I was scrolling through the NPR news stories the other day and suddenly stopped on this headline, “Trapped In His Own Body For 12 Years, A Man Breaks Free”. Needless to say, I was curious, but soon I would be pretty terrified.
This was one of those stories that the longer you read it the more freaked out you became. Medical issues can come up in anyone’s lives and most of the time they are pretty unpredictable. Of course there are the obvious medical conditions that you can be avoided with diet and exercise but Cryptococcus meningitis, not so much.
Martin Pistorius was 12 years old when he became seriously ill resulting in Martin falling into a vegetative state after losing all bodily functions. The doctor’s had no real diagnosis for Martin and suggested Martin’s parents take him home to die. But Martin did not die, he continued to breathe and continued to live.
At this point in the story I’m already freaked by the sheer suddenness of the disorder and the idea that it could happen to anybody, even myself. These thoughts are always so over whelming when reading pieces such as these and the reactions are conflicting.
In several cases you are just glad to be healthy and that you are not going through what anonymous person A is or has gone through. In other cases you feel that fear of not being in control of your life and you react with a call to the doctor for a check up or you order a salad instead of that quarter pounder. Many people react differently to stories such as these and it is obvious why. Because this could truly happen to anyone.
Back to the story…
For the next 12 years Martin’s parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, took care of him. Bathing, feeding, transporting and rotate him so that he never got bedsores. Each and every day these loving parents cared for their son and each and every day they were tormented by this disease that took their son away from them. The parent’s will was tested. Joan, Martin’s mother even asked for him to just die as a way to end his suffering. She didn’t think he could hear her, but unfortunately, Martin did.
Martin said in his interviews with NPR, that a little over 2 years into his condition he started to wake up. He slowing became aware of his surroundings and later became fully aware of everything going on around him but was unable to communicate with others at all.
Martin stated “Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present again,” he says. “The stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that — totally alone.”
Martin started to feel better over time and began the long journey towards regaining control over himself. He is married now and living as normal of a life as possible after his condition.
Listening to this story we see how fragile life can be and how it can take a turn for the worse on such short notice. Enjoy life cause you never know when it can be taken away.
“I just enjoy life now. I just enjoy every morning I get to wake up.” – Nas