‘Blink Once If You Can Hear Me’: A Brain-Injured Man’s Remarkable Awakening


(LA Times) – Omar Salgado moved in slow motion as he turned toward the music. The radio on the nightstand was on a Spanish-language station. A Latin polka was playing. Salgado’s head shifted a mere three inches, with each quarter inch looking painfully difficult, as though his head were attached to his neck with corroded screws that might crack.

He hadn’t moved in the month since he’d been admitted to the Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility in San Diego. I had assumed Salgado wasn’t conscious and paid little attention to him. I was there to document the life of his roommate — a man who’d been on life support for nearly 16 years.

Salgado’s gaze had always been fixed on the ceiling — his emaciated body statue-like, his two legs wrapped together in a soft splint, and his arms folded across his chest as though a mortician had posed him. CONTINUE