Locked Inside Your Own Body

Decaying Body.jpeg

So being imprisoned in torturously tight spaces and uncomfortable positions is…physically, mentally, and emotionally harrowing. 


Of course, the criminal justice system centers around incarceration (and less so rehabilitation) and for most of history–from chains, cages, and dungeons–the most vile despots have placed people’s bodies in desperate restraints. 


But I have learned that people can be not only physically incarcerated and shackled, but they can also literally be imprisoned within their own bodies. 


My own dear mother suffered terribly with Parkinson’s Disease and I watched helplessly and in horror as the degenerative rigidity, contortion, and incredibly horrendous pain made her suffer so. No amount of pain medication could ease her unbelievable suffering…only death itself.


In another instance, a colleague’s spouse got sick with ALS and as this horrible disease ran it’s course, the person could not move, eat, speak, and eventually even breath on their own.  Their mind worked fine, but it was imprisoned within a body that continuously closed in on itself and could no longer function. 


In both these cases, the body itself was the prison of the mind and soul–no bars, no barbed wire, and no high walls necessary. 


Another case, I read and watched about his week, was of a husband and father who suddenly became a quadriplegic.  Kevin Breen was a healthy and active 44-year old, when suddenly he came down with a case of strep throat that traveled to his stomach and almost ended up killing him. He survived, but had to have his hands and feet amputated. Can you imagine the absolute horror of this?


There are so many good things that can happen in life, but also so many, G-d forbid, misfortunes–it is frightening to think about let alone confront. 


Locked up or imprisoned within our own failing bodies, leave mankind looking out into the darkest and deepest of the abyss, and that is when we need G-d’s ultimate mercy and to answer us more than ever.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Disabled, Can You Imagine?

Disability
A very important article in the Wall Street Journal by Anthony Weller about what it’s like to Paralyzed From The Neck Down.



Weller has suffered for 10 years with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. 



He describes losing everything…from “incalculable personal pleasures” to being “totally helpless.”



And what’s more, you have to save your chips in asking others for things, because “you’d be asking the whole day.”



“Say goodbye to any sense of personal space, too”–in needing everything, you’re essentially left like an open book to everyone around you.



Here, I can’t help thinking about those moments of personal indignity–in caring for our own bodies–that even that someone else must be there for.



Then, there is the just sitting around and endless thinking…”There isn’t much else to do.”



I remember learning about some medieval torture methods and one involved lying a person down in the space cleaved into the stone face of the dungeon and there a person would essentially rot–not being able to move, sit or stand up, or even roll over. 



How long could a person last like that before completely losing their mind?  



While Weller says that he used to imagine being paralyzed as feeling like being “encased in stone,” but now he see it more that your limbs just ignore you, to me whether you are paralyzed in your own body or embedded in medieval stone, the challenges physically and mentally are as scary as anything that can be imagined. 



How do you keep your sanity, let alone any hope?



Weller says, you live in the past, “happiness isn’t is, but was, [and] you try not to contemplate the future too much.”



G-d should have infinite mercy on his creations and lift up the fallen, cure the sick, and release the innocent that are imprisoned…please, please, please let it be. Amen.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)