caitak (caitak) wrote in little_details,

Coma-like state rehabilitation

Who: A 40 year old male who has been in a coma-like state for 20 years.
Where: The not too distant future, place isn't really important, probably somewhere like Europe.
What: Searched variations of 'coma rehabilitation/recovery/therapy' as well as 'traumatic brain injury rehabilitation/recovery/therapy'. Read up on some support pages for families as well as personal stories of recuperation and of course, good old Wikipedia (and the head injury tags for this community).

The details:
The story is set in the future (though it's not specified when) and focuses on T who, for reasons best known to himself, enters into a Virtual Reality. The virtual reality machines are owned by companies and the standard stay is about two weeks, during that time a person is basically hooked up to a life support system that deals with feeding them & waste, while nurses take care of other needs like bathing, shaving, clipping nails, etc. Presumably either they or some sort of machine exercises the users as well, so muscles might weaken but they won't atrophy completely.

T decides to stay in the Virtual Reality for twenty years. Then one day it's switched off, just like that, and he has to return to Real Reality.

But presumably after so long hooked up to machines, he's got some therapy ahead of him to get him used to real life again. Unfortunately, his rehabilitation is starting to look quite different to coma patient rehabiliation. So here's where I need some help (I can probably get away with a certain amount of handwaving, but I don't want to wave too much):

1. If he's been tube/drip-fed for the past twenty years, presumably he's going to have swallowing issues. Ditto for walking/fine motor skills/speech/etc. What might this therapy entail?

2. What sort of psyhological therapy would he need to undergo? He's basically been living an alternate life for twenty years, how would he be reacclimatised to every day life?

3. I realise this is a 'how long is a piece of string?' type question, but how long would this recovery be likely to take? Several months? Almost a year? I can't find many stories about people coming round and getting on with life after twenty year comas (with the exception of two peope mentioned on the Wikipedia page).

Thanks in advance.
Tags: ~medicine (misc), ~medicine: coma

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