In 1991, Munira Abdulla picked up her 4-year-old son Omar from school. On this particular day, the 32-year-old’s vehicle collided with a school bus, leaving the mother with a serious brain injury that left her in a coma. Her young son suffered only a bruise to his head in the crash.
Omar, who is now 32 himself, never gave up hope that his mother would wake up, even though doctors said she would probably never regain consciousness.
But last year, Abdulla did wake up, according to a report in The National, a news outlet from the United Arab Emirates. Abdulla’s accident happened in that country, but she was in a hospital in Germany when she awoke last year.
“I never gave up on her because I always had a feeling that one day she will wake up,” her son Omar told the outlet.
He said Abdulla’s brother-in-law drove her to pick him up at school that day because “there was no bus at the school to take me home.” He said his mother sat with him in the backseat and saw the bus coming.
“When she saw the crash coming she hugged me to protect me from the blow,” he said, which is how he escaped with just the bruise.
He told The National he waited hours for help since they did not have a cell phone in 1991. She was finally taken to a hospital and then transferred to a hospital in London.
“She was completely unresponsive, with next to no awareness of her surroundings. Doctors diagnosed a minimally conscious state,” The National reported.
She was then sent back to a hospital in Al Ain, where she had lived before the accident. There, she was tube-fed and put through physiotherapy to keep her muscles from deteriorating, The National reported.
Omar would visit his mother every day, walking more than a mile to see her. He said he spent hours with her each day and could tell whether she was in pain, even though she couldn’t speak. He said it was tough to hold down a job due to his mother’s condition, but he didn’t regret anything.
“I never regretted it. I believe that, because of my support for her, God saved me from bigger troubles,” he told The National.
In 2017, the Crown Prince Court learned of Abdulla and provided the family a grant to transfer Abdulla to a hospital in Germany for more treatment. There, she received a surgery to treat her limb muscles and help for her epilepsy.
“We did not even ask for the grant. I am grateful to Sheikh Mohamed [bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi] for that. Our leaders are always supportive in such situations and we are thankful for it,” Omar told The National.
Dr. Ahmad Ryll, a neurologist in Germany who treated Abdulla, said the hospital’s “primary goal was to grant her fragile consciousness the opportunity to develop and prosper in a healthy body, like a delicate plant that needs good soil to grow.”
Omar said he got into an argument in Abdulla’s hospital room over a misunderstanding in June last year. He said his mother “sensed” he “was at risk, which caused her a shock” and caused her to start making sounds. Doctors said nothing was out of the ordinary.
Three days later, Abdulla started screaming the names of people she knew — including Omar’s.
“She was calling my name. I was flying with joy. For years I have dreamt of this moment, and my name was the first word she said,” he told The National.
He’s now able to converse with her as she continues to undergo treatment, now in Abu Dhabi. She has also been able to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which was built 16 years after she went into her coma.