June 2, 2007 / 1:05 PM / 11 years ago

Pole wakes from 19-year coma in democratic country

WARSAW (Reuters) - A 65-year-old railwayman who fell into a coma following in an accident in communist Poland regained consciousness 19 years later to find democracy and a market economy, Polish media reported on Saturday.

Wheelchair-bound Jan Grzebski, whom doctors had given only two or three years to live following his 1988 accident, credited his caring wife Gertruda with his revival.

“It was Gertruda that saved me, and I’ll never forget it” Grzebski told news channel TVN24.

“For 19 years Mrs Grzebska did the job of an experienced intensive care team, changing her comatose husband’s position every hour to prevent bed-sore infections,” Super Express reported Dr Boguslaw Poniatowski as saying.

“When I went into a coma there was only tea and vinegar in the shops, meat was rationed and huge petrol queues were everywhere,” Grzebski told TVN24, describing his recollections of the communist system’s economic collapse.

“Now I see people on the streets with cell phones and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin.”

Grzebski awoke to find his four children had all married and produced 11 grandchildren during his years in hospital.

He said he vaguely recalled the family gatherings he was taken to while in a coma and his wife and children trying to communicate with him.

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