They say when we come up against a near-fatal incident, our lives often flash before our eyes. In reality, though, something much different can happen—we can black out the disturbing event entirely and, if we’re lucky enough to survive, wake up in the hospital the next day, week, or even month without understanding what’s going on.
These Redditors experienced that terrifying moment…and now they explain what brought them there.
1. No Privacy When Your Memory is an Open Door
I was in a coma for two and a half months in 2015 when I was 27, following a serious car accident. When I woke up, I still had a tracheotomy and couldn’t speak. I don’t remember a darn thing from the time I was in a coma, but what blew my mind is when I woke up, my new boyfriend at the time was standing there with my parents.
They were chatting to each other like they knew each other. I am a super private and had made every effort for them to not even know of him, so I found this disturbing. I also had no recollection of the accident for months and for a week or two after waking up I had to be retold where I was and what had happened every time I dozed off and woke up.
I had no idea where I was and I thought I was 23, not 27, over a period of months. I also had a really hard time recognizing faces. Like I would see people I knew that I knew but I couldn’t remember why or their names or anything, they would just look familiar. One time, about a month after I had woken up, my parents took me in my hospital bed for a walk in the courtyard of the hospital.
We passed a large mirror in the lobby and I freaked out. I saw my reflection and I knew it was me because I recognized my parents pushing the bed, but I didn’t recognize my own face. There were no injuries to my face or anything, I just didn’t recognize myself. It also blew my mind that I had gone into the coma in late winter, and there was quite a bit of snow on the ground.
When I woke up it was spring, and there was no snow (I had a large window in my hospital room). The news that shocked me the most was the fact that my parents had gone in and packed up my entire apartment. Like I mentioned, I was super private and the idea that they went in there and boxed up all my stuff and gave up my lease was hard to grasp. Obviously, it made sense, but I was troubled by it all.
2. Close Call
I woke up in hospital and was completely surprised with the results. I went in for a stomach operation, woke up and said, “Oh, huh, it doesn't hurt that bad.” My surgeon, mother, anesthesiologist, and two nurses all looked super awkward, and then told me the horrible truth. They told me, “Well…We didn't do the surgery. You had an allergic reaction to one of the medicine given to you in the anaesthetic process and flat-lined. We spent 40 minutes stabilizing you.”
I was absolutely in awe. I then felt fine until I started to get clammy, then my BP went to 40/20 again and I passed out. I spent four days in the ICU, and a week in total in hospital. When I went back in for the surgery, I think there were six anesthesiologists on hand just in case it wasn't an actual allergy. There may have been eight, but there were definitely at least six on hand at all times.
I'm very lucky I found out while I was in surgery, because if I'd been put on the same antibiotics again for anything similar, I may have just been a goner. I take my tablets at night, by my bed, so that's what's scariest for me. I haven't been on any new medication since, but if I am I'll be taking it before dinner and with my mother/friends either with me or on the other end of a Skype call.
3. Out Of The Darkness
My wife, two-year-old son, and myself went to visit a couple of friends out in the country. We had some food, and I had a couple of drinks myself. All in all, we had an amazing time. My wife was sober, and I was wrangling my young one back into his car seat to go home, because he was overtired and unhappy but made sure he was good and snug.
We pulled out of the driveway after waving goodbye to our friends. I came to almost a month and a half later. I could barely move my legs and arms due to neuropathy and fatigue. I had a feeding tube up my nose and a colostomy bag. The doctors told me that I had actually come to a couple days before while I was still in intensive care, but the nature of the anaesthetic they had me on meant I kept kind of waking up, fading back, and forgetting everything.
At this point I was able to remember things normally. They told me right off the bat my son was fine; completely unharmed and in the care of a very old and dear friend with three kids of his own already. My wife was alive and relatively uninjured, with the exception of some damage to her leg and a moderate brain injury that she would recover from slowly.
They kept the details about the accident from me for a few weeks while I was recovering, but basically my wife missed a stop sign in the middle of a dark, poorly marked country road and we got T-boned by an SUV. The other driver was fine. It’s been over two years since the accident. I got the strength back to walk again, but because of pins/bolts/plates in my left ankle and shin, I'll never likely be able to run again.
The neuropathy in my legs wore off, and eventually wore off in my arms to the point where I can use them normally again, but it was a lot of therapy, retraining, and time. I also suffered PTSD about 10 months after by the time I was back at home. From time to time, I still have nightmares about something that I don't technically have the ability to remember.
4. Mind Games
My brother and I were outside playing with squirt guns when I was around 11 years old. Next thing I know it's Easter Sunday, and I was in a hospital bed with a massive headache and blurred vision. The last thing I remembered was four days ago. Apparently I fell backwards and smacked my dome on the curb hard enough to fracture my skull and bruise my brain.
I got two weeks off of school, which was cool back then, and I've had to wear glasses ever since. Apparently, according to my mom, the first sign of consciousness in the hospital was me getting out of bed, trying to pee on the floor, and then going back to sleep for two more days after that. The whole thing was a weird experience.
5. Got Your Back
I cut a guy off one night while bartending in college. He wasn't too happy, grabbed a bottle, and chucked it at the back of my head as I turned around. I woke up in a hospital bed with my best regular and his wife assuring me I'd be ok and the guy wouldn't “be a problem.” Super reassuring…other than the fact this was a pretty unsavory biker bar and the regulars, though amazingly kind and loyal to me, weren't the most savory human beings either.
38 stitches, a partially shaved head, and three days later I was at lunch with the same regulars.
6. Go Ahead And Jump
I was riding my young horse-in-training to jump. We rode up to our first three-foot jump. He stopped, so I started preparing to turn him around and try again. He then reared up and hurled himself over the jump, right when I was completely unprepared for him to jump. I fell off at the apex of the jump. That's all I remember from that day.
Apparently I took his saddle off, hosed him down, and drove myself home. Next thing I remember, I was being wheeled in for a CAT scan. I broke my back—this wasn't discovered until MUCH later since I was still mobile—and fractured my skull. My helmet was in three pieces. I still own this horse. He's 22 now and we still ride. Just...no jumping.
7. Hard Reset
"Where am I?" "The hospital. You were airlifted here. Your family's in the next room. You had a car crash." "Give it to me straight, Doc: How disfigured am I?" "Oh, you're not; you're messed up, but still have all your parts." My family comes in and the doctor leaves. "The doctor won't tell me: How messed up am I? Paralyzed? Lose a leg?"
"Neither." "Don't lie to me. I can't feel my legs." "You have an epidural, idiot, and you've also been out of your skull on morphine for the past few days." "How could you tell? I just woke up?" "You've always been conscious. High as a kite, but conscious." "...Oh. Okay, then. Naptime." I sleep, then wake up upon next doctor check-in. "Where am I?" Repeat this for nine days or so, then I finally start retaining memories again.
8. Ruined Forever
18-year-old me got super inebriated on Smirnoff Watermelon at some little club in Clearwater, Florida. Apparently I fell off of a tall barstool and busted my head. When I woke up, I wasn't even sure what state I was in. I accidentally called my friend's mom in North Dakota trying to get a ride to somewhere other than the hospital. A decade later and I still can't drink anything with that watermelon flavor.
9. We All Have That One Friend
I was at a party with a friend in some college town. The street we were on had these three-story apartments built side by side. The whole street was partying, even on the roofs. We got separated and it was time to go, since we don't actually live in that town. Anyways, I see an ambulance going down the street, and just knew why it was there.
It just had to be for my stupid roommate. So I follow the ambulance and sure enough, he was laying on the ground, barely conscious. He tried to jump from one building to the next and didn't even come close. Luckily for him, his head broke the fall. A few weeks later, he finally asked…"Oh yeah, hey man, that night we went to Lawrence and I woke up in the hospital, what happened?"
He did get a concussion. He was fully unconscious for a couple minutes and everybody thought he was gone. They said he was laying there with his eyes open, unresponsive. It wasn't until someone dumped a bottle of water on him that he was roused into a semiconscious state. Other than having chronic headaches for a month, he was fine.
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10. It Gets Better
Taking my life attempt. I was really, really not expecting to survive. I had done my homework and my mother had enough of the right combination of pain medications to stop the heart of a small elephant, and then I woke up. Everything was hazy, and I had a catheter, but I don't really remember anything until I got to the mental hospital. That was five years ago, I'm better now.
11. Gone In 60 Seconds
I hopped into the back of my friend’s pickup after a rugby game, went to sleep, and woke up in ICU with no feeling from my waist down. Turns out we had a head-on collision with a tipsy driver and I went through the back of the cab, picking up a host of broken body parts including four compressed vertebrae. A year and a number of surgeries later, I walked out of hospital. But there was a heartbreakingly high cost.
I was an inch shorter and with enough metal in me to set off metal detectors as airports. And I was the lucky one: The other three guys in the truck never woke up afterwards. 20 years later and it still gets me. The accident happened in Zimbabwe, where I grew up. I've travelled a fair bit since then but am now a bona fide Kiwi. I didn't find out about the others for a while.
Aside from being zonked on pain medications, I don't think I was capable of understanding what had happened. Visitation was restricted in the ICU to my folks but the day after I was moved out, most of the two senior teams and some of the staff pitched up to tell me the nasty truth. The tiny ward was crammed with big, burly, ugly people crying their hearts out and I loved every one of them for it.
Here's a thought from an old guy with a messed up body, who walks with a constant limp, has tried every relief option for the daily thrum of pain, who has had two decades of survivor’s guilt, and who knows firsthand the debris that is left behind when someone is tragically and unceremoniously yanked from life, their family and their friends: If you're not 100% in control, don't put the key in the ignition.
Don't put yourself in harm's way, and don't risk messing up someone else's life. Call a cab, take a bus, walk, but for Chrissake, don't drive.
12. Turning Up The Heat
I was running a half marathon with a friend and we had just passed the 10 mile mark. At that point, I felt like I was getting into a groove after I struggled a bit with the previous few miles. Well, I woke up the next day in the ICU with my family all around me. I got heat stroke and rhabdomiliosis. I was admitted with a temperature of 108.6, and they were telling my family to prepare for the worst.
I had to stay in the hospital for a few days and then take it easy for a few months, but otherwise came out unscathed. Don't recommend it.
13. Worst Case Scenario
I woke up in the hospital with my roommate and her mom asleep in the chairs in the hospital room. I started freaking out because I was seven months pregnant and my pregnant belly was obviously not pregnant. My screaming woke them up, and it was even worse than I could have imagined. My fiancé and I had been in a crash.
My fiancé didn’t make it and I lost the baby. I had been in a coma for three days. I now have some really gnarly scars that my kids like to make up crazy stories about. My favorite being the time I fought off three sharp tool holding, psychotic carnies and destroyed them with my bare hands.
14. On The Run
I woke up in the hospital. They doctors told me I'd been in a catastrophic motorcycle accident, had suffered extensive injuries to my entire body and had been in a medically induced coma for five weeks. I lost any memory of the event, or the week prior to it. I was hit by some unrepentant doucheburgers who were out on parole (repeat offenders), and decided it would be a good idea to assault a 7-11 clerk, rob the store, and lead the authorities on a 30-minute chase at excess speeds.
Their joy ride ended when they went the wrong way on the freeway and took my on-ramp going 70 mph against traffic and slammed into me at a net speed of 120mph. We know all this from the report. I never had a chance since the on-ramp sloped up, then back down to enter the freeway, and I hit these guys at the crest of the hill—I never saw them.
The impact sliced through their engine block, so they ran on foot after that. The officers recorded their statements after they were followed by helicopter and finally apprehended as: "What you arresting me for?" They got nine and five years in a plea deal, and I was notified when they were each let out after serving less than half the sentence.
Please note, they were 100% sober, knew they hit me, and they left me to bleed out. I'm a generally compassionate person (or at least I try to be), but I hope their lives are a living nightmare and that they live a long time. I hope they never get the chance to hurt someone again, but I fully expect that that’s exactly what they've done.
For my own mental health, I'll never try to find out what's become of them. This was over 10 years ago, and I have a good life now. I have a loving girlfriend, a mortgage, a super smart border collie, everything I ever wanted. Although, it has been a serious struggle. I didn’t get any money except for $50k from the victims of violent offence fun and, remarkably, their auto insurance.
My medical bills were +$3 million, but I was insured—thankfully, since I'd just started the job six months prior. I used that money and my hospital/recovery time to get my MBA, and have worked hard as heck to move up in my (new, I had to change since I'm not very agile anymore) career. I'm still severely and permanently disabled.
I'll never run again, nor have any real balance, need a cane and lost the use of my dominant arm. But I'm lucky, since I still have my faculties and look relatively normal. I don’t own a motorcycle anymore, and will never attempt to ride again. Besides, you need 100% of your physical faculties as well as mental to do it safely. I don’t blame my motorcycle at all, though.
I miss riding and probably wouldn’t have fared much better in those speeds in a car. If you ride and are reading this, please make sure you buy the best safety gear and wear it every time. I'm only here today because I did, and no amount of skill would have saved me from being in the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time. I was wearing a Nolan flip face helmet ($300 at the time).
Thank you Nolan for your outstanding quality and commitment to safety. I still have that helmet, and it’s scratched and cracked all the way through. That could have been my skull.
15. Out Of The Box Thinking
Not me, but my girlfriend's sister jumped out of a window on Tuesday morning. She is schizophrenic, so there are other issues there besides just this one. She is still sedated and hasn't woken up. She has a broken vertebra in her neck and lower back, but they don't think she's paralyzed. There is slight bleeding on the brain that they're relatively sure didn't cause damage, plus busted ribs and a torn up lung that they had to remove part of yesterday in surgery. Some other broken bones, too.
They have her sedated and unconscious to prevent her moving due to the broken vertebra. I wonder if she'll be disappointed when she wakes up later in the week. This is where it gets weird. Her parents are having a Cambodian guy come in to do an exorcism, so that's going to fix everything. Love her, but her parents are something else...old school Vietnamese.
16. In The Deep End
I was at the pool, and the next thing I know I wake up in a hospital bed, feeling very cold and my throat hurts. Turns out I had actually drowned, but the lifeguard had pulled me out and reanimated me for about 45 minutes. Then I was flown to the hospital by helicopter, where I lay in a coma for two days, during which they kept my body temperature low to prevent cerebral damage caused by lack of oxygen.
I could go home a week after the accident.
17. Dog Day Afternoon
When I was 20, I woke up handcuffed to a hospital bed. The night before, I had a reaction to medication I was taking in combination with heavy drinking and started having a very bad panic attack. My friends were scared and called an ambulance, but I don't like hospitals so that just made things worse. Eventually officers came and tried to help the paramedics get me into the ambulance.
They handcuffed me and carried me out, and in that process I completely snapped. I guess I turned my head and bit one of the officers on the leg. I remember none of this and just woke up confused and blind because I didn't have my glasses. I eventually was told that I was under arrest for aggravated battery and was going to be taken to the station after the doctor cleared me.
After I got dressed, they cuffed me with ankle cuffs and put me in the back of a wagon. I was booked into the station and spent the night there until the next morning, when they transferred me to county. When I got there I was terrified, not because of the inmates, but because of the officers. They knew why I was there and as soon as I got there they all started barking at me.
I spent the next couple of days being shuffled around, unable to make a phone call to my family and pretty much blind because I still didn't have my glasses. When I finally got settled in what was to be my long-term cell, I was told I was being bonded out. That whole experience was strange and scary, but I learned a lot about myself and met a lot of really interesting people.
I ended up in court for a year and we were able to get the charge down to a misdemeanor reckless behavior and I had two years of probation.
18. In The Rear View Mirror
I woke up with hospital sheets covering my body, not remembering how I got there. Once they said I got into an accident, I thought I was driving in my SUV and I kept asking if I hurt anyone else and who was with me. Once they said I was on my motorcycle, I then noticed again I was covered in sheets and kept asking if all my body parts were attached.
Once they said yes, I kept trying to figure out how it happened. By that time, my mom and sister were there and I kept asking to see my helmet and stuff, trying to figure out how it happened once more. I kept repeating all the questions many times, forgetting I had asked them. I had a concussion and torn muscle on my arm and got banged up pretty bad.
They kept me in the hospital for two days because my heart rate just would not go down, turned out it was a potassium deficiency. Memories slowly came back within a few days. I didn't lose my entire memory, just the events of that day. I still to this day can't recall the actual accident, I just remember being held down on the road by people and me begging them to move me as I was burning in oil from my bike.
Then ambulance arriving and paramedics trying to keep me awake. What had happened was that a car in the middle lane decided to go into the corner gas station, crossing the right lane and the turning lane. And I was in the right lane, I hit the back right tire area and ran into the car helmet first, then bounced back onto the concrete, cracking my helmet.
19. Mystery Man
While I was walking home from work, a truck hit me. Even though it wasn't a hit and run, I didn't know who the driver was until about a month later. Strangely, I didn't think enough to ask. One day, it all became extremely clear. I was having dinner at my best friend's place and his older brother came home and looked at me as though he'd seen a ghost.
20. A Wild Ride
I woke up to my mom's face looking down on me, along with a few random hospital staff poking around. I think they might have actually been moving me to another room at that point, but it's all fuzzy. It took a while for memories to come back, but I was out drinking and when the bar closed, me and my buddy got some pizza and decided to climb up a rooftop to eat it.
We'd been up there many times before, but I was significantly more tipsy. After my pizza I had felt sick and didn't want to throw up on the rooftop, so I went to climb down. That's my last memory. I fell about two stories and crushed my L1 vertebrae. I also broke my wrist and cut my head a bit. I was knocked out briefly, but by the time my buddy got down to check on me I was sitting up.
He saw the blood and got worried, wrapped his shirt around my head and hailed a cab. I tried to go home but he forced me to go to emergency—he explained all this to me later, since I have no recollection of it. I walked in and he helped admit me. He explained what happened and they took me away. They told him they'd hold me overnight and asked if he could come back in the early morning to pick me up and he said yeah.
After he left, they did the CAT scan to be sure and saw my broken vertebrae. They called my parents and they came in. Shortly after I woke up, I couldn't remember much of anything at first and I was really scared because my mom looked scared. Then I just felt awful and stupid for doing something so dumb. Then I had to awkwardly pee in a jug while staying completely horizontal in front of my parents and a half dozen hospital staff.
21. Life’s A Circus
I was at school when I was about eight years old. It was sports carnival day, I don't know if they have that everywhere, but it’s where the whole school spends the day competing in various sports. I was watching the other group play tee-ball. Next minute, hospital. I woke up feeling like I'd just had a dream that I was in an ambulance.
Apparently I did briefly wake in the ambulance, but not for long. I was thwacked in the forehead with a flying metal bat, had a massive abrasion which turned into the oddest scab you'd ever seen, like a unicorn had his horn lopped off. I still have a scar there where my skull cracked and then healed with a kind of little divot in it.
22. Little White Lie
Accidental taking more substances than I needed. I woke up to EMTs slapping my face a bit after the Noloxone didn’t seem to work right away. I jumped up and tried leaving the scene, but was too messed up to make it more than three steps. The EMTs were super cool and settled me down. Officers came, and then a twist of fate occurred. One of the paramedics lied and said I had overdosed on my medications, because I had a prescription on me for my knee. Once the officers were distracted, one of the other EMTs told me about his sister being an addict and gave me a card for a clinic. I owe that man my life for real...
23. Out It Goes
I got a concussion after falling while riding my vicious pony. Apparently, I fell headfirst onto the road. Woke up on my back in the hospital. I think, "Huh, I must have been in an accident?” I flip my head over to see the other side of my body. “OUCH...so, I have a head injury." "Why is this little metal pan next to my head? Blleeearrrggghhh vomit.
“Oh, that's why." I threw up when anyone came in the room until mid-morning and was released after a few hours of non-throwing up.
24. Life Comes At You Fast
I had a seizure at work. I was apparently walking into walls and fell down in the bathroom. My mom came to pick me up and brought me to my place, but I fell down again and had another seizure, so she finally called an ambulance. All I remember was going into the bathroom at work after puking in my lesson room. Then the doctors told me the awful news.
I woke up in an ICU, and they disclosed that I had brain cancer and likely only had two weeks to live. They started chemo treatment immediately at Cedars, and now I'm completely clean of cancer.
25. When Push Comes To Shove
I woke up to someone giving me first aid, but I could've easily woken up in a hospital. My church has a program similar to Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts called Stockade or Battalion. We were playing dodgeball, the variant where you go to the back wall of the other team when you get out, and catch a ball thrown by your team to get back in. A teammate and I were trying to catch the same ball to get back in, but I ended up catching it first.
He pushed me, and I hit my head twice—first on the metal support for the basketball hoop, second on the ground—and everything went to black. I blacked out in a room full of teenagers playing dodgeball, and came to in the same room, empty except for me and one of the adult leaders presumably applying first aid. I don't know how much time had passed.
I don't know if the room was cleared immediately when I didn't stand up, or if I was just left there, undiscovered until the game was over. I didn't have a headache afterward, just a bump on my head and a scrape on my leg. I was more disoriented than injured, but if things had been any worse I sure hope they would've called an ambulance.
26. Safety First
I fell off my longboard almost exactly a year ago and landed on my head. Even worse, I was an idiot and wasn't wearing a helmet. To this day, I don't remember the accident, but spending 10 days as the youngest person in the stroke ward because of brain bleeding is tedious as heck. All things considered, I'm extremely lucky I didn't snap my neck the way I apparently landed, or become a vegetable, or worse.
My new helmet might look stupid as heck, but it beats cracking my head open again.
27. Party Like It’s Your Birthday
I was going out with some friends on my 21st birthday. We were pre-gaming and they fed me a lot of drinks. We hop in a cab and are set to go out to the clubs. Next thing I know, I wake in a hospital bed. The moment I opened my eyes, I knew where I was and how I probably got there. Turns out, I jumped out of the cab prematurely and hit my head.
28. Isn’t It Romantic
I woke up in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm. My face and the back of my head were hurting rather badly. I managed to get out of bed and looked at my clothes. What I saw still shocks me to this day. They were all completely covered in blood. Even weirder, I wasn’t feeling bad at all; I was actually feeling rather good, partly because I was still in my cups from the night before.
After a while, a nurse came into the room, but she didn't speak a word of English. See, I had just moved to a new country and I didn't speak the local language. So I still had no idea what was going on. By this point, I realized my lip had been sewn back together along with the back of my head. After a while, I was given breakfast and eventually a doctor came into the room.
He explained in English that an ambulance brought me in after I was charged. All I knew was I was out drinking with a friend. He then went on to tell me that I fell unconscious while being sewn together and they had no idea if it was from head injuries or my very high blood booze level. Eventually my friend came to the hospital and explained the whole thing.
Apparently, some other guys jumped us at a festival, and I went down like a sack of potatoes. Later on, I got in contact with my girlfriend at the time (she is now my wife), and we had our third date in the hospital restaurant. I got released the next day on a Monday morning, and I had to travel home via the subway in my blood-stained clothes.
29. You Know Better
This one is not about me, but about a close friend, and I think the story is amazing. He was locked out of his house, and his landlord was gone for the weekend, so he decided he would go around back to the alley and climb in a window. He put a ladder on a dumpster, something he said he knew he shouldn't do as, ironically, he teaches safety courses.
Well, he fell off the top of the ladder and onto the pavement, cracking open his head. Here is where it gets really wild. An anesthesiologist just happened to be driving by and watched him fall. The man had been out to lunch with his daughter who was visiting him, and they decided to drive past the house where she grew up, which happened to be on that street.
So the man stops, calls an ambulance, and then calls the hospital to arrange for surgery. My friend was in surgery in under 30 minutes after his fall. Fast forward a month a change, and my friend wakes up in a bed with a feeding tube and a catheter. He is tied down to the bed and a sign nearby reads: “Caution: patient spits and kicks.”
He unstraps himself and starts to take the tubes out when he realizes he probably doesn't need to “escape” and calls for a nurse. He was a little confused when he first woke up and just wanted to run. So now he has a metal plate in his head, and is doing fine. Staying off ladders, too. I told him that he was one lucky guy, and he agrees with me.
30. Innocent Bystander
I was blasted in the stomach at nearly point-blank range by a guy who had the piece in his backpack. He was in the process of robbing a store when I walked in. I didn't realize it was happening, and a lot of other people in the store didn't know either. I asked him if he was in line, because he was kind of to the side, and he turned and fired.
I don't remember anything from after entering the store onward. The rest I've had pieced together. He blasted me three times, hitting mostly muscle, but also one kidney. I'm entirely fine today, but that was a fairly alarming realization of how close I came to being a goner.
31. Wrong Place, Wrong Time
My friend was driving his van late at night and started to get real tired, so he thought he'd do the right thing and pull over, hop in the back, have a nap, and continue driving in the morning. Well, morning comes and he's in emergency at the hospital. Turns out he was so tired that when he pulled over on the side of the road, he had stopped in the middle of a train crossing. Self explanatory after that.
32. Put The Blame On Me
I was 16 years old and hit by a Ford F-350. I am a tiny human—like, I'm under 5 feet—and this truck hit me going 40 mph when I was in the crosswalk. The hit launched me across the entire intersection. I don't remember anything 20 minutes before until 10 days later. When I woke up finally, I had been in a coma for five days, both my lungs had collapsed, I had three blood transfusions, a chest tube to drain the internal bleeding, three surgeries, and the whole left side of my body broken.
I couldn't walk and my vision and memory had been damaged. It's been six years and I'm doing great now. You wouldn't even know anything happened to me, except I have memory issues still and arthritis. The lady that hit me did stop afterward, but this turned out to be a curse, not a blessing. She was crazy and kept harassing my parents while I was clinging to life in the hospital.
She kept claiming she was going to sue us for "damage to her vehicle." My parents told the authorities who were on my case and they told her to stop contacting us, which she finally did. In fact, we sued her back and won—rightfully so.
33. I’m Not Myself Today
It was my first big epilepsy episode, and I had never been diagnosed before. I went to bed, and a couple of hours later I fell down the stairs from my loft, twice. The second time my mother found me unconscious and barely breathing. I woke up 36 hours after having gone to bed, on a stretcher, at a clinic, with an IV in my arm and no memory whatsoever from the past day and a half.
I was later told that for some of that time I had been a complete jerk, bossing people around and behaving in such a strange fashion that nurses were rolling up my sleeves and looking for needle marks, suspecting I was tripping on something. It has now been two years; I am using medication and haven't had any more of those episodes since.
34. Self Sabotage
I remember parts of when the paramedics were taking me to the hospital in the ambulance. They were asking me about a “666” tattoo I had and something about how one of their sisters also attempted taking her life? But I lost consciousness again before I could say I didn't remember even thinking about taking my own life. I woke up in the hospital, and apparently I drank way too much and my dad found me unconscious.
Everyone thought I tried to hurt myself because I was alone, so it took a while before they just let me go without being taken to a psych ward. I was actually pretty depressed, and now I wonder if I was trying to do it? I just feel bad about apparently throwing up on my cat before anyone found me; my dad said she was meowing next to me until someone came home.
35. Neighborhood Watch
I was playing with my cousin and it was my seventh birthday. I remember throwing around a ball and I went to the street to get it. I woke up at the hospital a day later and my face and jaw hurt like heck. I remember feeling as if my teeth were loose, too. Apparently, a van had hit me right in front of my family on my birthday, and the guy actually tried to hit and run.
Some guys on the corner had to run to it and rip the driver out. That birthday wasn’t my best.
36. One Smart Cookie
I still don't know what happened. I was found unconscious next to my bicycle in a street on the way home from work. I have about six hours of amnesia—apparently I came to and was conscious on the side of the road before the ambulance arrived. The cool thing is that I used to be an EMT and as I became alert on the hospital bed, I recognized that I was A&O x2. Let me explain.
When head injuries are in play, medical people will test a person’s alertness and orientation to (1) name, (2) location and (3) time. If they aren’t "A&O x3," then things are not good. I told the nurse once I recognized this: "Hey, I'm A and O by 2 as I don't know how long I've been out for, what day and time is it?" Problem solved.
37. She’s Hearing Voices
When I was 15 I was hearing voices, I was severely depressed, and just losing my mind. I felt like I was just a worthless piece of garbage and that everybody would be better off without me annoying them. So I swallowed every single pill in my house. Tylenol, aspirin, dad's medications, my stepmom's medications, etc, etc. I'm talking about over 500 pills.
I skipped school that day to do this, then I went into my shed after swallowing the pills to pass. My dad came home early from work that day and luckily went into the shed to grab some tools and found me passed out. I woke up in the hospital with a tube down my throat getting my stomach pumped. I'll never forget the taste of the charcoal.
I pooped black for a good few days. At the time, I was so angry that I’d been found, but after looking back on the whole situation a few weeks later, I saw the amount of pain I had caused my family and friends.
38. Your Own Worst Enemy
I woke up in the hospital in the summer of 2002 cuffed to a hospital bed. There were tubes all over me and stitches all over my chest. The night before, I was hit by a inebriated driver. I had a six-inch gash down the center of my chest exposing a few ribs. After I was discharged, I spoke with the gas station attendant who told me that he denied the driver a drink sale because he was already inebriated.
That jerk was never found. That was pretty bad, but it got worse. Apparently I woke up in a daze a few hours earlier. The doctor had me sedated and my arms secured to the bed because I was trying to pull my catheter out.
39. Some Bunny Cares
I literally fell off the balcony of my apartment, which was two stories, and landed on my neighbor’s shed. I then woke up a day later with my neighbor—who is basically a 90-year-old man—exclaiming how his rabbit found me.
40. Right Answer
I got in an altercation with the sidewalk while skateboarding. The memories are very muddled, and I don't remember that day or several days after. From what I was told, a friend who was following came around the corner and I was seizing and vomiting on the ground. I was placed in a medically-induced coma for transport since I was fighting the paramedics, and then taken to the hospital where I mentally reverted to about 12 years old.
The first thing I actually remember is waking up and my mother asking me if I know where I am. I didn't really know how, but I knew I was in the hospital and I had been in an accident. She told me later that she had asked me that question every day for six days, and that was the first day I knew the answer. I made a fairly speedy recovery after that, but people treated me like a China Doll for a long time afterward. Drove me crazy.
41. A Danger To Yourself And Others
I was beginning a game of Wii Tennis at a friend’s house, and next thing I knew I was in my bed with a hospital band on my arm. Turns out, we had a couple too many drinks and my quick walk home turned into me attempting to break into someone’s house because I thought it was my own. Thank God they called an ambulance for me and not the authorities.
42. Not-So Merry Christmas
I was at our family Christmas gathering eating cookies and candy, then woke up in the hospital a week later. I discovered the hard way that I was a diabetic after going into a diabetic coma once my blood sugar hit 750. My coma lasted for five days.
43. Bring Our Boys Home
I woke up in Bethesda hospital just outside Washington, DC, looking up at my mother and brother. Apparently, I had been in a medically-induced coma for a while and they were finally bringing me out of it. It took several days before I even remembered that I had been in Iraq. Now I remember falling asleep in a hospital on one side of the world and waking up on the other side of the world weeks later. But it’s not what many people think.
It wasn't even an explosive device or anything like that that got me. It was a nasty sickness that messed me up pretty bad and I spent a long time recovering. That was almost 10 years ago and I'm doing a lot better now.
44. Memories Of Better Times
I was paying dodgeball in my first year of high school when I dodged full tilt into the gym wall. Apparently I went to my next class and eventually vomited on my desk and passed out. I only remember dodgeball.
45. Save Your Own Neck
I had had surgery on my neck on a Sunday and had been released to go home on Monday. At the time, I still had staples closing the opening and a drain installed for the normal post-surgery weeping. Sometime on Thursday night, the drain stopped functioning and my neck started to swell. I have a flash memory of my girlfriend waking me up Friday morning and being able to see my neck sticking out in front of me, like a bull frog.
My next memory is Tuesday in a hospital room. In between times, I had emergency surgery to relieve the swelling because my airway and carotid artery were being crushed. Then a weekend in the ICU, followed by an ambulance ride to another city for my post-op recovery. Weird flashes of memories with no context. That's almost 15 years ago and I still can't remember.
46. Set Me Free
I woke up after being in the hospital for two and a half weeks. I couldn't move my legs, my arms were tied to the rails, I had hoses coming out of my mouth, and I couldn't talk. Almost immediately, I remembered that I had been in a car wreck and subconsciously knew I was paralyzed, but I was still angry due to the restraints on me.
Then I learned I had grabbed my life support tube and removed it (not the recommended way) and one drain tube from my lung had been ripped out as well. Luckily when they took me off the ventilator and preformed a tracheotomy, much to everyone's surprise, my voice came back. I guess when you remove the vent without deflating it first it usually destroys your vocal cords. It was an eye opener for sure.
47. Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends
I was heading to a friend’s birthday party on my motorcycle. Something happened on the way there, I'm still not sure what, but eyewitness accounts were bone-chilling. I high-sided and then slid about 30 feet on my face. Thank god for full-face helmets. I still don't have any recollection of about 24 hours or so from before I left my house.
I ended up with a bad concussion and some decent road rash. About six months later, I met the guy who left his vehicle to help me. Turned out to be a good friend of my sister's husband.
48. All By Myself
I was 12 years old in 1982. I woke up in a hospital bed feeling fine, with no idea what happened. There was nobody else in the room. The last person I remember hanging out with was my friend, Scott, so I called his house. His mom answered, and advised me to call my parents. No answer at their home phone. So I'm sitting in this bed, trying to figure out why I'm even there.
I finally discover that the rolling table over the bed opens up, and there's a mirror under the lid. When I saw my face, my blood ran cold. Across my forehead and down the whole right side of my face are fresh abrasions. "Ohhh, that's why." I finally get hold of Scott and learn the story, which I still don't remember firsthand.
I was riding my bike down a sidewalk near the grade school. The sidewalk takes a 45 degree left turn, and I cut the corner. Grass is deep, and a little wet, and my front wheel catches on the edge of the sidewalk, flipping me over. I landed on my face, was dragged against the other edge of the sidewalk, and knocked out cold. Another neighborhood kid was in the area and hustled back to alert my parents.
My dad took me to the hospital in his car, and I woke up the next day. Yes, my parents just left me in the hospital by myself.
49. You’re Outta Here
This was back in 2012. I was a bartender at the time, and I kicked out a guy and his buddy after one of them flipped out and lost his mind over a bet in a game of pool. He was acting pretty aggressive and when I started to come out from behind the bar to accompany him out, he threw his bar glass at me. At first, everything was fine. I closed the bar down about an hour later.
As I was walking out the back door, everything changed in an instant. There he was, about 10 feet from me and still extremely angry that I had tossed him out. That's the last thing I remember. All the other details came from my girlfriend, who had called 9-1-1 and saw the whole thing go down. I blacked out, and when I came to I had been told that I had been jabbed five times and had the top of my ear cut off.
I was in a local hospital getting staples and stitches and waiting to be transported to another hospital to have my ear reattached. Right before I was about to be transported, officer came into the ER and told me that they had found the guy. He still had the bloody sharp tool in his pocket and a bunch of prescription substances in his hotel room.
50. The Spice Of Life
This happened about three and a half years ago. I'd been kind of sick for a few weeks, and couldn't seem to shake it. It would get a little better, then a bit worse. This was right before Christmas 2012. That year, Christmas Eve and Christmas was on a Monday and Tuesday, so I was just pushing myself to get to that sweet four-day weekend, thinking I'd just relax and that would get me past it.
So I rested hard all weekend, wasn't eating much, just stayed in the easy chair. The day after Christmas I still wasn't feeling up for work. I was still at my parents’ house for the holidays, so my mom being a mom was all, “if you're too sick to work you're going to the doctor.” I didn't have insurance at the time, so I hadn't been, and we went to one of those urgent care places instead.
I was there for a little while, and then something shifted. I don’t remember much around this point, just that we left…and then waking up in the hospital about 12-14 days later. Turns out I have diabetes. Now, I hear from a lot of people that this is how they find out they are diabetic—they either get very low blood sugar, or you go into diabetic ketoacidosis and get pneumonia. This is where my story takes a House-like turn.
Most of the following information I got second hand after the fact. When leaving the urgent care place, apparently my mother had been told to take me straight to the ER. She got me to the closest one and they took me right in, didn't even wait on the paperwork. They knew right away about the ketoacidosis and pneumonia, but something else was wrong.
They did MRIs, ran blood tests, checked for stroke, heart attack, just about everything. Something was still off and they didn't know what. I went into respiratory failure that evening and they had to put me in a coma and on life support. They sent the blood to the labs. Now, in House, they get results back in a few hours and try something else, then run another test and try something else.
I'm not sure how accurate that is for most situations. In my case, they had determined there was an abnormal kind of infection in addition to the pneumonia. The culture had to grow for 10 days for them to see what was in my blood to make a solid diagnosis. So the data came back and the doctor working on me spent several days poring over everything she could find to learn what it was.
She found a picture in an old textbook of a fungus called Rhizopus. Once they figured this out, they were able to find a medicine that could treat it, though it would be a 13-week course of intravenous treatments, and it was highly unhealthy just for kicks. They pulled me off the sedation after 10 days, and it took me a few days to wake up.
Apparently they told my folks to start planning my funeral, so that's creepy. When I woke up, they started the treatments the next day. I wasn't out of the woods yet, though. After I woke, the pulmonary doctor did a brachioscope to see into my lungs. She said they looked like they were full of pink fluff like cotton candy or pink marshmallows. That was on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013. She did another scope that Friday, and said it looked less inflamed, so that was great news, and she said she'd do another on Monday.
The weekend passes, she comes back and runs another. This time when she put the tube in, it apparently released a sweet odor immediately. My mom says she said, "Do you smell that, something smells sweet?" She also said that although my right lung was okay, my left lung looked "black and green and spiky." So, that's a bad thing—the lung had begun to decay.
This is a part I remember for myself really clearly. I woke up from that procedure and the nurse told me to wait a moment, and then left the room. She came back with the pulmonary doctor, a surgeon, and my mom and dad. Oh, gee, mom and dad have been crying but are smiling through it, that's not a good sign. The surgeon explained what they found, and said we pretty much have two choices.
We can do surgery and remove your left lung, and you have about a 50/50 chance of surviving. Or we can keep you on the medicine and do everything else we can for you. Now, even being all doped up and half asleep, I knew that meant praying for a miracle, and making me comfortable while I passed. Now, I'm a Christian, and I have faith in miracles and such, but I also believe one of the greatest things we have as a species is a brilliant and curious mind that has lead to such things as music, art, bacon, and medicine.
So I'd be a fool, in my opinion, to ignore the advice and help of the fine doctors nurses in front of me. And to be honest, I remember thinking to myself in that moment, "Hmm, I've never had a major surgery, it'll be interesting if I come through." So I wrote "surgery" on the little marker board I had, since I couldn't speak. I had surgery the next morning where they removed my full left lung.
Afterwards I remained in the hospital for almost 100 days. I still had to run the full 13 weeks course of that medicine. I had a lot of rehab and therapy for months after, a lot of it dealing with the extensive muscle atrophy in my legs and arms and pretty much everywhere. Three years later, I've much improved. I lost a bit of mobility in my feet, both from the atrophy and diabetic neuropathy.
My stamina isn't what it was obviously as my oxygen capacity is about 55% of what it was we think. At rest I still can hit about 95-97% blood saturation, which is normal, at moderate to heavy activity is drops pretty fast. Still working on improving that. Got a good job, got a girl, overall things are actually a lot better than it was before. Nothing like almost perishing to spice up your life!