Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Locked In

Ok ... I've recently watched the Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

I hate to admit it but I had weepy eyes!! This locked in syndrome thing sounds trully horrific, and I'm not sure I would have had the strength to cope, which makes this true story so wonderfully inspiring even while it is depressingly sad.

Jean-Dominique Bauby (or Jean-Do to his mates) was the editor of Elle magazine Paris. So he had the life!! And it was all taken away in a matter of seconds, what presented as a stroke turned out to be a rare condition called Locked in Syndrome. Effectively, Jean-Do was paralysed from head to toe. The only movement he had was in his eyelids. Hence the reference to a Diving Bell, which is what he likened his condition to. They had to sew one of his eyelids up as the lubricatry ducts were simply not functioning. Amazingly with the help of a therapist, they developed a means of communication, so Jean-Do winked a special alphabet, that resulted in his autobiography, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Julian Schnabel helmed this beautiful project with such finesse, grace and diginity, so many inspiring moments, like the icebergs melting, and Jean-Do talking to his father played with incredible authenticity by Max von Sydow whilst giving him a shave, his ex wife having to translate a conversation between the bedridden Jean-Do and the woman who came between them ... too good!!

I believe that Jean-Do endured this for only another 2-3 years before passing ... but what he left behind will resonate with us humans for a long time to come ... this is a story about the human spirit ... its not always pretty ... but it can be indomitable!


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