"A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain. It's the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-injured patient has been able to give answers clinically relevant to their care."
This is part of a post I made on a social network. I was like this a long time ago. Interest wasn't taken in me. I could blink for yes and no. Eventually my mother figured out that if she spoke and showed me a letter, I could blink yes or no for the letter and a word could be spelled.
When I came home from the hospital 4 years later, there was a white board that had been written on with the wrong kind of pen I found in a box. It was like a permanent marker and the word wasn't coming off. It said TYLENOL.
I was in pain...in a hospital. Days went by before my mother got there. She was the only one who would take the time to go through the entire alphabet, a few times, so I could blink yes or no to each letter, eventually spelling a word. Hospital staff tried it once, I failed, and that was it. They didn't do one thing my mother did-present it visually.
This is strange, but he says it here (3:48), "central auditory agnosia..."
To top it off, "Savant syndrome, both in the congenital and acquired types, provides compelling evidence of remarkable brain plasticity." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677584/ I've been able to progress (rapidly in the eyes of brain injury) because of this. Now I am able to write this...even if it is with one finger.
There is an important thing to remember with that man. He may not have been in pain at that time he communicated, but what about tomorrow? We don't know.