Martin Pistorius was diagnosed with Cryptococci meningitis and tuberculosis of the brain, a condition that would eventually see him lapse in to a vegetative state.
In January 1988, Pistorius had been living a normal life in South Africa, when one day he returned home from school complaining that he had been suffering from a sore throat.
His condition grew worse and eventually he lost all ability to move and speak and make eye contact with his family.
His physicians said he would die soon, but his parents didn’t lose hope that they proceeded with a daily routine. Every morning his father would get up at 5 a.m., dress Martin and take him to the care center.
It was their life for 12 years.
I cannot even express to you how much I hated Barney,
He also heard his mother say “I hope you die”, but Pistorius forgave him because he understands it came from her own desperation and sadness for his bleak existence.
Pistorius says he “woke up” two years into his coma, and was aware of everything thereafter – with his parents dressing him, bathing him and taking him to a care centre.
His body became his prison, but he was ultimately able to escape after spending years trying to communicate with the outside world.
His parents selflessly cared for him despite the bleak outlook,
always hoping that he might eventually regain consciousness.
His parents bought him a computer with a communications software package that allowed him to begin communicating with his family. His progress took off.
Martin taught himself to read and write. He graduated from university and, in 2003, was able to get a job.
In his book, “Ghost Boy: My Escape From A Life Locked Inside My Own Body”, Martin tells what he remembers from those 12 years. He says he thinks he began to wake up about two years into his coma.
Now 39, Pistorius has a job in a health centre and has even gotten married.