MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Coma: Background information when reading Sometimes I Lie

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Sometimes I Lie

by Alice Feeney

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney X
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2018, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2018, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Coma

This article relates to Sometimes I Lie

Print Review

The central character in Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney is a woman in a coma.

A coma is defined as a prolonged state of unconsciousness during which a patient is completely unresponsive to stimuli such as light, sound or even pain. The person appears to be asleep but cannot be awakened.

The condition is generally caused by damage to the brain, but the injury may be the result of any number of things such as trauma, oxygen deprivation, infection, stroke, chemical imbalance in the body, or drug abuse. It may come on slowly or suddenly depending on its root cause, and recovery depends on how much harm was done to the brain before treatment could begin. Some comas, such as those induced by low blood sugar (aka a diabetic coma), can be reversed relatively quickly with the proper remedies, but others can result in the patient remaining in a permanent vegetative state or in death.

Needless to say, a coma is a serious medical emergency, and the sooner treatment can be provided the better the chances for recovery. When a comatose individual is brought to the hospital the first priority is to stabilize their physical body as much as possible (e.g., stop the bleeding in case of a head wound). It's then critical that the physicians get as much information about the patient as they can, so those bringing in the person should remember all they can about their state before the condition's onset: Were they coherent? What medications are they on? Is there any chance that they were abusing a drug? The doctors will then run physical tests such as checking to see if the person's pupils dilate or if they seem to feel pain. This is potentially followed by blood tests, a spinal tap and a CAT scan or MRI.

Patients with head injury are rated on the 15-point Glasgow coma scale (GCS):

  • Eyes – Rated on a scale of one to four, one meaning they don't open their eyes at all, four being they open their eyes on command.
  • Verbal – Rated on a scale of one to five; One means no sound at all, five equals normal communication.
  • Reflexes – Rated on a scale of one to six, with one being a totally unresponsive patient and six one that can obey commands.

Brain injuries are generally considered to be severe if the score is over 8-9, and minor if the score is 13 or higher.

There is evidence that some people can hear and think when comatose. In 2011 neuroscientists using a functional MRI (fMRI) - which displays areas of the brain that are in use when a person thinks or feels emotions – found a man who'd been in a coma for 12 years after an auto accident was actually able to hear and understand what was said to him. During the experiment, Dr. Adrian Owen asked him to imagine he was playing tennis, and the areas that one would expect to be active in his brain lit up. The process was repeated several times, with successful results, and allowed the patient some rudimentary communication with his family. Dr. Owen speculates that 15-20% of people in so-called vegetative states may in fact be fully conscious.

Most comas last a few weeks, and typically the longer a person is comatose the less likely they are to fully recover. Predicting how long one may last is difficult, but a 2015 study suggests that by monitoring the strength of neuronal communication it may be possible to tell when someone is emerging from the state. Another 2015 study found that those exposed to the voices of loved ones were more likely to regain consciousness than those who were not.

by Kim Kovacs

This "beyond the book article" relates to Sometimes I Lie. It originally ran in March 2018 and has been updated for the October 2018 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Black Cathedral
    The Black Cathedral
    by Marcial Gala
    Marcial Gala's The Black Cathedral, translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner, is narrated through...
  • Book Jacket: When We Were Vikings
    When We Were Vikings
    by Andrew David MacDonald
    In When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald, readers are first introduced to Zelda on her ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Build a Heart
    How to Build a Heart
    by Maria Padian
    Maria Padian is well-known for her motif of exploring teen reactions to social issues. Her novel ...
  • Book Jacket: Follow Me to Ground
    Follow Me to Ground
    by Sue Rainsford
    Ada and her father are human-like beings who age slowly and possess the power to heal all illness. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Sun Down Motel
    by Simone St. James

    The chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Red Letter Days
    by Sarah-Jane Stratford

    A striking novel about two daring women who escape McCarthy-era Hollywood for London.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.