A woman was sleeping for twenty years

The beginning of this wonderful story is not likely to shock  anyone. A young woman was living in one of the industrial residential areas of the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrosvk. The residential area was located close to the by-product coke plant. The walls of the buildings get dark of soot there and the air is filled with the smell of hydrogen sulphide. The memories of her childhood and youth were not good either.  Her family was dispossessed by revolutionaries in the 1930s, her husband died during the WWII, she lost her child as well.

After the WWII was over, she remarried and gave birth to a baby girl. The new husband liked to drink, so there were a lot of quarrels in their house. After one of them, Nadezhda Lebedina was crying and crying and then  she fell asleep.  It happened back in 1954. Nadezhda woke up twenty years later, in 1974. She doesn’t remember a thing of what was happening to her  during that really long period of time.

Ambulance took Nadezhda to the psychological hospital that was attached to he Medical Institute of Dnepropetrovsk. Doctors could not wake the woman up. They had to set up the pump way of nourishment and established the medical control over her.

No pathological changes were found during the medical examination of the patient. Her pulse was a bit weaker and the temperature was a bit lower than usual. Doctors addressed to the similar occasion, which was described by academician Pavlov.

He was watching patient Kachalkin, who spent 20 years of his life sleeping.  The sleep was not deep, Pavlov wrote that the patient could get  up and sit sometimes, keeping his eyes closed. Kachalkin was suffering from a very serious form of schizophrenia. Sleep became a reaction to the illness. This incident made Nadezhda Lebedina’s doctors diagnose the same – schizophrenia. Lebedina’s case history was destroyed. It is impossible to find out, how Lebedina’s condition was changing.  We know only one thing. Nadezhda’s mother lost any hope  in four years of her daughter’s sleep.  She made doctors check her out and then she took her home.

Years were going by,  Nadezhda's mother got older and she could not take care of  her sleeping daughter. Nadezhda’s daughter Valentina grew up and then decided to do another medical examination. Doctors came to conclusion that she was absolutely healthy.  They said that maybe it would be better to take her to a disabled people’s house, but when they said that, Nadezhda started sobbing.  Valentina got scared, she took her mother to her sister’s house.

She woke up several years later. Nadezhda Lebedina was taken to the hospital of psychological illnesses  of the Medical Institute of Dnepropetrovsk. At first Nadezhda could not believe that she was sleeping for twenty years.  She was  certain that she fell asleep yesterday. She just said that her dream was not very good, there was something unpleasant about it all the time.

It is amazing, but it took her only two weeks to get use to the new life. She recognized her daughter that had already become a young woman.

Doctors of psychology spent a lot of their time with her, but they did not manage to confirm the previous diagnosis. When Nadezhda woke up,  she looked as young as when she fell asleep. However, she was getting old very fast afterwards. A spokeswoman for the Institute said: “I could see her getting old in front of my own eyes! Every new day was marked with new wrinkles, her hair was getting gray. Biological clock was working very fast. She left our hospital in six months, and she looked according to her 54 years.”

Most of all, the doctors  were very surprised about the fact that  Nadezhda had no bedsores at all. American doctors from Wisconsin University used a special bed with aired mattress. The bed was used for the patient that fell asleep for eight years after a cranial injury.

It is strange that such a unique case was never exposed to the public eye, not even in the world of medicine. Nadezhda Lebedina is still living in the city of Dnepropetrovsk. She leads a usual life for an elderly woman.

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Author`s name Olga Savka