PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It sounds like a nightmare: being alert and awake, but appearing as being in a comatose state to everyone else.
It does happen, and it's referred to as the Locked-in Syndrome
Robert Raschke, a critical care doctor at Banner Health, says the condition is very rare, but also very real. He says doctors have to look closely for it.
"That's one of the reasons why it's worrisome, because people sometimes kind of forget that this can happen," said Dr. Raschke.
Justin Stucks and his brother Brandon say they believe their grandfather experienced Locked-in Syndrome a year ago, after having a stroke.
"Thanking our lucky stars and praising the Lord, and just glad that he was back still trying to figure out what had happened," said Justin. "It was a mystery what everyone had gone through."
Dr. Raschke says a person who is locked in can hear and feel what's going on, but can't communicate anything. There is one sign, however, doctors can look for.
"They might only be able to move their eyes or sometimes blink their eyes, and that might be the only way you can communicate with them," said Dr. Raschke.
Most patients who become locked in, according to Dr. Raschke, will die from it, but he also says some survive the first 3 to 4 months with it.
And then, there's the unexplainable.
"There've been some kind of seemingly miraculous recovery that has happened very quickly, and I don't know that anyone fully understands those," said Dr. Raschke.
That's what the Stucks say happened to their grandfather. Bob Redmon is in his mid-80s.
"I was on the verge of dying," said Redmon. He went on to say he recalls specific details about certain parts of the horrifying experience.
"I remember them taking me off the bed," said Redmon.
"He could hear the nurses in the paramedics in the ambulance trying to find a vain," said Justin. "He could hear Brandon whispering in his ear, but he couldn't respond. Couldn't say anything because he was locked in. Locked into his body."
Justin says his grandfather was taken to the emergency room, and then to intensive care, where he miraculously started to talk. Since the family left, doctors weren't able to run tests to get a better understanding of what exactly Redmon experienced, but Justin wants families and doctors to know to check for the syndrome.
"The families that are going through this and also the patient that is locked in, never give up hope. Keep fighting," said Justin.