Modern medicine has made it possible to push back the borders of human physical limits so that tiny premature babies, the frail elderly, and the gravely sick and wounded can live longer, and productive, lives. One consequence has been the need for new categories that would have gone unnamed a century ago—“brain death” (coined 1968), “persistent vegetative state” (coined 1972) and “minimally conscious state” (coined 2002).
Imagine losing control over everything. You can’t move on your own. You can’t scratch an itch. And worse still, you can’t tell anyone around you that you have an itch. You can feel pain, hunger, loneliness, and fear, but you can’t react to those sensations. You are totally aware of your surroundings, but you can’t communicate your feelings or desires, or even your basic needs. The term for this horror is locked-in syndrome.
For forty-one year old Scott Tatro, owner of a successful excavation business, the summer of 2000 was typically busy until pain and soreness brought him to see a chiropractor, expecting to be back at work the next day. He would never return, instead relegated to a completely immobile position for months due to a brain stem stroke and resultant Locked-in Syndrome that occurred during treatment. His book, Locked In, completely compiled by using a mouth/headstick to type, details the unimaginable difficulties the condition presents and the heroic courage necessary to function at the most minimal level of movement.
Content copyright . Scott Tatro.
All rights reserved.