Miraculously, after about four years of being unresponsive, Martin's brain "woke up" and he slowly regained consciousness. Except nobody realized that the lights had come back on in Martin's brain since he had no way of letting people know. Martin was literally trapped inside his body, and he stayed this way for the next eight years (from age 16 to 24). He lived at home where his parents (primarily his father) cared for him, and his parents took him to a care facility during the day while they worked. Martin spent his days watching episodes of Barney at this facility. Imagine watching repeat episodes of Barney day after day. That would be enough to drive anyone mad!
|Martin wasn't able to hold his head up, and he did a lot of drooling, hence the bib. He would sit in his wheelchair for hours on end, and was often in excruciating pain from sitting in the same position for too long.|
Martin was assessed, and the assessment confirmed that he WAS able to understand and follow commands. In the next several years Martin's life changed for the better in some significant ways. He got a computer that enabled him to communicate with others. What a difference it makes when you can actually communicate your thoughts and needs to others! Martin began to regain some of the strength in his weak muscles, too, and he regained some of his upper body functions.
When Martin regained consciousness, he had no recollection of his life before getting sick, and he had so much schooling to make up, too. He ended up graduating from high school and college.
In 2008, Martin met a young woman named Joanna while Skyping with his sister Kim, and the two of them hit it off. Although Martin doesn't have the ability to speak, they began communicating on a regular basis through Skype, texts and email. Martin and Joanna both grew up in South Africa (although they never knew each other), but by this time Joanna was living and working in the UK. Long story short, the two of them fell in love and they got married in 2009 (and Martin moved to the UK). This is where the book ended, and I was so happy for Martin, especially after all he had been through. His book truly had a happy ending, and left me feeling so happy and inspired. Even though Martin went through so much during those years when he was trapped in his body, and even though he still has a very challenging life, he's never been bitter or angry at God. In fact, he said that God was his constant companion amidst all of his pain and suffering, and the one that sustained him through everything.