Wendy Delton, 17, took drugs at age 13 when her sixth grade friends bet her she wouldn’t.
For the next four years, the attractive, bedridden Ladenshire, England girl did not speak or open her eyes. She was fed through her veins, and she lost weight down to a scrawny 63 pounds.
Then, one morning, as her mother, Betty Delton, 41, was fluffing her pillow and stroking her hair, the teenager’s eyes suddenly flew open.
“Hi Mom,” she is reported to have said. “Nice day, isn’t it? What’s for breakfast?”
Her mother could barely speak she was so shocked. Then she said, “Whatever you want, dear. Cereal or eggs?”
Then the girl’s loving mother realized what had happened and went into a frenzy, shouting to her husband, Vince Delton, 44, “She’s awake! She’s awake!”
She also called the girl’s doctor, who had said that Wendy would never come out of the coma. And she called all of Wendy’s friends, inviting them to a huge celebration party that night.
But what has most amazed Wendy’s doctor, Melvin P. Upstone, M.D., is not the fact that Wendy came out of the coma, but the things Wendy has done since waking up.
“She’s quite a patient,” he says. “I’ve never seen one like her.”
She’s been doing things she could never do before.
Wendy now plays the harpsichord beautifully, and has even held a number of solo concerts. Before her coma, she had never had a music lesson in her life, and the harpsichord is considered to be one of the most difficult instruments to play.
“Her music is so beautiful,” says joyful Betty Delton. “We never even turn on the T.V. or radio anymore. We just listen to Wendy play. It’s so soothing to have a person with her talent around the house.”
She has also begun entering badminton tournaments, and winning them. She had never played the game before the coma.
“She’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever seen,” says Alice Regfroe, director of the UWBP (Union of World Badminton Players), and a foremost expert in the sport.
“Not only is she like lightening on her feet, but her reflexes are also quick as a flash.”
Wendy is also doing very well in school, making all A’s and planning to become a chemical engineer. Before her drug accident put her into the coma, she barely had a C average, and she hated school.
She has no memory or understanding of what has happened.
“I don’t remember being in a coma,” Wendy says. “I don’t remember being any other way than the way I am.
“When other people talk about the coma, and the change in me, I don’t even understand what they’re talking about. It must be like a blackout or something.”
Dr. Steve G. Peligront, Chief of Brain Research at the Action Coma Center in London, England, is studying the case. He believes that perhaps the drug/coma combination caused a chemical change to take place in Wendy’s brain cells that actually improves their performance.
“Her brain and body are definitely working better, and faster, and in a whole new way,” Dr. Peligront says. “But we don’t know exactly how and why that’s happening, and although we are very interested in finding out, we might never be able to.”