Obviously concerned with more questions than answers, Martin was tested for every possible ailment that they could think of. Sadly, everything came back negative with no real answer as to why Martin had suddenly became this way. Months began to creep along slowly as Martin became worse and worse, eventually his body shutting down right before his parents very eyes. Slowly losing control over his movements, then being unable to make eye contact with anyone, and then finally he became mute, unable to speak entirely.
Until finally, one of the tests came back positive with a clear indication as to what Martin had; Cryptococcal Meningitis, which essentially meant the worst thought all of the doctors. Completely sure that this was the end for Martin and that they should take him home and provide him with love until he passed away.
Only until Martin was in his mid 20’s did he show signs of improvement; he was able to squeeze a persons hand and was able to hold himself upright in his wheelchair a little better. As his mother had quit her job to tend to Martin for the coming years in physical therapy, Martin describes what it was like for 8 of those 12 years being completely invisible to the realm of the living.
Martin describes the experience:
“I was there, not from the very beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state, I began to wake up. I suppose a good way to describe it is like an out-of-focus image. At first you have no idea what it is, but slowly it comes into focus until you can see it in crystal clarity. I stared at my arm, willing it to move. Every bit of me condensed into that moment. Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present again. The stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that – totally alone.”
Martin has forged an entirely new future for himself with his new girlfriend, creating a web design business, and is earning his computer science degree in school. If you wish to read the full story in his words, find his incredible book, Ghost Boy.