Coma hallucinations and dreams

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Its almost 4 years since mybrushwithdeath. And about this time is when I tend to remember how lucky I am and of course remember what happened during that whole period. As I say in the TEDxManchester2 Talk, that whole period is pretty much blank but I do kind of remember some of the dreams I had.

From Mindhacks,

Intensive Care Medicine has published a wonderfully written and vivid account from a teenager who spent time brain injured and hallucinating in an intensive care unit.

The writer describes how he was admitted to intensive care at the age of 15 after suffering a head injury and had intense and bizarre hallucinations which are, as we know now, surprisingly common in critical care patients.

Have to agree, when I was in ICU, I had some crazy dreams and hallucinations. The weird part is looking back on what I can remember, some parts I starting to question they were actually real. I won’t talk about my dreams because they were disturbing and slightly worrying.

But a couple weird things which I assume were hallucinations include thinking how super clean the hospital was, in my head a cleaner would clean every hour regardless of the time or day. Somewhere along the line, I also thought the hospital was owned by Google (I assume the Google IO and Google Health must have been  more than just playing on my mind)

I remember having a real conversation about USB/HDMI power and the maximum load with Tim at some point? Heaven knows why…

I knew when something really nasty was going to happen. I could always hear the same alarm going off. It was a signal for the monsters to appear, for the centipede to attack, for bombs to be dropped, I would be sacrificed…I was very afraid.

I guess the scary part looking back is the blend from reality to mild hallucinations. I wasn’t seeing stuff coming out the wall or anything like that but I certainly had some odd thoughts about the world cup based on my curtain which surrounded my bed in ICU (a few weeks before it had even started). Maybe I was picking up on something being talked about or something?

Its interesting to hear how common hallucinations are in ICU, I assumed it was just the high powered drugs.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.