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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Erin Barker, coma survivor.

I was in a medically induced coma for two weeks at the age of 17. I remember being rushed to the emergency room, getting a CAT scan, then being placed in ICU. What I remember next and what actually happened next are two completely different things.

What I remember: I woke up in a hospital by the beach. I had to go to the bathroom really bad, but I wasn't able to communicate with the doctor. She gave me a pen and paper and asked me to write what the problem was. Then an alarm sounded and I was rushed to an ambulance. As I was waiting in the ambulance, I saw my mom walking on the pier to my room. A huge tidal wave came, I screamed and cried and then passed out.

I woke up in another hospital, watching the news about a tidal wave washing away a hospital. They were still looking for survivors. My mom’s name was on the list of people still missing. I cried. Random family members ran into the room. A couple minutes later my mom walked in as if nothing had happened. I cried hysterically. Then passed out. Once again, I woke up in another hospital room, this time, with my mom sitting beside me reading a book.

What actually happened: after I was placed in ICU, the doctors paralyzed me and put me into a coma, beacuse I was so sick and my body was fighting all the docs were trying to do to save me. I stayed at the same hospital, in the same exact room, the entire time I was out. Nothing eventful happened, just family coming in and out to see me and potentially say their goodbyes (it was touch and go for a couple days, apparently).

So no, waking up from a coma is nothing like waking up from a good sleep. Because the thoughts and dreams that go through your mind when you're in a coma feel so abso-freaking-lutely REAL, you would swear they are actual memories.

Waking up from a coma is scary. It's confusing. It feels nothing like actual sleep.

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