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					Special Report




       The Miracle
                 Special Report




       of a Coma Recovery
       Written by Wen-chuang Chen, Hana You, Tzu-yu Chang, Wan-lin Wu
       Translated by Kelvin Chen




44 Medicine With Humanity Vol. 9 May 2008
                                                                                         The Miracle of a Coma Recovery




    A c c o r d i n g t o Ta i w a n ' s
Interior Minister, there were
4,364 coma patients by the end
of December 2005. However,
by the end of the first season of
2007, this number increased to
4,805.
    In addition to financial
burdens of caring for coma
patients, their families have to
endure the psychological burden
of not knowing whether their
loved ones will ever recover.
This sometimes is even more
stressful than financial burdens.
    Despite the odds, with the
support of love, there are cases
where coma patients actually
recover.
    One such person among the
over 4,000 coma patients in
2005 is a young man in his 20s.
He became comatose after a car
accident. However, his near- After more than a year's rehab, A-Ren walks to buy a Mother's Day cake
                                         for his Mom.
blind mother never lost faith in
his recovery, and proceeded to give him the           on the treadmill. Since miraculously coming
best possible care. Two years after sinking           out of a coma, he has started to re-experience
into a coma, the young man finally came out           his first toothache, his first walk; and today,
of it, and was able to call "Mom" again.              he is able to move about like a normal
    This story demonstrates the tenacity of           person. Pacing on treadmills may seem easy
love; with persistence, miracles might just           to most; yet to him, this is no less than a
follow. This patient not only recovered from          miracle.
a coma, after two years of rehab, he is now               How so? A-Ren, as he is fondly called,
walking --- walking the path of a new life.           was in a coma for nearly two years when he
                                                      miraculously regained consciousness on the
         Recovery from A Coma                         evening of July 3, 2005. His mother who had
                                                      attended his every need throughout the coma
    In the rehab room, Rey-jen Cheng paces            was elated. Yet the two-year inactivity of his




                                                                        Medicine With Humanity Vol. 9 May 2008 45
Special Report




       limbs had resulted in the loss of functioning.                   At the time, A-Ren was 24 years old,
       A-Ren had to enter rehab to be retrained.                    married with one son, and living with his
       Although it was not easy, under the tender                   parents in Taipei. He looked fine after the
       care and encouragement of family members,                    accident and left the hospital after five days.
       volunteers and home care assistants, in 2007,                    Two months later, unexpectedly, he began
       A-Ren finally was able to walk again.                        to suffer from headaches. An injection of
                                                                    tranquilizer for the headache instead resulted
                 Comatose Two Months                                in his muscles cramping and stiffening. In
                  after a Car Accident                              August, the family decided to move back to
                                                                    their hometown in Hualien to seek treatment
           On the evening of May 29, 2003, a                        from the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital. After
       vibrant, young A-Ren was heading home on                     extensive testing, no causes were found.
       his motorcycle. Before he could reach home,                  Meanwhile, A-Ren's muscle cramping
       a traffic accident altered his life.                         worsened, although he was still able to talk.




         Home Care Assistant Jing-ming Huang patiently guides Rey-jen Cheng to better uses of his limbs.




46 Medicine With Humanity Vol. 9 May 2008
                                                                                     The Miracle of a Coma Recovery




On the 29th of August, he went into coma.        program.
                                                     Since then, he goes to the rehab center
A Mother's Undiminished Hope --                  and the Chinese Medicine Department
  Hearing Him Call Mom Again                     daily for rehab programs and acupuncture
                                                 treatments. Eight months after coming
   A-Ren's mother, Mrs. Cheng, remembers         out of coma, A-Ren had a tooth extraction.
the time when A-Ren lost consciousness,          Although it was painful, the pain that A-Ren
"His body was cold, yet he had a fever. He       felt showed that he was regaining his body's
then lost consciousness and never talked         normal functions. At this time, although
again, like a vegetable." In the beginning,      he remained immobile, his muscle strength
A-Ren's wife would often come to visit           was gradually being restored. Such small
him and try to talk to him. However, visits      improvement greatly cheered people around
stopped after she was told, erroneously, that    him. Little by little, day by day, progress
A-Ren's condition was contagious. She            continued to be made.
collected his insurance money and vanished,
together with their son, never to be heard        A Determined A-Ren Exclaiming
from again.                                              "I shall succeed!"
   For two years, Mrs. Cheng cared for
A-Ren attentively, never far from his bedside,      "I can do it, I shall succeed!" are words
and always hopeful of his recovery. Then,        A-Ren occasionally utters during rehab.
on July 3, 2005, at about 6:30 PM, A-Ren         After reciting this, he would double his
miraculously woke up and uttered "Mom"           effort. When asked if he's tired, he would
to her. They stared at each other— she was       say: "No, no, I am not tired," despite
so moved and stunned, that she was unable        sweating profusely. If asked to take a rest, he
to speak. Although she always had faith in       would say, "No!" One cannot but admire his
his recovery, when it actually happened and      determination.
he was calling her “Mom” again, she was             His mother says that the "I shall succeed"
speechless.                                      cheer was taught by Tzu Chi volunteers who
                                                 wished for his recovery. She added that
     Daily Rehab; Feeling Pain                   volunteers taught A-Ren many things, and
       Wasan Improvement                         would also occasionally wheel him to the
                                                 entrance hall to practice walking so that he
   A-Ren checked out of the hospital             could interact with passersby.
after his miraculous recovery, and waited           A-Ren liked watching passing cars from
anxiously at home to start rehab. In October     windows of the rehab room. Home care
of 2005, the day finally arrived when he         assistant Mr. Huang told us that A-Ren was a
went back to the hospital to begin the rehab     car mechanic, so he has an indelible memory




                                                                    Medicine With Humanity Vol. 9 May 2008 47
Special Report




       of cars. On his doctor's instructions, his
       mother often talks to A-Ren about tires and         Both Receiving Acupuncture
       trucks, and shows him old photos to stimulate        and Progressing Together
       his brain, in order to recover past memories.
           A-Ren has a brother and a sister working         Actually, Mrs. Cheng is also one of
       and studying in big cities. Right now his        Dr. Lin's patients for her failing eyesight.
       younger brother is the sole bread winner for     Despite her blurred vision, she takes good
       the family. In addition to home expenses, his    care of A-Ren and takes him to the hospital
       younger brother's income also has to support     every day.
       the younger sister who is away at school. So         She says that when A-Ren first came home
       the financial burden is huge. Mrs. Cheng         debilitated after coming out of the coma, she
       said that when the pressure is unbearable, his   had to maneuver his large body in and out of
       younger brother would call A-Ren, or come        the wheel chair. With poor eyesight, this was
       home to stay for a while, then head back to      a daunting task. Often, both of them ended
       work with no complaints.                         up on the floor. Recalling these episodes,
           To meet the expectations of his family,      Mrs. Cheng says: "I was mad at myself being
       A-Ren works very hard at his rehabilitation,     so weak and useless."
       and makes "I shall succeed" his regular              Now, they can often be seen together
       cheer to encourage himself. He checks in         at Dr. Lin's clinic receiving acupuncture
       on time, dutifully goes through all treatment    treatments. Seeing her beloved son
       programs, and never slacks off or complains.     improving daily, Mrs. Cheng proudly tells us
           Gradually, A-Ren is beginning to recall      progresses A-Ren has made and bits of their
       things, such as the name and age of his two-     daily life.
       year-old son. He also reacts when hearing            After over a year's rehab, another miracle
       his son call him "Dad". He can even              occurred for A-Ren. Soon after the Chinese
       remember his home address and home phone         New Year of 2007, he began to walk! Mrs.
       number now. All the photos his mother has        Cheng was moved to tears when A-Ren
       shown him and conversations with him are         took his first step. This was a giant step.
       finally paying off.                              Although A-Ren could only walk forward
           Sweating after a good workout at the         at that time, she believed firmly that things
       rehab center, A-Ren moves on to Dr. Lin's        could only get better henceforth.
       office for acupuncture treatment. Although
       he bravely says that acupuncture does not          The Best Mother's Day Present
       hurt, when he first entered treatment, A-Ren
       was terrified, trembling all over. Now he can       By May 2007, A-Ren was able to walk
       lay still and let Dr. Lin do his work. Dr. Yu-   at will. On Mother's Day, he decided that
       ning Lin is very happy with the improvement.     he wanted to buy a Mother's Day cake and




48 Medicine With Humanity Vol. 9 May 2008
                                                                                                  The Miracle of a Coma Recovery




walk home to enjoy the day with his mother.                possible.
On suggestions from Dr. Lin and volunteers,                   Hand in hand, A-Ren and his mother
they bought a cake from the hospital                       determinedly went to the hospital for rehab
cafeteria on the third floor and walked to                 and acupuncture treatments throughout
the Chinese Medicine Department on the                     the summer of 2007. He can now walk
first Floor. There, they celebrated A-Ren's                unassisted in the hospital, and chat with
walking with all medical personnel and                     others. His speaking skill is so advanced
volunteers. "A-Ren regaining his walking                   now that he can even argue successfully with
ability is the best Mother's Day present I                 doctors. Despite such achievements, his
could ever have hoped for." Mrs. Cheng                     road ahead remains long and hard.
declares.                                                     After climbing out of the trough of
    A-Ren is lucky. For four years, his                    coma, with courage and persistence, A-Ren
family members were always on his side,                    conquered physical disabilities as well. We
and his medical team continually gave him                  have every reason to believe that with the
attentive treatments. These made his coming                same courage and persistence, he will be
out of the coma and the eventual walking                   able to conquer all obstacles in life.




 Doctors and volunteers accompany Rey-jen Cheng throughout his recovery, giving him support and strength.




                                                                                 Medicine With Humanity Vol. 9 May 2008 49

				
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