It’s a pretty difficult thing to accept a poor medical diagnosis given to a close family member.
But, no matter what the doctors tell you, there’s no doubt that having hope makes everything better. The possibility of a miracle happening really keeps people going and this was the case for one Colorado family…
Who Is Christa Lilly?
When she was 43, Christa Lilly worked as a nursing assistant and she had four wonderful daughters. But in 2000, Christa went into cardiac arrest and immediately plunged into a coma-like vegetative state.
Due to Christa’s heart attack and stroke, her brain was deprived of oxygen and family members did not know what her fate would be. Christa was diagnosed with an abnormality in her heart’s electrical system and everyone thought she was dead…
Not A Coma
Medics were able to revive Christa, but sadly she remained in a coma-like-state. Doctors told the family they could expect Christa to live on in a continuum of consciousness. She would not be in a coma per se, but she would be unable to communicate with her loved ones or feed herself.
The Family Was Devastated
Hearing Christa’s fate broke her mother, Lucille Smith’s heart. Lucille was a Colorado health-care administrator herself and she brought her daughter to a Colorado Springs nursing home where she knew she’d be well taken care of…
Christa remained “minimally conscious” for the next six years! Her eyes were open, but they were focused on the ceiling all day and her body is rigid. Christa had no true awareness and had to be fed through a tube into her stomach.
One Fateful Morning
Every day for more than six years, Minnie Smith greeted Christa with the same question and every day it went unanswered. But one Sunday, that all changed when Minnie walked into Christa’s room to kiss her good morning.
Was She Awake?
Minnie said: “Hey babe, how you doing today?” and not expecting an answer, Minnie stroked her 49-year-old daughter’s hair. All of a sudden, Minnie heard Christa reply, “Fine,” as if nothing had happened.
Is It 1986?
Christa told her mom that she thought it was 1986 and that George Bush Sr. was in charge of the White House. Once Minnie told her that she’d been asleep for years, she asked: “I have? Why didn’t you wake me up?”
A Family Reunion
Literally blown away by what was happening, Minnie immediately called over Christa’s four daughters and the three grandchildren she had not yet met. She had a large appetite and when Minnie asked her what she wanted to eat, she said, “Anything.”
She wound up eating fried catfish and hush puppies at a local restaurant and she enjoyed every bite of her food. She also spent every waking minute with her family who she had not seen in years.
For the next three days, Christa was alert, mobile, and lucid. She spoke with her family and ate and cracked jokes. On the third day of Christa being awake, she was asked to give an interview to a local television station in Colorado.
She Was Gleaming
Christa spoke of her joy at being able to eat cake and hug her children, saying, “It’s wonderful. It makes me so happy.” But, the following morning, Minnie went into the room and said to Christa: “Hi baby, how you doing?” and Christa looked at her with a blank stare.
Just as easy as Christa woke up, after three days, she lapsed back into the mysterious state she was previously trapped in. Minnie knew she had gone back in, and this heartbreaking reversal was not the first time Christa woke up and returned to a twilight somewhere else.
Not The First Time
Eight months after sinking into her “minimally conscious” state, Christa showed her first sign of wakefulness. Minnie was at the table getting ready to fix her food and then she heard a voice…
That episode lasted under one hour and since then it has happened four more times. For many years, Christa saw her longtime neurologist Dr. Randall Bjork and when he heard her voice for the first time, he was speechless! “I’ve never seen this cyclic kind of awakening,” he said.
Christa herself seems to have little memory or true understanding of what is happening to her. When Christa awakened in March, her daughter Chelcy picked up right where she left off with her mom…
Missing Her Mom
“I felt like I could still tell her things I’ve been meaning to tell her…Like how much I missed her…It’s like Christmas hearing her voice and being able to talk to her.”
No Real Explanation
Despite, Christa’s incredible awakenings, doctors can’t offer the family any real prognosis or glimpse into Christa’s future. Dr. Bjork says that there’s really no reference point in any medical literature. “Christa’s brain is on the ropes, so to muster enough energy to have three days of conversation, she has to be in relative hibernation for months.”
It’s Better Than Nothing
This does not take away from the fact that Christa waking up at all has been a true miracle. No matter how short the time is that she is awake, a few days in 7 years is better than nothing.
It’s A Miracle
Similar cases to Christa’s have stunned doctors in the past, and many of the victims woke up as if nothing had happened. Sometimes there are just some things that not even medical literature can explain…