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Terry Wayne Wallis: ‘The Man Who Slept for 19 Years’ dies at 57 on Tuesday

Terry Wayne Wallis: ‘The Man Who Slept for 19 Years’ dies at 57 on Tuesday

According to an obituary, Terry Wayne Wallis, an Arkansas man who spent 19 years in a coma before recovering consciousness and speaking in 2003, died last week. He was 57 years old at the time.

What made Terry Wayne Wallis paralyzed?

According to the obituary in Roller Funeral Homes, Wallis was in a vehicle accident with a buddy in his native state of Arkansas in July 1984, six weeks after his daughter, Amber, was born. According to the Associated Press in 2003, the automobile crashed into a creek, and the two were not discovered until the next day, below a bridge. Wallis’ companion was murdered while he was in a coma. He was quadriplegic as a result of the accident.

Wallis was in a coma for 19 years, until he spoke “mum,” his first word since he was unconscious, on June 12, 2003. According to Stone County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center social director Alesha Badgley, Wallis gradually regained awareness and was able to speak “whatever he wants to say” after regaining consciousness. Wallis was dubbed “The Man Who Slept for 19 Years” as a result of the media and medical attention he received subsequently.

How did Terry Wayne Wallis’s family react to his immobility and what measures did they take?

When Wallis finally awoke, his family overcame with emotion. “It’s been difficult to deal with it. It’s been difficult to accept that the man I married can’t be there,” Sandi, wife of Wallis remarked, breaking down in tears when he first spoke.

“I couldn’t tell you what came first; I just collapsed on the floor. It’s a miracle,” Angilee, the mother, stated at the time. In 2018, she passed away.

Wallis’ mother, Angilee, and other family members “cared for him ceaselessly during his coma and afterward,” according to the obituary. For years, his family brought him home on alternate weekends as physicians hoped it would help him wake up faster, as he still believed it was 1984 when he recovered consciousness. In 2018, his mother passed away.

Wallis enjoyed eating “anything at any time and especially drinking Pepsi,” according to his obituary. On March 29, he passed away in Big Flat, Arkansas.

“Terry was a master teaser who enjoyed teasing his sister. His family will miss his excellent sense of humor profoundly,” according to the obituary.

His father Jerry, daughter Amber, siblings and three grandchildren survive him.

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