for three months.