Three little words changed an Arizona family’s entire outlook as they stood at their mother’s deathbed.
Doctors thought Lyndee Brown Pellettiere-Swapp, 47, was dying and would never wake from her coma. But soon after she was removed from life support, Pellettiere-Swapp said three words out loud: “I’m a fighter.”
The Daily Mail reports Pellettiere-Swapp was not brain dead but locked-in, a condition where she could hear things around her but was unable to respond or move.
Her family found her unconscious one day back in 2015 and rushed her to the hospital. She suffered several seizures, and after 12 days in the hospital, doctors said her organs were failing. They said the best option would be to turn off her life support, according to the report.
Doctors told her husband and children that she would never come out of her coma, and there was nothing more to be done.
So, on Oct. 29, 2015, doctors turned off her life support. Meanwhile, she said her husband was by her side whispering, “I need you to fight.”
Pellettiere-Swapp told CBS 5 that she heard everything that people around her were saying, including the plans to remove her life support. She said she remembered her niece coming into her hospital room and reading to her. She said she remembered doctors examining her and talking to her family about removing her life support.
But she was not able to respond until she almost died.
“In my head it was very clear what I was saying, but it wasn’t to them. I was finally able to get out ‘I’m a fighter,’ which is what my husband was whispering in my ear,” she told CBS5.
The Arizona mother has had a long and difficult recovery, with several hospital stays and surgeries since she awoke. Her husband and two children said they are so grateful she is alive.
“Just because you are not conscious does not mean you cannot hear,” she said. “So you should talk to your loved ones if you are in that situation. They hear you.”
While unusual, Pellettiere-Swapp is not the only person with this type of near-death experience.
Martin Pistorius was in a coma for 12 years before he woke up. Doctors said he was in a “vegetative state” and would die, but his parents continued to care for him. Slowly, Martin started to wake up, and no one around him noticed at first. Then, he squeezed someone’s hand and later began learning to sit up.
Pistorius eventually improved so much that he was able to attend college. Since then, he has started his own company and gotten married.
Massachusetts teen Dylan Rizzo is another example. After a devastating car crash in 2011, Rizzo slipped into a deep coma. Doctors said he was in a “vegetative state,” and his parents prepared for the worst. But he woke up. Five years later, the young man has made stunning progress. He now walks and talks and leads a relatively normal life.