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Chemical bodybuilder wakes up after weeks in coma

Imagine your last memory is lying in bed at home and getting up to go to the toilet. But you can't walk so you try to crawl. Your muscles won't work and you fall. You get up and fall down again. You try once more again you fall. And then you wake up in a hospital bed. A doctor asks if you can move your tongue. Six weeks have passed.

Chemical bodybuilder wakes up after weeks in coma
That's what happened to a 43-year-old bodybuilder. British doctors, who treated the man during his 14-week stay in hospital, wrote an article about his strange case. When we read it we had a feeling that guardian angels really exist.

The man earned his money as a bouncer. He was a fanatical weight trainer and had a well-muscled body. On the day that he collapsed at home he had drunk a glass of vodka and smoked some cannabis. But the amounts involved were so modest that they could not have caused his coma, the doctors write. The steroids he was using are more likely to be the cause.

On the day that the man fell into a coma he'd already had diarrhoea for five days. He was also in the middle of a course of steroids. He was injecting trenbolone, testosterone propionate and boldenone on separate days, and then repeating the cycle. On the seventh day of the week, he didn't inject that was his steroid-free day off.

The man used not only coke and sleeping pills, but also all sorts of other substances to fight the side effects of the steroids. Below is a list of all the substances the doctors found in his house.

Chemical bodybuilder wakes up after weeks in coma

After the man was admitted to hospital, unconscious, the doctors examined his blood. They found nothing that could explain his coma. The man had a slight temperature but his heart showed no abnormalities. His insulin and glucose levels were normal, but his haemoglobin count, 7.7 g/dl, was on the low side. A normal, healthy adult male has a haemoglobin level of 13.6-17.7 g/dl. The man did have a high white blood cell count.

Initially the doctors put the man on a respirator, but took him off it when they discovered his coughing reflex was good. And that's when things went wrong. His heartbeat became irregular and he seemed to be in pain. The doctors saved his life by giving him glyceryl nitrate, which widens the arteries.

Six days after being admitted to hospital, the man had no reflexes, although he was breathing unaided. An analysis of his electro brainwaves suggested non-specific toxic or metabolic encephalopathy. But what had caused the poisoning the doctors couldn't work out. They tested for opiates, benzodiazepines and cytadren, took marrow samples to check for antibodies and examined his blood again all to no avail.

After 6 weeks the man miraculously regained consciousness. In the weeks that followed he made an almost complete recovery and 14 weeks after his admission he returned home. When the doctors saw him a year later, he had returned to work. He had made a complete recovery and had no symptoms.

The doctors have no explanation for his case. They suspect that it had something to do with the steroids he was taking, but exactly how they don't know.

We are not doctors, but we find it strange that the man's haemoglobin level was so low. Haemoglobin is found in red blood cells and nearly all anabolic steroids stimulate the production of red blood cells. We also know that heavy metals interfere with the production of haemoglobin by red blood cells. And we know that, although many underground labs work carefully, some steroids produced in underground labs contain arsenic and heavy metals. Perhaps a couple of faulty ampoules might be the explanation for this bizarre case?

Journal of the Intensive Care Society Volume 11, Number 4, October 2010, 261-264.

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