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Monday, December 17, 2007

Locked-In

Imagine being awake and unable to move or communicate with the outside world. How would you cope with the knowledge that life would never be the same?

I can't imagine the panic, fear, and self-hating that this condition creates. Healthy enough to continue living, yet unable to do the things that most people take for granted.

It's something that I think about from time to time. Life is crap, most certainly, but imagine how much worse it could be. The condition termed, "Locked-In" is beyond horrifying.

There's a movie out now called,"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," about a Former Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominque Bauby who succumbs to this condition.

Bauby never regained the ability to talk or move, but communicated by blinking his left eye. It worked as follows: Bauby would blink his left eye, when a therapist presented him with the correct letter. Although it's a painfully slow way to communicate, Bauby perfected the technique to the point of being able to write a book about his experience.

Scientist thankfully are working hard on new devices and techniques to help these patients. Perhaps some day, it will be possible for them to communicate through a voice synthesizer. Most likely, they still will be trapped in their bodies, but at least they would be able to talk.

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