Brenda did hear and felt me and her friends in a coma in her last 24 hours
Before I went to see Brenda, my doctor brother Andrew told me that Brenda could hear me even if she was in a coma. I had took the first flight out from Kuala Lumpur when I heard that Brenda was in Ruttonjee Hospital ICU.It was longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice in Hong Kong – 22 December 2013.
Below is an excerpt of the incredible account of Colleen Alexander
who spent 5 weeks in a coma:
Now, if you’ve never been in a coma, I’m going to guess that you think they look like the ones on television: The person is just totally “out,” no signs of awareness. That happens in the rarest of cases. Usually, comas are more like twilight states — hazy, dreamlike things where you don’t have fully formed thoughts or experiences, but you still feel pain and form memories that your brain invents to try to make sense of what’s happening to you.
I remember being fully awake but unable to focus on anything; I could feel hands touching my head and comforting me, but I couldn’t move. I heard beeping, dinging, and ticking; I could feel my lungs expand and contract, but had no control over what was happening.
Certain voices were soothing. When my husband would be in the room, I could hear him, but I couldn’t understand his words.
I remember being wheeled down hallways multiple times and seeing a bright runway of lights above me. I recall feeling the temperature changing in the halls and operating room with the temperature on my skin and even feeling the little hairs on my cheek move.
Sometimes I would fall into a dream/sleep and think I was in a tropical climate; I would long for any sort of water to drink, and felt hot. I recall various places that I “went” through those weeks. Some were filled with family and friends who have died, and were as clear as if I was walking with them in the present. I could feel the grass, the sunshine and their hugs.
When the nightmares became dark, I would think I was being brutally assaulted over and over as I cried for mercy. Most of my PTSD from the trauma was not from the actual act of getting run over and remembering every vivid detail; it was from being locked in my body day in and day out, not knowing what was real and what was a dream.
To this day, I often depersonalize and question the present. I gaze upon my hands and wonder if they are really moving and I am truly alive.
What began to pull me through was a speech I’d heard by Nobel Prize laureate Jody Williams. In it, she said, “Emotion without action is irrelevant.”
All this emotion wasted feeling miserable and sorry for myself needed a direction. I could sit there wallowing in the pain or I could do something to improve my mental health, even while there was nothing I could do about the physical side of things. The direction I found was gratitude.
I thought about all those people who had saved my life on the day of my trauma — and the ones who had plotted to save my life before it was even in peril. I had needed 78 units of blood and plasma from more than 150 donors.
It suddenly felt very real to me that I had the lifeblood of countless people running through my veins. I felt a responsibility to do something positive to honor these many, everyday heroes who’d saved me.
I’m out there in this world doing the things I love, challenging myself and showing my gratitude every chance I get.
We can’t control life’s unexpected twists, only our reactions to them. Finding gratitude in the midst of even the toughest times is a gift from the heart, both for the sender and receiver. Sometimes a small shift in perspective can change the course of your life.
Adapted from “Gratitude in Motion: A True Story of Hope, Determination, and the Everyday Heroes Around Us” by Colleen Kelly Alexander. Copyright © 2018 by Colleen Kelly Alexander.
Published: 6th May 2020.
Proof that Brenda José did hear and feel me in a coma on her last day