June 4, 2007 in Nation/World

Man awakens, finds ‘prettier’ Poland

Monika Scislowska Associated Press
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Grzebska
(Full-size photo)

WARSAW, Poland – A railway worker who emerged from a 19-year coma woke to a radically altered Poland and thinks “the world is prettier now” than it was under communism, his wife said Sunday.

Gertruda Grzebska, 63, said that for years she fed her husband Jan with a spoon and moved his body to prevent bed sores.

“For 19 years he did not move or say anything,” Grzebska said by phone.

“He tried to say things but it couldn’t be understood. Sometimes we pretended we understood.

“Now he spends his days sitting in a wheelchair and last weekend we took him out for a walk in his wheelchair,” she said.

“He was so amazed to see the colorful streets, the goods,” she said. “He says the world is prettier now” than it was 19 years ago, when Poland was still under communist rule.

“I could not talk or do anything, now it’s much better,” Jan Grzebski, 65, told in TVN24 Television in a weak but clear voice, lying in bed at his home in the northern city of Dzialdowo.

Wojciech Pstragowski, a rehabilitation specialist, said Grzebski was shocked at the changes in Poland – especially its stores: “He remembered shelves filled with mustard and vinegar only” under communism. Poland shed communism in 1989 and has developed democracy and a market economy.

In 1988, Grzebski fell into a coma after sustaining head injuries as he was attaching two train carriages. Doctors found cancer in his brain and said he would not live. Grzebski’s wife took him home.

Despite the doctors’ predictions, his wife never gave up hope.

“I would fly into a rage every time someone would say that people like him should be euthanized, so they don’t suffer,” she told local daily Gazeta Dzialdowska.

© Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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