The man woke up from a 19-year coma and what he said worried everyone

A man who was in a coma for 19 years after a car accident woke up and was talking to his mother, who was sitting by his bed. Mr. Terry Wallis started with a few nouns, but gradually he found a flood of phrases.

“He started with ‘Mum’ and surprised her, then it was ‘Pepsi’ and then ‘Milk,'” said Alesha Badgley, director of the Arkansas rehabilitation center where Mr. Wallis was cared for. “Now that’s all he wants to say.”

His mother, wife Angilee Wallis, said it was a miracle: “I couldn’t tell you my first thought, I just fell on the floor,” she said.

Mr Wallis, now 39, was driving with a friend in July 1984 when their car went off the road and crashed into a stream. The pair were found under a bridge the next day – the friend was dead and Mr Wallis was in a coma.

His daughter Amber, who was born shortly before the accident, is now 19 years old. Mr Wallis became a quadriplegic as a result of the accident and said he was determined to walk again for her.

“It was hard to deal with, it was hard to realize that the man I married can’t be there,” his wife Sandi said. “The whole family missed his company.”

The silence ended when Mr. Wallis spoke his first word.

His father, Mr Jerry Wallis, said his son talks almost non-stop now, but it seems like time has stood still for him after the wreck – he still believes Ronald Reagan is president.

Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas at the time of the car accident.

Mr Wallis asked to speak to his grandmother, who passed away a few years ago, and even gave her phone number – something everyone else in the family had forgotten. “You see, it’s still in 1984,” his father said.

Mr Perry Wallis, Terry’s brother, said: “To put it bluntly, it was pure hell to see your brother lying there and not knowing if you’ll ever speak to him again.”

The time of recovery was “somehow strange,” said his father. “He broke on Friday the 13th and 19 years later on Friday the 13th he started talking. The man woke up from a 19-year coma and what he said worried everyone

James Brien

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