In today's Times of India, Chennai edition, there is a stunning article. Its on page 13 - "23 yrs in 'coma' but conscious all the while".
Rom Houben, a Belgian, a car crash victim was thought to have been in a coma for the past 23 years, but was conscious all the time. He had no way of letting doctors know that he could hear every single word they were saying. "I dreamed myself away" says the now 46 year old Houben. "I screamed, but there was nothing to hear" . . . . "Frustration is too small a word to describe what I felt". Imagine the claustrophobia of being locked up, fully aware, fully alert, within your own seemingly lifeless body.
It is only recently that doctors realised that his brain was functioning almost completely normally, and that he was fully aware of what was happening around him.
Houben, the article says, is never likely to leave the hospital. But he now has a special device that allows him to read books while lying down, and is able to tap out messages on a computer screen.
All this is wonderful. But what goes beyond the realm of miracles, and wonderment is the attitude of this man. Says Houben,
"I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me - it was my second birth. I want to read, talk with my friends via the computer and ENJOY MY LIFE now that people know I am not dead."
What a powerful lesson! The quality of life and enjoyment lies primarily within us, and not outside. For 23 years, imprisoned and lost to the world within his own seemingly lifeless body, Houben says he "dreamed of a better life". The power of the human spirit !!