If you’ve ever “slept like the dead,” it was probably a good thing. In all likelihood, you woke up feeling refreshed, ready to tackle the day after a good nap. That is, unless you’re 91-year-old Janina Kolkiewicz, who was declared dead on November 6, sent to a funeral home, and woke up 11 hours later, very much still alive.
According to CNN, Kolkiewicz’s family called the doctor when the Polish nonagenarian had stopped breathing. The doctor then visited their home in the town of Ostrow Lubelski, pronounced her dead, and signed the death certificate. The family took Kolkiewicz to the funeral home, began planning the services, but then got a call from the funeral home.
“I checked the pulse on the forearm artery, carotid artery also,” said the baffled doctor. “I listened to the heart, to the breathing. I also examined the pupils. There were no reflexes. Typical symptoms of death.”
According to WebMD, there are several different symptoms indicating the approach of death. One to three months before death, the patient will sleep or doze more, eat and drink less, withdraw from activities, and be less communicative. One to two weeks before death, the patient will likely have increased pain, changes in vital signs, decreased bowel and bladder output, changes in sleeping patterns, temperature fluctuations, constant fatigue, and disorientation.
When death is within days, or even hours, a patient can experience decreased appetite and thirst, glazed eyes, drifting in and out of consciousness, irregular heart beat, and mottled bluish-purple skin around the knees, feet, and hands, which indicates that death will occur within 24 hours.
CNN also reports that authorities are looking into the case.
“We are investigating whether the doctor exposed the woman to imminent danger of loss of life, as the lady was moved to a funeral home and kept in cold storage,” said Beata Syk-Jankowska, a spokeswoman for Lublin’s prosecutor’s office.
Kolkiewicz told her family that she felt “normal, fine” once home, and apparently has no idea of the ordeal she went through.
“My aunt has no inkling of what happened since she has late-stage dementia,” said Bogumila Kolkiewicz, Janina’s niece.
Once back home, Kolkiewicz warmed herself back up from her time spent in a freezer with a bowl of soup and two pancakes — a great meal to have after coming back to life.