25 Apr 19
The Scottish Sun
SHE spent 27 years unconscious before waking up — and incredibly, Munira Abdulla is just one coma victim who has experienced a miracle recovery.
The mum was in a car crash in the United Arab Emirates in 1991 that left her in what doctors considered a permanent vegetative state.
Earlier this week Munira Abdulla woke after spending 27 years in a coma
But this week it was revealed that she woke up and said “Omar” — the name of her son who survived the accident.
Munira’s amazing turnaround has left people pondering what it feels like to emerge from a coma — and how it can seem the world has totally changed.
EMMA PIETRAS and BELLA BATTLE speak to survivors who came back against all odds.
‘When I woke up I thought Princess Diana was still alive’
Candace Emptage, 45, six weeks in coma
Candace Emptage spent six weeks in a coma after being involved in a car accident
WHEN Candace Emptage emerged from a six-week coma in 2010, she thought it was the 1990s.
She had no idea who her daughter was, didn’t know her parents had divorced several years earlier and had no memory of Princess Diana dying.
Candace was 36 when she lost control of her car after swerving to avoid an animal and crashed into an ambulance.
Miraculously, the former model didn’t break any bones due to having hypermobility – a condition that makes joints more flexible.
But the accident left her with a traumatic brain injury and in a coma.
Candace had to learn how to walk and talk again after suffering a traumatic brain injury
While in Newcastle General Hospital, she was able to hear what the doctors were saying yet was unable to react in any way.
Candace, from Co Durham, says: “My parents have been shocked by what I say I heard because I could have heard those things only from the coma.
“The consultants were talking over my bed about my outcome and medication. I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t move my body or talk but I could hear.”
Candace’s family had gathered around her to say goodbye as doctors prepared to switch off her life support machine. Then she suddenly moved her finger.
Cadace, a former model, didn’t break any bones due to having hypermobility – a condition that makes joints more flexible
But Candace says: “You don’t just come out of a coma like people think. It took months for me.
“At first I didn’t remember I had a daughter and when I saw her I asked, ‘Who is that?’
“She was 13 and you can imagine how that destroyed her.”
Candace thought she was 22 and the Spice Girls still topped the charts.
Candace and her daughter Maddi, who was 13 when she had her accident
Candace had to be told about Princess Diana’s death
She says: “I didn’t know Michael Jackson or Princess Diana had died. Maddi, my daughter, told me how Diana died. It was really upsetting.
“I thought my parents were still married but they had divorced about 15 years earlier. The first time I heard it I was like a kid.”
Single Candace cannot work due to her brain injury but has learned to walk and talk again.
‘I felt scared. I had no idea of my age. I didn’t know if I was ten or 100’
Jack Martindale, 30, three months
Jack Martindale, 30, spent three months in a coma after a hit-and-run
WHILE celebrating New Year’s Eve with pals, 21-year-old Jack Martindale was mowed down by a speeding car in a hit-and-run that shattered his skull in 30 places.
Jack says: “When I came out of my coma after three months and saw Mum and Dad, I thought they were too young to be my parents. I had no idea of my age and didn’t know if I was ten or 100.
“I felt scared not being able to remember stretches of my past and I had no idea what type of person I was.
“That information was filled in by friends, family and social media.
“I found out I’d missed my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary and completing my final term at York uni.”
Jack had no idea what age he was when he emerged from his coma
His girlfriend Chelsea Cannon, 19, and pal Carrie Maclaren, 20, died as a result of the 2010 crash. Sam Gellor, 21, and Tom Williams, 20, were injured but survived.
Jack says: “Tom and Sam came to visit me often, then eventually I realised I hadn’t seen Chelsea and Carrie.
“I was told Carrie had died at the scene and Chelsea had spent three months in a coma like me. But instead of waking up, she died.”
Jack relearned how to walk, talk and eat as part of his miracle recovery. Despite his speech and coordination still being impaired, he has written two books about his experience and trained as a bereavement therapist.
Shamail Ali Syed, whose car hit Jack, was jailed for seven years for causing death by dangerous driving.
[boxout headline=”Facts and figures”]
American Elaine Esposito holds the Guinness World Record for the longest coma – 37 years
The Glasgow Coma Sacle assesses 3 things – eye opening, verbal response to command and voluntary movements in response to a command
Touch, hearing, vision and smell can help someone recover
The longer someone is in a coma, the more likely they are to stay in a vegetative state or die
Patients whose eyes open within six hours of falling into a coma have a one in five chance of recovery
‘I didn’t know a word of French but when I woke up I could speak it fluently’
Rory Curtis, 29, two weeks
Rory Curtis woke up from a two week coma speaking French fluently
TRAINEE health and safety officer Rory Curtis woke up from a coma thinking he looked like actor Matthew McConaughey – and speaking fluent French.
He had been driving his work’s van when it collided with a lorry and was involved in a pile-up.
Rory, who was 23 at the time of the 2012 crash, suffered a brain haemorrhage and had to be airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he spent two weeks in a coma.
The injury triggered a condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome.
Rory was driving his work’s van when it collided with a lorry
Rory says: “I can’t speak a word of French but when I woke up I was talking to a French nurse in her native tongue.
“My dad later found out our family came from Normandy, which is spooky. I thought I looked like Matthew McConaughey.
“I was in shock when I looked in the mirror and realised that I looked nothing like him.
“I had a urinal bottle and I kept calling it my financial adviser. So whenever I needed the loo, I’d say, ‘I need my financial adviser’.”
Rory’s brain injury triggered a condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome
Rory, who lives in Bromsgrove, Worcs, with fiancee Faith Murphy, 24, says things “clicked in his head” after a few days but he still had trouble with his words.
He has retrained as a barber and is about to open his own shop, Charlie Parker’s.
Rory says: “The accident made me reassess everything. Life is short and you should follow your dreams.”
‘I thought it was 1999 and I was 14. My parents had to show me newspapers’
Lisa Russell, 33, three weeks
Lisa Russell with a broken pelvis, ruptured spleen, punctured lung and a severe brain injury after a car accident
IN 2005, a car accident left Lisa Russell with a broken pelvis, ruptured spleen, punctured lung and a severe brain injury.
The 19-year-old died twice in the ambulance on the way to hospital when her heart stopped. She wasn’t expected to survive and spent three weeks in a coma.
Lisa, from Cardiff, says: “Months before I had my accident, a close friend also had a car crash but he died.
“I’ve got a memory of seeing him at the end of my bed trying to shake me as if to tell me to pull through. It’s very spooky.
Lisa died twice in the ambulance on the way to hospital and spent three weeks in a coma
“I have no memory of waking up from the coma but I didn’t recognise my boyfriend or my mum. I mistook Mum for our next-door neighbour.
“I thought I was 14 and it was 1999. The Millennium hadn’t happened yet and when they told me I thought they were lying.
“My family had to show me newspapers and calendars. The doctors think the trauma made my brain go to a point in my life when I was happy.”
Lisa, who has been supported in her recovery by brain injury charity Headway, was in hospital for three months.
Lisa didn’t even recognise her mum when she woke up from her coma
She says: “I had to learn to do everything again like a new baby.
“It was frustrating, especially when words weren’t coming out properly.”
She later split with her boyfriend and has been with her new partner Luke Rees, 36, for three years.
She is unable to work due to her brain injury leaving her fatigued, but volunteers with her local Headway branch.
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‘Mum explained I was likely to never walk again – and I was pregnant’
Gemma Holmes, 32, two months
Gemma Holmes spent two months in a coma and woke up to find out she was pregnant
PREGNANT Gemma Holmes woke from her coma and had no idea she was expecting – or who her baby’s father was.
She had been unconscious after she crashed her moped and was flung across a busy road into a lamp post, leaving her with a broken back.
Gemma, 32, from Trowbridge, Wilts, says: “When I woke up in hospital after eight weeks I was so confused.
“Mum explained to me that I’d completely smashed my body up, I was likely to never walk again – and I was three months pregnant.”
Gemma crashed her moped and was knocked unconscious and left with a broken back
Gemma’s period was due at the time of the accident but as she hadn’t missed it, she was oblivious.
After coming round, she was unable to talk.
She says: “I began to understand what I had been through.
“I felt sad that I’d missed out on finding out I was pregnant in the conventional way.
Gemma found out she was three months pregnant with son Reuben after waking from her coma
“I hadn’t had a missed period, had any morning sickness or taken a pregnancy test and waited for the result like most mums-to-be.
“And I had lost all memory of the last three years of my life – so I couldn’t remember anything of the father of my unborn child as we hadn’t been in a long-term relationship.”
Gemma, who uses a walking frame, came out of hospital in December 2012 and gave birth to son Reuben two weeks early in May the following year.
She says: “When he arrived I felt an overwhelming love for him.”
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