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Surprising results

I once knew a Spanish guy who was knocked off his bike and dragged along beneath a car at about 70mph. Astonishingly he survived but went into a coma which, on and off, lasted for 18 months. During the coma there were several incidents which nearly finished him off, infections and so forth, but he clung on, and before waking remembers making a conscious choice to do so.

He had severe brain damage which affected his movement, memory, speech, ability to swallow food etc, and he had spastic rigidity down one side of his body. I met him after a year of rehabilitation and have never encountered a person with so much determination. He put in hours and hours every day - practicing things he struggled with, spinning, stretching, exercising really hard - helped and supported by his family, especially his mother, and his physiotherapist.

I suggested that he try an Alexander lesson and arranged for a local teacher to come to the family home. The family and the physiotherapist watched as the teacher gently encouraged the guy's poorly arm to fully extend, talking to him softly in Spanish, persuading his brain to find alternative routes for the messages to reach the muscles. It was beautiful to see. Half an hour of the technique achieved more than the physiotherapy had in a year.

Rather than celebrate the success, however, people found it too shocking and perhaps challenging to their belief systems. In fact the parents were so disturbed they refused to pay for the lesson! Everything ended in a bit of turmoil and I sometimes wonder whether the guy insisted on more lessons at a later date.

Anyway, I've never forgotten those surprising results.

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