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MRevelle83
12-29-2010, 03:29 AM
I'm sure the questions of comas have come up before, but I have a question on a certain situation that I cannot find any information on.

In my story, the protagonist entered a coma at a young age (8? 9?) and awoke years later (20+, maybe, but teenage years may work well enough). Essentially I want to explore how someone can adapt to life in this situation. I think you can guess what I mean (notice, for instance, I specifically aim for the protagonist to go from prepubescence to adulthood and dealing with the psychological repercussion).

Details are sparse beyond that, I am just looking for if there is any information on that. Or does anyone know a site I can go to get better information on this?

sheadakota
12-29-2010, 03:43 AM
what was the cause of the coma? I think your protag is going to have a lot more to worry about than the psychological trauma of being on a coma for that amount of time-
His/her body will have atrophied- muscles not used will shrink and cause the limbs to curl in towards the body called contraction. unless periodioc surgeries were done over the years to release tendons and ligaments this will most likely be a permanent condition. so your MC will be wheel chair bound most likely.
It is also highly unlikely that the brain- even if it was not physically damaged will not be affected. at the age of 8 or 9, the brain is not fully developed and with your MC in a coma at tjhat age, that develpoment will become retarded. In all likelyhood, your MC will not be able to speak, feed themsevles of take care of themselves in anyway. They will have had a gastric feeding tube placed early on to feed them. They will not be able to speak or will probably not be able to communicate in any way.

Long term comas are not something people usually wake from with out devastating results.

Sorry to be such a bummer, :(

MRevelle83
12-29-2010, 03:52 AM
No need to feel sorry for being a bummer. I actually kind of suspected this as I was aware of the results of long term comas, but refrained from saying so as, really, I am obviously no expert.

As I said though the age is flexible. Maybe 10/11 years old entering, mid teens after or something? 1 - 3 years or so? Would that length produce the same trauma?

And even so, your information changes- but doesn't discourage- me from wanting to write this. If the 'protagonist' is to the point that he/she suffers from those results, the POV may come from a sibling or parents.

And thanks again- while the 'psychological' aspect was the drive, it is meaningless if it is unbelievable.

EDIT- Cause is not yet known. I'm just mainly wondering, mostly, what the effects of a coma are after awaking for a long period of time, especially on a child.

Karen Junker
12-29-2010, 03:57 AM
I was 21 when I was in a car wreck and suffered a head injury -- was in a coma for a few weeks. When I came to, I couldn't walk, talk or see. Over the next few months, my faculties returned, but I had to re-learn to speak English. I have severe memory issues still. PM me if you would like to chat more.

MRevelle83
12-29-2010, 04:30 AM
At some point I may PM you, but as of right now there isn't much I can ask. I am barely out of the whole 'brainstorming' phase, and right now I cannot really ask any question beyond the effects after waking up from a coma. Which you answered all ready, so thanks.

Right now I can say I am leaning to going into a coma at 10, waking up at 14, and how friends and family deals with all of this. I am all ready working on how this will come out, as both of your posts have set into motion how I am going about this.

I will let you know in this topic later if I have any more questions.

Jamesaritchie
12-29-2010, 06:28 PM
I was in a coma for a matter of days, and it took six months to recover. People have recovered completely from comas of nearly twenty years, or even a bit longer. Much depends on the care the coma patient receives. Top quality care means they do everything possible to keep your body, including the joints and muscles, from atrophying.

This can be done with physical therapy, and with electronic stimulation of the muscles, just as many body builders do.

shadowwalker
12-29-2010, 07:10 PM
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/coma/coma.htm

They list several organizations which you could contact for information.

PrincessofPersia
12-29-2010, 07:13 PM
As others have said, even "short" comas take months or years to recover from. The longer a patient remains in a coma, the less likely they are to come out of it and the higher the chances of permanent severe disability. I remember they had a special on the Discovery Channel on a man who came out of a coma of several years. He couldn't walk, he could barely speak. And he was ahead of most people according to the physicians.

PeterL
12-29-2010, 08:45 PM
Your basic idea may be good, but you'll have to be careful about how to handle it. As I understand it, the length of a coma and the condition of the person at the end depend, to a large degree, on the cause of the coma and how much damage was caused. If the coma was caused by brain damage, then the severity of the brain damage will determine the severity of the coma.

I just started a little search and found this site that might help you:
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/sym/coma.htm

rainsmom
12-29-2010, 11:00 PM
As far as brain development, the largest period of post-birth development occurs between 1 and 3. The second largest occurs between (roughly) 14 and 25. Teenagers go through MASSIVE brain development.

I know little about comas, but since it's a period where the brain is almost totally inactive, I'd be shocked if the age-related brain development occurred.

Rather than a comma, you might write a story about someone who was locked away from the world -- no social interaction, no TV, NOTHING -- for the period of time you describe.

Gretad08
12-29-2010, 11:16 PM
I read your thread title and thought you'd mis-spelled comma. LOL, I'm really in writing mode today.

Sorry, no answer for ya, but just had to share that.

MRevelle83
12-30-2010, 02:16 AM
I appreciate all of this information, and I'll visit those links soon.

However, I have been mulling over other possibilities. Which leads me to this post...


Rather than a comma, you might write a story about someone who was locked away from the world -- no social interaction, no TV, NOTHING -- for the period of time you describe.

... which reminded me that I had done some research before on both PSV and locked-in syndrome. (And yes, I have all ready found information on the effects of children.)

Whether it will be the protagonist in this position I don't know, but I am leaning closer to the locked-in syndrome right now.

To close this post, I shall go a bit off-topic for a minute. I have to say that I have creeped myself out on wanting to find something like this for a child protagonist. Just had to say that.

Linda Adams
12-30-2010, 03:12 AM
I appreciate all of this information, and I'll visit those links soon.

However, I have been mulling over other possibilities. Which leads me to this post...

... which reminded me that I had done some research before on both PSV and locked-in syndrome. (And yes, I have all ready found information on the effects of children.)

Whether it will be the protagonist in this position I don't know, but I am leaning closer to the locked-in syndrome right now.

To close this post, I shall go a bit off-topic for a minute. I have to say that I have creeped myself out on wanting to find something like this for a child protagonist. Just had to say that.

If you're interested, there is a novel that works this issue, though I won't give any more details away. The book's called Still Life with Crows (http://www.prestonchild.com/books/stilllife/). It is a bit horrifying though ...