Dad is in a coma for 7 days - basic question about outlook

Hello friends,

My dad’s aneurysm ruptured last Wednesday. He was admitted to the neuro ICU on Thursday morning, groggy but conscious, being able to answer basic questions, as well as move limbs and drink water. Then by the time they put in the drainage pipe a few hours later, he slipped into sleep.

As of today, he has avoided spasm, but remains in coma. Today, he started to link rapidly when we talked to him, as well as react by moving arms to stimulus, as well as swallowing occasionally. Doctors are not optimistic at all, but say we should wait another week.

Is it possible wake from such a state within a two or three week period? Docs say they dont really know how or when people improve or not, so we were wondering if the community has cases of people who have woken up frmo such a basic responsive state?

Thanks, we were caught so unprepared with this stroke (having beaten my dad’s Stage IV prostate cancer for the last 5 years) and want to give him the full opportunity to recover before we let him drift peacefully away.


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My wife had a ruptured brain aneurysm eight years ago. She was basically asleep for over a month and lost virtually all abilities. She was 62 at the time. I had pretty much the same question you do. She did wake up, and today she is functioning pretty normally. There are a few deficiencies, but most people wouldn’t notice unless they watch her tentative walking. There is hope!


Thank you so much for this info. Yes, all we want is to give him the chance to recover, so we’ll keep going. The docs are pushing us to make a decision at 2-weeks, because at 2 weeks they apparently have to put in a feeding tube, etc. which they made to be a big deal. Did you wife had a feeding tube permanently installed after the 2-week mark?

Apparently the procedure is totally reversible, etc. We have a DNR, but if his heart keeps going, why not wait past the 2-week mark?

Thanks, Arthur

Each case is different, so we can’t exactly compare. But my wife was on life support for sixteen days. She did have a feeding tube, but not until sometime later. The critical care doctor at one point wanted to install a trache, but the lead doctor refused. The day after he refused they took her off life support. We hardly ever saw the lead doctor, but he was fully aware of my Ruth’s condition. Learn what you can, but advocate for your loved one. We had terrific doctors–some on this site have had worse experiences.

Hello Curius, we’re so glad that you found our community, and we hope that you are as well. I’m sorry to hear of your father’s stroke, and the difficult position it has put you in. These are the situations that all of us hope don’t happen in our family, but of course they can.

I think you will find the people here knowledgeable, but also patient and kind. Have you used the search engine to look for information about “life support”, “coma” … what other search terms might give you some information?

If you find threads which are of interest, posting on them will notify all the members on the discussion, and with any luck they may answer you. Try it. Please keep in mind that with our platform change of a couple of years ago, we lost contact with some old members. An old thread won’t get as much return as a newer one.

Please let us know if there’s anything that we can do for you. Meanwhile, you, your father and your whole family are in our thoughts.

Seenie from ModSupport

Thank you for sharing your experiences. One quick question: yes, I meant to say the docs are pushing us either stop life support after 2 weeks or install a trache.

Is installing a trache generally a big deal, is it reversible? Thanks again.

Thanks so much, Seenie! Yes, we’ll study up and hope for the best.


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Yes, a tracheostomy is reversible. There will be a small scar, but it is hardly noticeable. The tracheostomy can be helpful in that life support equipment tends to get in the way of swallowing and talking. I think you are in charge of the decision–the doctors should not be pushing one way or another. You represent the patient’s interest, the doctors aren’t. But maybe they are that way because of the DNR.

Thanks, we’ll keep this in mind, as we wait!


Curious, It’s really tough being the child and having to deal with parent issues. I hate you and you’re family are going through this. I remember what a trying time it was for us.

For our members, a DNR means Do Not Resuscitate. It cannot be reversed by family members as it is a legal document. It was a decision made by a patient with their doctor. It means the EMTs, the Hospital, etc cannot resuscitate for cardiac or respiratory failure. My mom hated that her’s and my Dad’s had to be posted where the EMTs could see it. She would take them down and shove it in a drawer. We were always trying to find them. Once she put them into her underwear drawer! Good thing I was doing the laundry.

I had a long talk with my parents about their decision for the DNR and knew they didn’t want any extraordinary efforts to keep them alive. Knowing what they wanted was very helpful when I had to have the discussions with the hospitals involved.

I’ve done a little research on your state’s DNR policies

When I ruptured, I didn’t slip into a coma. My partner was told that due to the severity of the bleed, they didn’t know if I would ever wake up and didn’t know what kind of shape I’d be in if I woke up. There are so many unknowns about the brain, it’s frustrating when we want to hear specific information and only receive generalizations. However, that’s the best any doctor can do for folks that have ruptured. I believe it’s got a great deal about the individual personality after the skill of the surgeon of course.

Perhaps you can have a family meeting with the doctors and the hospital Social Worker. Hospital Social Workers should be able to translate medical jargon into plain, simple English. Doctors and other medical personnel need to have a safety shield of sorts to deal with their jobs, more often than not, it gives the perception of them as not caring, being too distant, etc. if you don’t understand what the medical professional is saying, don’t agree with them, ask for clarification. If you still don’t understand, get the hospital social worker involved.

I think if you know what your Dad wanted, follow his wishes. It is still difficult but knowing you and your family did what you could to follow his wishes will make all the difference.

Please keep in touch, we are here to support you and yours.

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Thank you so much, kind people, for the support! My dad died last night, peacefully, in a coma. I asked the docs if people in coma are aware that they are dying or in pain, and they said that they most likely have no awareness or pain the way we would think of it - I tend to agree, if we’re not consciously processing something, we’re not aware of it. So most likely, my dad was simply in deep sleep drifting away.

The doctors said that my dad re-bled before the coiling processes, and that’s what really lowered the odds in his case, causing more brain damage.

He died so quickly, it’s almost like he was hit by a card - that’s what is most difficult for us at this moment, but it is also good that he didn’t suffer, at least consciously…

Thank you and all the best,

I wish you had had a better outcome. Thanks for sharing what you did. Praying for comfort.

I’m so sorry for your loss.

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Arthur, death sucks for those living. I truly hope you and yours can join together sharing wonderful and funny memories

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Sorry for your loss , Arthur…

Sorry for your loss, Arthur.

Sorry for your loss, Arthur.

I’m so sorry for your lost.

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

Sorry for your loss. I do not know about others experience but when I came out of coma I was not exactly aware of who had come and gone but somehow I knew I was loved and felt the comfort of the love. I hope your father experienced the same.

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