Yep. I was a CNA, & I had one poor lil guy, in a coma when we got him. I remember it took about 4 of us to turn him and change him, because coma or not, he resisted....and OF COURSE the fam insisted on him having no Foley. He was a GT and always oozing....you know.
Anyhow...as time went on, though he couldn't move or speak, I could tell he was "in there." Eventually he got to the point where I knew him and he'd smile, crook a finger, and grunt. The other girls would call me when he got upset, because I could generally figure out what was the matter. I could change him by myself eventually, and soon I realized that he was glad to see me because I would pull him up high enough so his body wouldn't be all crunched up at the bottom of the bed, with the HOB still cranked up.
One day, I go in the room and my poor lil guy is drenched in sweat and white as a sheet, and I could tell he was glad to see me, but he was too weak to do anything. And dang! we have a new nurse on.
I said, "Look, this fella is not responding right and he's drenched in sweat." She says, "But he's unresponsive anyhow, and GT's always 'run hot,' so how do you know?" so we went round and round and finally one of the other nurses backed me up even though he wasn't her patient that night. We wound up shipping him out to the ER due to his Blood sugar (remember, he was on GT feeds continuous? and his BS shouldn't have been dropping like a rock.)
Anyhow, he came back that time, and then I really kept an eye on him, because if he could've talked, he would've, and I was able to "read" him, where the other girls just wanted to get outta there because he was a "heavy."
Sorry to ramble, but some of my favorite pts have been aphasics. They're so relieved to communicate, you know??
So if you get one, and you recognize that they're in there, and they're scared or frustrated, take the time to make sure that they know you will ALL be working with them to understand them, and that their progress will seem slow, but they WILL progress. Then grab their "good' hand and give it a good squeeze, and watch 'em cry with relief.
OK, I've rambled on long enough....
don't know what got into me....sorry