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Waking up after 15 years in a coma, Spanish man has new perspective on euthanasia

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Forum Libertas - published on 06/30/14

He was also facing a world that had changed much over 15 years. The first time after leaving the hospital, he felt like he was dreaming. He wanted to go back to sleep.

"The first thing I said was, ‘What is this euro thing?’ I knew nothing of the euro; I was still with pesetiñas. When I first got into a car, I looked for the starter to turn it on. We always used to crank it up before.

"When I started to go out on the street, I was thinking, ‘People are crazy," he continued. “‘They are talking to themselves.’ And it turns out they were talking on their mobile phones. Or I saw a police car with a woman at the wheel and I thought I was hallucinating or she was wearing a costume for a holiday."

"In the car I had a cassette player and now there are CDs and pen drives…. Where the neighborhood of Los Rosales is today, it used to be all mountain terrain, and I used to train for motocross there. The highway didn’t exist; there was only the national road."

When he went to the bank he asked where the computer was. “In my time, it was a monster, and now they are these little things,” said Miguel, who worked as a programmer in Banco Pastor when banks were beginning to use computers. “The first day I read the newspaper, I said to myself, ‘I have to go to school to learn geography. The Czech Republic, Montenegro, Slovenia. But what countries are those?’ It was the USSR and Yugoslavia in my times. Germany was unified. I had my accident when Felipe Gonzalez was prime minister and I woke up with ‘zapatitos.’ Those were brutal years for technology in everything. Televisions were closets before and there were only two channels. In A Coruña, the movie theaters I knew are gone. So it’s all at once. I said, ‘What happened here? I’m going back to sleep.’"

But one thing remains the same: his passion for motor sports. He is struck by the devestating injury retired German race car driver Michael Schumacher sustained while skiing and is convinced that "he will recover well, with physical therapy and all that. I recovered well."

Now Miguel drives "a normal car without adaptations" and shows off all the trophies he won in the world of motocross.

He says that there are many cases like his, with desperate families that are doubting, that have lost hope. So his experience makes him an opponent of euthanasia.

"We should never lose faith. I was with a lady recently whose son had been in a coma for four years, and she was broken," he said. "And I told her my story and the lady was filled with hope."

He now lives a quiet life, enjoying the opportunity life has given him, though "a little desperate from spending all day doing nothing. I am hyperactive and the days seem like weeks to me." But he does not complain. There is not a single reason to complain: "As I say, now it’s like I’m 12 years old because I was born twice."

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