Man Spent 12 Years In A Coma, 'I Heard Everything' Including His Mother Saying 'I hope you die.'
Martin Pistorius was just a normal child with a huge interest in electronics growing up in South Africa. At the age of 12 a mysterious illness began to take hold of him. His symptoms were small st first. He developed a sore throat, then he began sleeping most of the time, and eventually he lost his ability to move entirely.
(Martin pictured far right, front)
Doctors came to the conclusion that Martin suffered from cryptococcal meningitis. They were unable to help him, so they sent him home with his parents and told them they should care for the boy until his death.
At home the family developed a procedure for caring for Martin. The parents bathed him, fed him, and flipped him every 2 hours to make sure he didn’t develop bedsores. During the day they sent him off to a care center.
Two years into his coma, Martin began to slowly regain consciousness, and by the time he was 16 he became fully aware of his situation. Despite being aware he was still not able to move his body at all. It would be 10 more years before he was able to communicate with anyone.
Unfortunately Martin spent his days with employees who cut corners with his care and abused him.
In his own words:
“It was horrific. Of course they [Martin’s parents] felt dreadful when they eventually found out and my father Rodney reported what happened but of course everyone denied it and as a result I have never had justice. People in the care home would pull my hair making my eyes water, the metal spoon would crash against my teeth as they forced food into my mouth.”
“When it made me sick they’d shout and scream at me. I knew if I cried it would only make it worse. I would be forced to drink scalding tea or fed until I was sick, then I’d be slapped, shouted at, made to feel worthless, then would come the sexual attacks from women who were supposed to be looking after me. One woman would come into the room and straddle me and simulate sex with me and touch me inappropriately. Nothing made me feel more powerless, I longed to run away.”
Martin recalls that another lesser form of torture was the countless hours he spent, wheelchair parked in front of a TV, being forced to watch Barney reruns. His most painful moment was when his mother visited his room and quietly told him, ‘I hope you die.’ She wanted his suffering to end.
Martin became good at disengaging from the terrible things that were happening around him; it was through necessity that he learned to tune things out. Instead of taking complete solace in escaping, he began to also attempt methods to engage his thoughts. Through these attempts he was able to slowly make neurological developments. When he was 25 (2001), he was much improved and his therapist began to notice Martin’s attempts at communication.
Martin’s situation continued to improve. He eventually met his wife Joanne, now a social worker, on the internet. They talked by email and, before long, she asked him to visit her in Britain. They married in 2009.
There is now so much fascination with his story that there is talk of a movie being made about him. He and his wife hope to be played by Matt Damon and Cameron Diaz.
Watch the video to learn more.