South African Martin Pistorius was 12 years old when he came down with a strange illness. Doctors diagnosed him with crytococcal meningitis. He lost the ability to move by himself, and later to speak. According to his parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, the hospital told them to take him home and keep him comfortable until he died. But Martin didn’t die.
Martin, now 39, says he started to “wake up” when he was 14 or 15 years old. He was aware of everything – he could see and understand everything – but he couldn’t move his body. He heard his mother tell him one day “I hope you die.” She was looking for relief for her son. She didn’t think he could hear or understand her. Martin has written a memoir, Ghost Boy: My Escape From a Life Locked Inside My Own Body, which explores the years of his emotional and physical struggles.