After 4 Years into a Coma Hi Speaks Out About This Shocking Truth
In January 1988, 12-year-old Martin Pistorius of Johannesburg, South Africa, came home from school complaining of a sore throat. Nothing could prepare him or his family for what lay ahead. Pistorius soon stopped eating, slept most of the day, and experienced pain when walking. As time went on, he began to forget things – daily routines, facts, and faces. His muscles wasted, his arms and legs became spastic, and his hands and feet twisted until they more closely resembled claws. He eventually stopped speaking and fell into a coma.
(Photo caption – “You must die.” Those are the words Martin Pistorius’ mother spoke to him as he lay in a coma. Pistorius tells his tale of illness, recovery, and forgiveness in his 2011 autobiographical book, “Ghost Boy.”)
Pistorius’ parents took him to see doctors who treated him for various diseases ranging from tuberculosis to meningitis. After a year of tests and numerous drugs that proved unhelpful, doctors admitted they had no idea what was wrong. They chalked up his illness to an unknown neurodegenerative disease and advised his parents to put him in an institution.
When Pistorius reached the age of 14, he was taken to a care center during the day but was allowed to return home at night. During this time, Pistorius began suffering emotional, physical, and $exual abuse at the hands of his caregivers. Everyone assumed he was unaware of his surroundings and what was happening to him. That couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Around the age of 16, Pistorius began to emerge from his mental prison. Of his time in the coma, Pistorius said, “I lay like an empty shell, unaware of anything around me. Then, one day, I started coming back to life. Though my body and I were locked in an endless fight, my mind was getting stronger.” By the age of 19, he was fully alert and aware that he had been robbed of years of his life. He was still unable, however, to communicate that he was “awake.”
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One day, a caregiver of Pistorius’, Virna van der Walt, noticed he was reacting to certain statements and questions. He would smile, nod, or follow her with his eyes as she spoke. In July 2001, at van der Walt’s urging, Pistorius was taken to the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He was tested, and it was confirmed that he could respond to questions and commands. From that moment forward, Pistorius set about the task of rebuilding his life.
His parents bought him a computer and special communication software. His mother quit her job and dedicated her time to helping him. It was during this time that Pistorius forgave her for wishing him to die. He came to understand that her harsh statement had come from the guilt she felt over not being able to save him. She felt she had failed him.
Pistorius continued to improve his communication skills and started to regain upper body movement. In 2008, he met his current wife, Joanna, whom he married in 2009. As of 2011, Pistorius had regained some control over his head and arms and was able to communicate via text-to-speech software. It was during that year that his autobiography, “Ghost Boy,” was published.
(Photo caption – 2009: Martin Pistorius and his wife, Joanna, on their wedding day.)
Today, Pistorius lives in England with his wife and owns his own web design company. Upon reflection of his struggle, Pistorius says, “There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love. My life has encompassed all three, and I know the greatest of all is love. It’s lifting me closer to the sun than I ever thought I would fly.”