The Woman Who Went to Sleep and Woke Up 30 Years Later

On Nov. 22, 1963, 50-year-old Annie Shapiro of Toronto, Canada was watching news reports on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on her black-and-white set when she suffered a massive stroke. For the next two years, Mrs. Shapiro was totally paralyzed, with her eyes staring wide open. Annie’s husband wouldn’t let her go. In fact, he took her home from the hospital and watched over her all on his own, eventually getting her to the point where he could get her out of bed for a short walk every day, even though she wasn't cognizant. As the years passed, the Vietnam War ended, astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, communism collapsed, and the world entered the computer age. During her long sleep, Mrs. Shapiro’s body began breaking down. She had cataract surgery, a hysterectomy, and a hip replacement. Amazingly, on Oct. 14, 1992, she suddenly awakened from her coma. The first person she saw was her husband. Needless to say, she was stunned by her husband’s aging face, but then she quickly said, “Turn on the television. I want to see the I Love Lucy show.” Her next shock came when she saw that the program was now in color. Dr. Glenn Englander, who was treating Mrs. Shapiro for high blood pressure the day before she awakened from her coma, called her recovery a miracle. "I gave her something to lower her blood pressure," he said. "If I did something unknowingly to help her, I’d like to find out so I can do it for others.” The most touching part of the miracle was the renewed romance between Shapiro and her husband, who had cared for her all those years, refusing to have her placed in a nursing home.