5 Coma Patients Who Woke Up With Insane New Skills

I've never been in a coma before, and I feel this is significant because I have actually seen the movie Divergent but managed to stay fully conscious for the whole experience and afterward, which I don't think is entirely common. That said, I also don't know a lot about comas except that they're super convenient plot devices for poorly written TV shows and that Uma Thurman woke up from one and then proceeded to kill Bill plus all kinds of other people.

For the most part, coming out of a coma after an extended period of time is considered pretty miraculous, and while I don't want to take that away from any coma patients and their families, I found out that your brain can do some awesome stuff when you're shut down for an extended period of time, like it gets bored because your body went out of business and just starts fucking around and then gets caught with its pants down when you wake up and suddenly you speak a new language. If waking up is impressive, waking up with new language skills is super impressive. And that's not even all that can happen! There's a whole menagerie of nuttiness that can go on in your noggin when you're out like a light. Just look!

#5. Cheese And Cussing

Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

I wanted to love this story the way a parent loves a child, but now I can only love it the way a TLC executive loves a client, which is to say with malice and an eye toward unwholesome exploitation, and that's solely because I am unable to source this to anything beyond The Daily Mail, which basically means some Englishman probably thought this up while drinking hard cider on a toilet at 5 a.m.

Sinisa Botas/iStock/Getty Images
Pictured: The average Daily Mail editorial meeting.

There's a chance the story is legit; I mean, there really was a boy who had a brain bleed and went into a coma. This site does a great job of exploring that story about him and his family, but they never mention cheese.

So let's assume that our drunken toilet scribe from The Daily Mail actually picked up on a legit tidbit about this story and exploded it into a much larger and less relevant story than how this boy survived a traumatic event. It could have happened. Maybe. And what could have happened was this: After 15-year-old Kai Thomas suffered a brain bleed, doctors put him in a medically induced coma. When he woke up, he had lost his ability to speak for a time, and then, inexplicably, when he'd remastered it he also mastered the art of cheese worship and swearing.

According to the Mail story, Kai would just go on cussing and cheese benders, something usually reserved for only the most dour of dairy farmers after their milkmaids leave them for handsome, young yogurt barons. His mother was noticing cheese missing with nary a mouse in sight, and he could be heard in his room screaming things like, "F***, b******, s***." That's a direct quote right there and may, in fact, mean he was heard to say, "Flop baboon stew." That's Gaulish for "fuck bastard shit," which, if you recall your Gaulish history, was the war cry of Vercingetorix. Best damn war cry in history.

Wikipedia
Vercingetorix was the Arverni chieftain at the oppidum Bibracte. None of these words are made up.

All things being equal, the mouth of a stevedore and the appetites of Timer from Schoolhouse Rock are probably some of the least awful side effects one could end up with after a brain injury and a coma, so really everyone should be pretty happy.

#4. Mandarin

Anil Bolukbas/iStock/Getty Images

They say Mandarin is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, but all those Chinese toddlers who are burbling out stories about puppies might have a thing or two to say to you about it. In Mandarin. So you won't understand. That being said, back in 2014, Ben McMahon, an Aussie who was not fluent in toddler Mandarin or any other form of the language, awoke from a coma after a serious car accident able to write and speak in Mandarin.

Network Ten via YouTube
It is entirely possible that this is just the Aussie news' racist way of saying he was speaking gibberish.

McMahon had taken Mandarin in high school but had never kept up with the language and really couldn't speak it at all. After his accident, he spoke it so well that native speakers have pointed out he's the best non-native speaker they've ever heard. After his abilities to speak English returned, his skill in Mandarin remained, so he put it to use studying in Shanghai, hosting a Chinese-language television show, and offering Mandarin tours of Melbourne.

Basically, the coma turned McMahon into the X-Man Cypher, a somewhat obscure hero who has one of the most useless powers in the superhero universe but arguably one of the coolest powers to have in real life: the ability to instantly pick up another language. Of course, it only worked that one time, unless McMahon is holding out on us and speaks every language suddenly, but that's probably not the case. Still, picking up a language while you're riding a hospital bed is pretty badass.

Janice Carr/CDC
Better than picking up a superbug, which just grants you the power to die.

So how does a guy who barely understood Mandarin in high school become fluent while being totally unconscious? His doctor offered the super scientific explanation that his "English circuits got cut" so his Mandarin ones took over. That man performed surgery on him!

#3. French McConaughey

Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

I'm so sorry that this is another story that came from the Daily Mail, which is like asking a chimp if it's seen anything newsworthy and hoping that some of the shit it slings at you is filled with nuggets of interest rather than nuggets of what I'd normally say should be corn, but I can't imagine monkeys eat corn. Do they? Any zookeepers out there? Would a chimp have any kind of nuggets, besides nuggets of interest, in its stool? Something for us all to Google later on, hmm?

Wesley Jenkins/iStock/Getty Images
Nope, gonna look now.

Despite this being a Daily Mail story, I can say for sure it's based on real events, because I totally researched that shit. I'm like Vondie Curtis-Hall in Daredevil up in this bitch. Only if Vincent D'Onofrio murders me, I want you to tell people that Vincent D'Onofrio murdered me. And if I get murdered but you don't know who did it, please go check with Vincent D'Onofrio first. Oh, spoiler. Sorry.

Anyway, Rory Curtis was in a pretty bad car accident back in 2012 when his van flipped over and five more cars slammed into it. The resulting trauma left him in a coma for six days, after which he woke up completely fluent in French, a language he hadn't spoken in years and had only taken in high school because he was forced to.


He may have also just been super handsome.

At this point we have a slightly less impressive version of our friend who learned how to speak Mandarin because, no offense French, but you're no Mandarin. Somewhat more awesome, however, is that Curtis also thought he was Hollywood Bohemian Matthew McConaughey.

Now, most of us have probably imagined what life is like as Matthew McConaughey at one time or another -- would you smell like musk all the time or just in the evenings? Do you eat things while they're still alive? Do you kill people because you're freeing them from mortal concerns, or do you just play them bongo solos and take them on peyote trips to ethereal dimensions of the mind? Curtis was just convinced he was McConaughey and was in need of getting out of the hospital so he could get back to his schedule of making films. And since this was back in 2012, there's a chance he was eager to go out and star in Magic Mike.

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