"Comatose" man was conscious for 23 years?

I'm sure you've all heard the story about the Belgian guy who doctors believed was in a coma when he really wasn't. Decades ago, Rom Houben was diagnosed with a coma by a doctor who did not have adequate technology. Flash forward 23 years later in 2006, he got a new scan that detected brain function. Now he's rolling around, blinking his eyes, and communicating with a keyboard.

In case you were wondering how he all of a sudden started moving, his family began working with him only after the scan showed he was capable of it. So really the scan wasn't entirely necessary. I don't blame them for not wholeheartedly trying with him earlier, but the family did say they thought he was aware and that's why they didn't let him die. So they had enough hope to keep him suffering for 23 years, but not enough to work with him without truly knowing he was capable of recovery. I'm sure he appreciated that a lot.

This is an important lesson to those families of people who are in comas. If you do believe they are really aware of what's going on, please engage them. Ask them to indicate yes or no by moving their foot to push a computer device like they did with this Belgian guy. Soon enough they'll be spelling words on a touchscreen and blaming you for not trying to hear them earlier. It's bad enough to be mute and paralyzed while still being aware, but on top of that, to have your family half-believe you're alive just enough to keep your anguish from ending, but not enough to actually engage your senses and try to unlock you from your mental prison... Well, that's just the icing on the shitcake! Happy birthday, Rom Houben, 23-year-long Coma Man! Sure he wasn't actually in a coma, but it's like the Balloon Boy, just go with it.

-Binkie McFartnuggets

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