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September 15, 2010

The Saturday before I left for London, I went to the hospital, like everyone else, to say a final good-bye. The results of the scan had come through, revealing the awful news that the brain was not working on any level. My friend was in a vegetative state and unlikely ever to emerge from the coma.

It was, according to the doctors, game over. All that remained was to wait for his (estranged) mother to come to France to sign the necessary papers to turn off the life support (despite my earlier blog, his heart was still reliant on a machine and he was being given supplementary oxygen.)

On Sunday evening, the night before I left for London, my instincts told me to go to the hospital one more time. Even if my friend was unable to register the fact I was there, I couldn't bear the idea of him hovering between life and death alone.

The nurse that greeted me bore a sad air of resignation, as if we both knew that my visit was pointless. There seemed to have been a psychological shift - a real sense that the medical staff had given up: the X-rays which had been pinned on the wall outside his room had been taken down and the medical dossier, both figuratively and literally speaking, had been closed.

'Listen,' I said, as I stood beside his bed. 'I've come to tell you that they are about to switch off the machines. If you want to live, you had better do something. And fast. You need to give them a sign that you want to live.'

The following day I went to London, certain that there was nothing else anyone could do and that the worst would have happened by the time I got back.

But I should have had more faith in him. On Saturday, against all odds - and while still waiting for his mother to arrive - he emerged from the coma, pulling out the various tubes himself. Even more astonishingly, given the results of the scan, he has also managed to speak - though only a few words so far - and is able to recognise his friends. Just as I predicted, he has surprised us all.

The signs are that he wants to live. One has to be realistic - he can’t move anything other than his hands and the prognosis is still not good- but given the hopelessness of the situation just a week ago, it honestly feels like a miracle.

That bleak Saturday I could never have imagined that one week later he would not only still be in this world but would have emerged so dramatically from the coma. That’s the amazing thing about life: you really don’t know what’s going to happen next.

comments (12)

1. Posted by Ray-D on September 16, 2010 12:06 AM

That's excellent news Karen. The power and complexity of the human brain is really amazing and even the medical experts can't fully comprehend how it functions. Your friend seems to be a strong fighter and I hope he continues to recover further.

Best wishes to you both.


2. Posted by Carole on September 16, 2010 1:39 AM

I just found your blog, and even though I don't know you, I'm thrilled for you.
I think your friend heard you!

3. Posted by Diana on September 16, 2010 9:53 AM

What can you say? Incredible and a lovely start to my day hearing your good news.

Wishing your friend the strength to keep battling day by day.


4. Posted by Loraine on September 16, 2010 10:46 AM

What wonderful news. Just what we've been waiting for. Sounding very positive at last for you and your dear friend and may it continue.

5. Posted by Tricia Stanley on September 16, 2010 2:19 PM

I'm crying as I read this (makes if difficult to read the screen) - how incredible & how wonderful. Ray-D is right, the brain is a complex previous organ & I think the medical profession have a ways to go before they truly understand its complexities, but Sometimes Miracles do happen. Pleeeese keep us posted on the progress of your friend.


6. Posted by Vanessa@Luxuria on September 16, 2010 4:52 PM

Karen, did I not say in my first comment on this issue to believe in miracles and never give up?
OK so he can only move his hands, but that's how it all starts. I am SO pleased for you. It's onwards and upwards now.

7. Posted by sherry on September 18, 2010 7:21 PM

I'm overwhelmed by what I've just read. I've been thinking about your friend so much recently and sit writing this with a lump in my throat, having had a good cry. He has already shown what a fighter he is and I shall continue to pray for his recovery. Wonderful news.

8. Posted by Angela Wilson on September 19, 2010 8:55 AM

Karen I am so happy for you both, yes I continue to believe that miracles do happen, this news has made my day,
Take care, both of you.

9. Posted by flittersniffer on September 21, 2010 8:45 PM

What a remarkable and uplifting story - I hope he continues to rally against the odds.

10. Posted by Gwenda on September 22, 2010 10:51 PM

just back from holiday and have read the brilliant news of your friend coming out of coma - as I have said, - don't ever give up - hope by now he is able to do a little bit more

11. Posted by Samantha Verant on September 29, 2010 2:13 PM

All I can say is WOW! WoW!

12. Posted by Mazzin on December 12, 2010 9:58 PM

What a wonderful and inspiring story.

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