Posted on January 27, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 5 of 32 in the series Kelly

Coming Out of Coma: Kelly Part Five

Kelly talks about coming out of coma and her first memories. She talks about how she didn’t appreciate being prodded by the nurse and didn’t want to be poked anymore.

Let’s go back now to what happened in your injury.  So you have, your first memories of coming out of coma are of basically getting the nurse’s attention –  by telling her you didn’t like to be poked anymore?

That was the best way to describe it.  As I was saying, I was telling someone the other day there’s a web site called or .org and it’s a site where other people are having trauma.  There was one fellow down in Chattanooga, Tennessee right now at Siskin Rehab Center who had a car accident recently.  He’s still in a coma at this moment, but he’s blinking and he’s just doing the standard things of trying to come out.

They keep posting updates and they said, one of the updates was describe how, how it, you could tell if someone’s coming out of a coma.  I said well as they’re in the coma, they’re in what we call their safety zone.  I said there’s no harm, no recrimination, nothing to bother you for, for being there.  But the nurses will prod you and poke you and people will aggravate you to death and the only way to get out of it is to wake up and say leave me alone.

So you were basically waking up to be left alone?

Yes, uh huh.    So I could just tell somebody, leave me alone.

Once you were coming out of coma they don’t leave you alone though, do they?

Pretty much, but they don’t leave alone as to let you go back into your safe zone but they leave you alone except for the therapies that you need to get better.

You are coming out of coma, let’s say it’s four weeks after, after injury.  Tell me the process you go through from this point.

Well I remember, I kind of remember waking up and my mother was sitting at my bedside.  And of course I wanted to who all knows where and if I’m, where I am because I have a job, I have a car payment.  You know, you have responsibilities and so if you’re just back in a hospital you want to know where you are so.

I couldn’t talk because of the tracheotomy in my throat, so I turned to her and I, like I pointed at it, what is this thing, and she says that’s your breathing tube.  And I says does Pam know? Pam was my roommate, and she says yes, she does. Then another therapist would come, a therapist came in after that and offered me a breathing treatment, because they were trying to get me off of the trach.

You were in ICU when coming out of coma and the the gun thing happens?

No, they had moved me by, when I, they had moved me out of ICU after, uh, I want to say three weeks.  They had me in, I can’t think of it, but it was non‑intensive ICU. It was a step-down ward, mm hmm.

Then as you begin to regain functioning after coming out of coma where do they take you?

They just left me there and had me doing the therapies there.

This is still in Brackenridge?

Uh huh.  They had, they had me working on balance sitting on these big red balls.  To this day I hate red balls.  I would sit there and try to, you know, get my balance and make sure that I wasn’t off center – that I didn’t favor one side or the other.  (As) the injury was right side it refers non-movement and problems to the opposite side.   So my left side was impacted as, as far as fine mo, fine mo, movement motor skills.

Next in Part Six – Nature of Physical Disability Secondary to Brain Injury

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447