Region 8 Man Wakes From 19 Year Coma

July 10, 2003  - Posted at 7:46 a.m. CDT

Mountain View, Ark. --  A Stone County man who emerged from a coma after 19 years says he is eager to catch up with what's happened in the world.

Thirty-nine-year-old Terry Wallis spoke on June eleventh -- his first words since a 1984 traffic crash left him quadriplegic and comatose. As he slowly came out of his fog, he was able to communicate with grunts or blinks, although his family and caregivers couldn't tell how much he grasped of the world around him.

Propped up in bed yesterday at the nursing home where he lives, Wallis told a visitor that he loves to talk and is happy. But Wallis doesn't acknowledge, or wasn't able to explain, the long gap in his life. He says he never had an accident.

James Zini, the Wallis family doctor, says Wallis is coming to realize he is in a very different place than he was before his crash. Zini says he never thought Wallis would recover as much as he has. Yesterday, Wallis stared in awe at a digital image of himself and his mother on a visitor's laptop computer. He said he was amazed that he could look at such an image.

Wallis lost touch with the world the same year Apple introduced its Macintosh personal computer with a T-V commercial homage to George Orwell's novel ``1984.'' Wallis could recognize what a camera was Wednesday, but not the computer. Wallis' daughter, Amber, was six weeks old when the accident occurred. Now 19, he has visited with her and says she is pretty. Wallis says it is his goal to walk for her.

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