The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Somebody once said memories are like rubber bands – our minds recall the happenings (half of the band) as well as the emotions (other half of the band). Saturday night was a rubber band night. 

We watched the movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. A movie based on the memoir of  journalist and Elle magazine editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby. Jean-Do Bauby suffered a stroke that left him with Locked-In syndrome – mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed except for some movement in his left eye. He wrote Le scaphandre et le papillon by blinking his left eyelid -heartrending.  

Where does the rubber band fit in?

At the age of 14 my husband suffered from Guillain-Barré syndrome: a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. Within a day he was paralyzed – only able to move his eyes and tongue. After a few months on a respirator, a year in hospital, no treatment except the care of his mom, the hospital personnel, and the physiotherapists, the virus left his body leaving him with partial use of his hands and upper body – the rest paralyzed. Four years later he walked on his own with a walking stick, using his stomach muscles. Reflecting on the movie, a friend with an incurable disease and unknown prognosis, and the unknown reasons for such of life’s happenings, I asked him how he managed and did a few things, i.e. related to Bauby’s case. His answer – “not how I managed and did, but how I manage and do, it’s an ongoing process.” I sat silent not able to say anything, but able to see some of his life’s happenings in a different light and hopefully able to understand them better, and remember to keep on doing do so:-)!


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