1
$\begingroup$

So, I've been kicking around a sort-of "return from another world" idea for a bit now. Basically, the MC gets the crap kicked out of him and ends up in a deep coma with very little brain activity.* On a cosmic scale, he is considered dead and his soul is taken to Hell because, unbeknownst to him, he is half demon. Over the course of five Earth years (20-25 in Hell), he helps lead a revolution that results in humans taking over Hell. He then discovers that his body back on Earth is still alive as his mother refused to allow the doctors to pull the plug despite all the indicators that he will not recover. He and his allies devise a way to send him back to his body so he can resume his old life.**

All that is to say: there's reasons behind his waking from such a long coma/brain death situation even though it wouldn't happen in real life. My question just surrounds what the recovery period would look like.

Obviously his muscles would have atrophied, but how long would it take to build them back to normal after such a long period of inactivity? How bad would the atrophy be? Would he be able to move at all after first waking up? Would he be able to speak, or make any sort of vocalization, like a grunt or moan or something? Would he even be able to open his eyes?

How would it affect him from a cognitive perspective? Would his brain be pretty much the same as it was when he went to into the coma, or would there be massive amounts of damage or cell death? Would I need to explain it away as his brain restructuring itself to align with his current consciousness in order for it to be believable that he'd be able to function?

Lastly, what kind of monitors would that have set up around the time of his awakening, and how would they be affected by it? I would expect the heartbeat monitor would change in some way since there is difference between conscious and unconscious heart-rate (I think). Would they have something monitoring his brain activity that would alert them to the fact that consciousness had returned to the brain, or is that kind of monitoring only possible through specialized equipment like MRIs that you wouldn't have running all the time? What else would they be monitoring in a coma patient, and how would his sudden awakening affect them? Would they be sounding alerts and alarms of some sort like you often see in TV shows and movies?

I know that's a lot of questions, so I don't anyone to feel like they have to answer every single one themselves. Any insight you could offer me on any of them would be helpful. Also, if there are other things you think I should I know in order to write about this more accurately, feel free to mention those as well. Thanks in advance to all who answer!

*Basically just autonomic functions. No signs of consciousness or even dreams.

**This is the very short version, of course. There's a lot more to it in regards to the "hows" and "whys" of all this, but they're mostly irrelevant to the question at hand. Also, the miraculous nature of his recovery will factor into the plot, so no need to focus on that aspect of it.

$\endgroup$
6
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ “I know that's a lot of questions,” only one singular question is allowed per question. $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    Sep 4 at 18:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ VTC Needs More Focus. You're allowed one and only one question. Further, a rapid Google search reveals there's a lot of information about the issues and time involved post-awakening from a coma. Please explain why none of that research solves your problem (you are expected to perform research)? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 4 at 22:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi Rurudo! I think you really need to divide this into about three separate questions: first is What does the cognitive recovery look like, which would take care of the brain, memories, awareness, etc.; second would be What does the physical recovery look like, which would take care of neuro-motor issues, muscles, movement, walking, etc; and third would be What does the process of coma care look like in the peri-awakening environment, and that would take care of what happens in the hospital, feeding, therapy, monitors, tests, etc. Please edit this and create two ...(cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 4 at 23:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (cont) ... sister questions before you start getting a mess of answers that try to address everything! Because then you won't be able to edit without invalidating answers. Also, the viable option to close this for asking too many questions! Am voting to close to protect this question until you can you can fix the problems! Otherwise, you've really got three great questions! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 4 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, closing it for now would probably be a good idea then. Sorry 'bout that. I only discovered this site recently and am still not sure of all the proper rules and etiquette. I'll take another shot at researching it myself and if I can't get all my questions answered that way I will return with something more specific. Thanks for being chill about the whole thing! $\endgroup$
    – Rurudo
    Sep 4 at 23:43

2 Answers 2

3
$\begingroup$

I would think it depends on the persons commitment.

With physiotherapy and a good diet the body could probably easily be fit within a couple of months. Putting on the muscle mass after that is just exercise.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This answer would benefit substantially from a few citations or quotes from sources, or an example evidencing the quality of your observations. I was in a cast from a knee injury for just 18 months at age 17 and it took nearly a year with physical therapy to build up the strength of my leg to be equal with the other. But I don't know if that time was due to lack of commitment (I remember commitment), lack of time to exercise (had to go to school), or it was simply normal. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 4 at 22:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JBH yeah, thats pretty normal. I got hit by a car and died for a while, when the casts came off it took years to get back to where I was in terms of muscle mass, but only a couple of months to get fit and mobile. I was very motivated with the physio. Which is what I mean in my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Sep 4 at 23:14
2
$\begingroup$

There is a very big problem with the character's brain in this scenario, because he went into the coma due to gross physical trauma to his brain ("got the crap kicked out of him") and that physical trauma would by and large still be present. The brain has very limited ability to heal physical damage to itself.

This is why extended comas after traumatic brain injury have very poor prognosis. The brain either recovers relatively quickly once the immediate cause is reversed (swelling, pressure, whatever), or it doesn't at all. And the length of the coma generally corresponds with the remaining cognitive deficiencies after recovery.

So you will have to handwave and play down a lot the physical damage to the brain he had sustained.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is an excellent comment, but it is not an answer to the central issue of the OP's question: how long would it take to recover after the coma patient awakens? While you correctly point out that it's unlikely for the patient to awaken from the conditions of the coma as specified, that's not the issue as the question implies the patient did wake up. Did you intend this to be a comment, or perhaps a frame challenge? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 4 at 22:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .