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Man Has Been Using Iron Lung Machine For Over 65 Years

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Man Has Been Using Iron Lung Machine For Over 65 Years

Meet Paul Alexander, otherwise known as 'The Man in the Iron Lung'. He's paralysed from the neck down and hasn't been able to breathe on his own since 1952.

At the age of six, Paul contracted the poliovirus and over the following five days he 'lost everything'.

Paul couldn't move or breathe and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead before a doctor quickly performed a tracheostomy - which involves opening the neck to place a tube into someone's windpipe.

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He was then placed into the iron lung and fought tirelessly until 18 months later he left the hospital to go home in Dallas, Texas.

In a short documentary created by Mitch Summers, Paul said: "People didn't like me very much back then, I felt like they were uncomfortable around me."

When asked what he did all day, he replied: "Well, the same thing everybody else does. I woke up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, shaved, had some breakfast.

"I just needed a little bit of help."

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To read Paul has to use a tool to help him turn pages. Credit: YouTube/Mitch Summers
To read Paul has to use a tool to help him turn pages. Credit: YouTube/Mitch Summers

He went on: "I would read, or study something, paint a picture or do some drawing. I hated just watching TV."

Despite finishing school, Paul didn't get into college because they said he was 'too crippled' and didn't have the polio vaccination.

Paul then went on to spend the next two years trying to persuade the college to let him attend and was finally accepted on two conditions: that he get vaccination and that a fraternity would be responsible for him.

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Paul painting as a youngster. Credit: YouTube/Mitch Summers
Paul painting as a youngster. Credit: YouTube/Mitch Summers

Unbelievably, Paul went on to pass the bar and became a lawyer and says he was a 'pretty damn good one'. Which we've got no doubt about.

From then he went on to write a book with just his mouth which he wanted to do to 'inspire people'.

He went on to say: "No matter where you're from or what your past is, or the challenges that you could be facing, you can truly do anything.

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"You've just got to set your mind to it and work hard."

All Paul has wanted to do is accomplish the things that he was once told he'd never accomplish. In doing so that means he's not been beaten by polio.

He added: "My story is an example of why your past or even disability does not have to define your future."

You can watch the YouTube video here.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Mitch Summers

Topics: Community, Weird, Health

Rebecca Shepherd
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