A GALWAY woman who recently emerged from a semi-coma has spoken for the first time about the three years she spent frozen in state by a sneeze that would neither come nor go away.
Síobhan Ryan, 35, was enjoying a typical family day out at a local shopping centre on May 7th, 2012, when she became gripped by the sneeze that would change her life.
A tickle towards the back of her nostrils that began as a normal sneeze built up to the point where the mother of 3 arched her head back, getting ready for the sudden gush of air through her nose and mouth.
It never came.
Ryan found herself frozen mid-sneeze with her head cocked back at a 60 degree angle, unable to sneeze but also unable to exhale as normal. She would spend the next 36 months in this position, on the precipice of the sneeze that would set her free.
Doctors were initially baffled by her condition, thinking that perhaps she had taken a stroke or an aneurism. MRI scans revealed no brain trauma, and the Clifton native was left with no option but to wait until she finally sneezed out the particle of dust that had cost her three years of her life.
“You learn how to cope with it, after a while,” said Ryan, who finally sneezed last month. “Initially I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep… but after a few months you learned how to eat; soup, mostly, sometimes melted ice-cream. Then I could dress myself, make the kids their lunch for school, drive… it was hard to maintain relations with my husband during the time, but towards the end, we got the swing of things and we’re due our fourth child in a fortnight”.
The story of Ryan’s traumatic experience is to be adapted into a blockbuster Hollywood movie called Sternutation Impossible, with Reese Witherspoon already in talks to take the lead role.