Awake After 19 Years

A man in Poland is awake after 19 years in a coma.

Railway worker Jan Grzebski, 65, fell into a coma after he was hit by a train in 1988.

"Now I see people on the streets with mobile phones and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin," he told Polish television.

He credits his survival to his wife, Gertruda, who cared for him.

Doctors gave him only two or three years to live after the accident.

Mr. Grzebski's wife, Gertruda, cared for him all those years, moving him every hour to prevent bed sores. That's devotion. She obviously took her "til death do us part" vow seriously.

Contrast Mrs. Grzebski with Michael Schiavo, who also had an unconscious spouse with (allegedly) no hope of recovery. Within three years he was trying to withhold treatment for a potentially fatal urinary tract infection; clearly he did not wish to be troubled by caring for Terri. Eventually he succeeded in starving her to death. Nonetheless, her fight goes on.

Life can be just as mysterious as death. Why do some people go into these comatose or vegetative states, only to wake up years later, while others linger a painfully long time and then die naturally? We do not know.

Maybe we cannot know, because He who gives life for reasons of his own also
takes life for reasons of His own. We aren't capable of understanding it, any more than a mouse can understand trigonometry. It is beyond our comprehension. What we do know is that we are expected to preserve life as much as we can, within our limited abilities. Mrs. Grzebski did so, and now she has her reward.

UPDATE: Here is a more detailed story from AP via AOL.

UPDATE 2: I see here that now there are conflicting stories about whether Mr. Grzebski was actually in a coma for 19 years or not. That is what BBC and AP say, and I can't find any record they have issued corrections. On the other hand, The Guardian apparently says he was injured and in a coma for only four years and has since been conscious. I don't know who is right, but to be fair I'm giving you the other version of the story.


Anonymous said...

Please do not compare this case to Terri's case. There are many differences - like Terri's brain was already dead - that's way some called her a "vegetable". Mr Grzebski's brain was about to die -that's what doctors said.
By the way, if you decide to be a part of society, you have to take responsibility for your choices, which sometimes affect your entire life. You have to "obey orders", respect the law, etc. Gertruda was lucky - because society gave her a choice: You take your husband with you (exclude from society) or his life will be terminated...
Regards from Poland,

Anonymous said...

Polish women are wonderful care givers; several of my friends have used them when elderly parents needed assistance, etc. Everyone of these women was kind, compassionate & thorough. Janek is a very lucky man!

Sandi Finck said...

This gives me so much hope! God is so good. My little girl was hurt in a car crash when she was 3 years old and is now almost 14. She laughs and cries appropriately. She loves knock-knock jokes! Her awareness is very much like the way Terri Shaivo was. I have seen video of Terri smiling at her mother and my daughter Brenna responds much the same way. My girl is NOT in a persistant veg state and neither was Terri-We have no right to determine when its right to end someone's life--that belongs to God. I will continue to love my girl and take care of her until the day she either walks to me or walks to Jesus. God is good all the time -- all the time God is Good!

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

Sandi, thanks for sharing your story. You remind the rest of us what a special calling motherhood is.

I will pray for both you and Brenna. There is always hope. Getruda Grzebski never gave up, and I'm sure you won't either.