Shared screenwriter Abi Morgan reveals her partner didn’t recognize her when he woke up from a coma

One of the UK’s leading screenwriters has revealed how she coped with a real-life ‘twist’ when her 18-year-old partner awoke from a coma but didn’t recognize her – saying that it had made him feel like his life had been ‘robbed’.

Emmy-winning Welsh writer Abi Morgan, who penned such hits as The Hour, The Iron Lady and current BBC drama The Split, has penned a candid memoir about the trauma she faced when her partner, actor Jacob Krichefski, 49, came out of a coma but believed she was “an impostor working for the state”.

Months later, she would undergo a mastectomy and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer while her partner was still hospitalized.

In her new book, This is not a Pity Memoir, Morgan, 54, recounts how her family’s world was turned upside down in June 2018 when the father of her two children, who has MS, was found on the bathroom floor bathroom from their home after suffering a reaction to drugs he was taking as part of a trial.

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screenwriter Abi Morgan, who has won a BAFTA and an Emmy for her work which includes The Hour, Iron Lady and current BBC series The Split, has penned a memoir about how her family’s life changed forever when her longtime partner Jacob Krichefski woke from a coma but failed to recognize her (Morgan pictured with her two children and partner Jacob Krichefski in 2015)” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Welsh screenwriter Abi Morgan, who has won a BAFTA and an Emmy for her work which includes The Hour, Iron Lady and current BBC series The Split, has penned a memoir about how her family’s life changed forever when her longtime partner Jacob Krichefski woke from a coma but failed to recognize her (Morgan pictured with her two children and partner Jacob Krichefski in 2015)

One of the UK's leading screenwriters, Morgan, 54, has written a book, This is not a Pity Memoir, about how his partner developed a condition called Capgras delusion, in which sufferers believe that 'a person they are close to has been replaced by an impostor

One of the UK’s leading screenwriters, Morgan, 54, has written a book, This is not a Pity Memoir, about how his partner developed a condition called Capgras delusion, in which sufferers believe that ‘a person they are close to has been replaced by an impostor

The writer told Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett this week that after he was “lit up blue” in hospital, Jacob’s condition was so serious that the doctor caring for him warned Morgan that his partner could die that day.

However, after a series of tests, none of which could conclusively show what was wrong with Jacob, and continued seizures, he was transferred to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

After he developed brain inflammation, his body began to slowly shut down, forcing doctors to put him in an induced coma – from which he would not wake up until January the following year.

Speaking to Woman’s Hour, she said the moment she realized Jacob no longer recognized her left her in a state of “shock and hysterics”.

He had developed Capgras Syndrome, a rare type of delusion where a person feels that someone, sometimes themselves, has been replaced by an impostor.

Although delirium can extend to pets and even personal items such as possessions, it often centers on someone close to the patient.

In 2018, Morgan's partner, actor Jacob Krichefski, collapsed at the family home after suffering an adverse reaction to trial MS drugs that would leave him in a coma.

In 2018, Morgan’s partner, actor Jacob Krichefski, collapsed at the family home after suffering an adverse reaction to trial MS drugs that would leave him in a coma.

Morgan, pictured with author David Nicholls, at a publicity event for her memoir, said writing the book gave her

Morgan, pictured with author David Nicholls, at a publicity event for her memoir, said writing the book gave her ‘a safe place’ to process what happened to the family

She said: “It’s a great twist. I mean, it sounded like a cliche. But deep down, when Jake woke up, I quickly realized that the only person he no longer recognized was me.

Describing how she felt like her life had been ‘burglarized’, she said: ‘I’m a playwright so I’m aware of the drama but I can also feel the trap in my [throat]…you know it’s still pretty alive for me. It was so shocking.

She said Jake’s waking joy turned into a surreal nightmare, heightened after a romantic build-up: ‘I bought him a really cheesy bright red balloon heart for Valentine’s Day and gave it to him and the nurse had bought a really awful red rose wrapped in cellophane for me and very kindly gave it to me saying, ‘Jacob, you know, that’s your wife.’

Morgan was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2019 and underwent treatment including a mastectomy while her partner remained in hospital (pictured in 2017 at the British Academy Cymru Awards

Her memoirs of the family's three-year ordeal

Morgan was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2019 and underwent treatment including a mastectomy while her partner remained in hospital. Right is her memoir of the family’s three-year ordeal (pictured at the 2017 British Academy Cymru Awards, right is the cover of her memoir)

Morgan is the author of the hit BBC series The Split, starring Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan

Morgan is the author of the hit BBC series The Split, starring Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan

She continued: “And he said, ‘That’s not my wife.’ that someone close to you has been replaced by an impostor.

In the book, she documents how he told her, “I know you’re not who you say you are” and asked, “Why do you have such an interest in my children?”.

What is Capgras Syndrome?

Capgras syndrome is a rare type of delirium where a person feels like someone, sometimes themselves, has been replaced by an impostor.

Although delirium can extend to pets and even personal items such as possessions, it often centers on someone close to the patient.

Source: Stroke Association

She says it took a year – and a grueling amount of work – to persuade Jacob that “I wasn’t working for the state and was actually his long-term partner.”

While still recovering in hospital, Morgan was diagnosed in April 2019, with breast cancer and a mastectomy and chemotherapy followed. The Welsh writer is now recovering.

In an interview with The Observer earlier this month, she said writing her memoir was a safe place where she could “make sense” of what happened to the family for the couple’s children.

She said: “Primarily I did it because I was losing my mind and trying to maintain my sanity.

“I was very, very scared and I didn’t want my children to be scared; I thought if I could save it all and write it down for them to read…that they might feel that [a book] was a safe place, as if it were there rather than here.

This is not a Pity Memoir by Abi Morgan is out now