Man Wakes Up After Being In Vegetative State For 12 Years


It was the late 1980s. Martin Pistorious, only 12 years old at the time, was initially hospitalized with what doctors diagnosed as Cryptococci Meningitis. The boy’s condition quickly worsened, ultimately leaving him unable to move or speak.

Doctors ended up delivering heartbreaking news to the boy’s parents, telling them that their son’s time was limited and he would likely never be anything more than a vegetable. The parents were told by the hospital to keep Pistorious as comfortable as possible until he inevitably died, according to NPR. That day, however, never came.

“Martin just kept going, just kept going,” Pistorius’ mother, Joan, said.

PistoriusRodney Pistorius said the next 12 years were often difficult. He told NPR that he would wake up every morning and dress his son, then take him to a special care facility. At the end of the day, he would pick him up and take him home. When they returned home, Rodney would “bathe him, feed him, put him in bed, set my alarm for two hours so that I’d wake up to turn him so that he didn’t get bedsores.”



 Joan said that the pain of seeing their son in such a state was so unbearable that she once told him she hoped he’d die. “I know that’s a horrible thing to say. I just wanted some sort of relief,” she said.

For years, Pistorius’ condition never improved. One day, however, he began to emerge. Suddenly, while still being unable to talk or move, he was aware of everything going on around him.

“Yes, I was there, not from the very beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state,” Pistorius said. “I began to wake up. I was aware of everything, just like any normal person. Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present again. The stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that — totally alone.”

Pistorius described being trapped in his own body as an often dark and lonely experience.

“You don’t really think about anything. You simply exist. It’s a very dark place to find yourself because, in a sense, you are allowing yourself to vanish,” he said. “As time passed, I gradually learned to understand my mother’s desperation. Every time she looked at me, she could see only a cruel parody of the once-healthy child she had loved so much.”



Pistorius even recalled thinking at one point becoming convinced that no one would ever be able to love him.

Martin_Pistorius_FeaturedAs time progressed, Pistorius began to improve thanks to “inexplicable neurological developments and a painstaking battle to prove he existed.” He is now married and lives in Harlow, England. He published a memoir about his life titled “Ghost Boy: My Escape From a Life Locked Inside My Own Body.”

Pistorius said that he remembers nearly everything that happened around him during his initial period of awareness, and particularly remembers the care center constantly playing reruns of Barney.

“I cannot even express to you how much I hated Barney.”

Sources: The Blaze, NPR



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