Many people today complain about the hard life: that they have to work hard, there is no sense of life, no happiness, nothing to strive for. I’ll tell you that: just look at the picture above and below. This guy just got out of a 12-year coma, he didn’t break down and he decided to move on. And today he has a house, a family, and a job he loves.
This is the story of one teenager with a complicated fate. His name is Martin Pistorius. This name has become an icon for many today: not only was he able to defeat death, but he proved to many people that the impossible is possible.
Today on his Facebook page you can find many similar comments:
Martin, I support you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, darling, that your story, your pain, your strength, the strength to endure, your courage to stand, your patience before difficulties will enable many people in different places of our planet to understand that there is always HOPE. And that you have to not just believe, but do… while being patient…
Martin himself is very grateful for everyone’s attention and willingly shares his memories of how he felt when he was in a coma:
“For many years I was not a man, but a ghost. I heard and saw everything. But it was as if I didn’t exist”.
To many people, everything that happened to this man may seem unbelievable, but it really was.
The Story of Martin and Coma
Martin Pistorius was born in 1975 in South Africa. He was a normal kid: healthy, active, intelligent, interested in electronics and doing well in school. In January 1988, Martin came home from school and said he had a sore throat.
A photo of the Pistorius family before the sad events. Martin is the eldest son, standing in the center between his parents.
His parents gave him medicine for his cough, then called the doctors. But Martin’s condition did not improve. Each day his strength left him, until he was exhausted. Within a few months, Martin lost the ability to walk, move, make eye contact, and speak. His fingers curled up like pincers and his eyes lost their meaningfulness. Then came the coma.
This was a big surprise, because a cold does not cause a coma. Doctors assumed that he had contracted cryptococcal meningitis (tuberculosis of the brain) and treated him for the disease. But the efforts were in vain.
After a while, the doctors admitted that Martin was in a vegetative state and that nothing else could help him. He was discharged from the hospital, telling his parents that medicine was powerless and that all that was left to do was to care for him and wait for the neurological disease to do its work and for Martin to die.
But the family didn’t give up.
For more than 10 years, Martin lay motionless in a coma in his home. All this time his loved ones took care of him. It would seem that he could not be helped. But his parents never lost faith. Neither did Martin himself. This is how he describes how he felt at that moment:
“After a while I began to feel that consciousness had returned to me. Yes, I could not move, but I began to vaguely distinguish light and sound. I was then seized by fear. I thought: why am I still alive in this state? Could I even be saved?”
Suddenly, after the boy turned 17, his consciousness recovered completely, and the cruel reality was revealed to him: he became an invalid. He began to have depressing thoughts that killed his last hope:
“You’re like a ghost watching life from the sidelines. You are there, but no one knows it”.
One time, his mother said aloud in despair that it would be better if he were dead. He heard everything and understood perfectly well his mother’s condition. It was the scariest moment of his life. It seemed to her that she was a bad mother and could not cope with anything.
The only person in the family who didn’t give up hope was his father. Every day he fed Martin, massaged his body, and dressed him. Every morning my father got up at 5:30 a.m., dressed Martin, and drove him to an institution. At the end of each day, he would wash his body in the bathtub, feed him dinner, and put him to bed. He set an alarm clock every two hours to turn Martin’s body over to prevent bedsores.
According to Martin’s recollections:
“Although my father was a formidable and brutish man, his hands always remained gentle. I tried to yell at him inwardly, trying to get his attention. But all was in vain”.
The only sign of life was a slight twitch of the elbow muscle. But Martin knew no one could see it.
Martin Pistorius lay unconscious for 12 years!
This is what his father says:
“For the first two years Martin was really in a vegetative state. Then he gradually regained his memories and his ability to think. But there was no way he could express it – he was trapped in his own body, as if in a tomb. However, it turned out that he remembered many things from a time when everyone around him thought he didn’t know what was going on”.
This is how Martin described this period:
“Everyone was so used to me being in a coma that they didn’t notice when I started being present again. It was like in the movies, when the hero dies and becomes a ghost, but he doesn’t realize it yet. That’s how I was aware that people were looking right through me. No matter how much I begged, screamed, or cried inside me, there was no way I could make them notice it. And I realized I was going to spend the rest of my life in complete loneliness”.
That’s how they lived for 12 years.
Those around him continued to consider him a “vegetable” who couldn’t hear or understand what was being said around him. It was especially unbearable when in the hospital they sat him in front of the television all day long to “watch” children’s shows all day long.
When rage filled the boy, his breathing would be intermittent. Then his father would ask: “Are you all right, little one?”. “But I just watched and prayed”, Martin recalled. According to Pistorius, he was constantly training his brain in solving math problems and examples.
Gradually Martin found something else to occupy his time with besides math problems. He learned to recognize time by the shadows on the walls and ceiling of the room. Gradually he learned to interact with the world in his mind. This is one of the greatest examples of what psychologists call resilience-the ability to overcome difficulties and stressful situations.
On reflection, he was also able to understand his mother’s cruel words:
“I realized that she simply could not cope with despair. She saw me as nothing more than a cruel parody of her beloved child, once healthy and cheerful. I understand that my mother did not say this out of spite. After all, she quit her job to take care of me and helped me learn a special computer program with which I can now communicate and work”.
One day a nurse noticed a glimmer of life in the patient’s eyes. And, miraculously, the disease began to recede.
Martin re-learned how to read and write, mastered the computer, then went to college, where he studied programming, and got a job at a government agency.
Today Martin communicates with other people by means of a computer that speaks the text he types. He graduated from high school, became a web designer and works in his specialty. In 2011, he wrote the book “Diving Bell and Butterfly”.
Martin is now 41. He has gained partial control over his body: his facial expressions and upper body movements have returned to him. He can also move around in a special wheelchair. His consciousness has fully returned.
In 2009, he married his sister’s friend Joanna. He created a family with her. They are happy together.
He likes web design, love computers, cricket and photography, loves animals, Formula 1 and prefers to relax at home. Martin doesn’t complain about anything. He is happy with his life and observes:
“You must to appreciate what you have today, because no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Our life can change at any moment”.
What can we add here? Martin, you are 200% right! God give you health and a long and happy life.