MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ark. - A man regained consciousness after spending 19 years in a coma as the result of a car crash, greeting his mother who was waiting at his bedside.
"He started out with 'Mom' and surprised her and then it was 'Pepsi' and then it was 'milk.' And now it's anything he wants to say," Stone County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center social director Alesha Badgley said Tuesday.
Terry Wallis, 39, had been at the center since the July 1984 crash.
His father, Jerry Wallis, said his son uttered his first word June 12, was able to talk a little a day later and has improved ever since.
Terry Wallis' wife, Sandi, said her husband was riding with a friend when their car left the road and plunged into a creek. Wallis and his friend were found the next day underneath a bridge. The friend was dead and Wallis was comatose.
"It's been hard dealing with it, it's been hard realizing the man I married can't be there," Sandi Wallis said. "We all, the whole family, missed out on his company."
Wallis' daughter, Amber, was born shortly before the accident. She is now 19 and Wallis has said he wants to walk again, for her. He is a quadriplegic as a result of the crash.
His mother, Angilee Wallis, called her son's return to consciousness a miracle.
"I couldn't tell you my first thought, I just fell over on the floor," she said.
While in a coma, Wallis spent most of his time at the rehabilitation center, but his family took him out for weekends and special occasions.
"The doctor said that's why he remembers things; we might have kept his mind going," Sandi Wallis said.
19 years !