Paralysed, he 'writes' book with his eyes

For six years, Mr Wang Jianhua has lain in bed, unable to move a muscle, speak or hear a word - even his breathing is controlled by machines keeping him alive. 

Only able to move his eyes, he has astonishingly written an entire 40,000-word book documenting his life through poetic words. His story and indomitable spirit has moved a nation.

CHINA - He rolls his eyes every time she points at a correct alphabet or phonetic.

They repeat this three times to get a complete Chinese character.

Imagine them doing it, painstakingly, another 40,000 times. The end product: a Chinese book which is half biographical and half poetry.

One half of the writing team, Mr Wang Jianhua, 57, is bedridden. He suffers from an incurable motor disease known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

It is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

Machines help him to breathe and he can only communicate with his eyes. That is how he, with the help of his wife, wrote the book.

For the past six years, Ms Wu Meili, has held up a board with alphabets and their phonetics in front of her husband. She points at each alphabet and phonetic in turn, and he indicates his preference through his eyes.

"On a good day, we can write about 100 words this way. But on most days, even writing a few dozen words is a struggle," Ms Wu told China's Chengdu News.

Ms Wu left her job with the Chinese Coast Guard and sold their house in Hangzhou so that she could pay the medical bills.

For the past six years, she has slept in a small couch in the hospital. Even her daughter's wedding was a simple ceremony - held in the hospital ward which has become their home.

"Before he fell ill, he spoiled me like I was a child. He is a good man, a good husband, and he deserves my sacrifices."

Their 28-year-old daughter also testified to her parents' love.

"In the past, my father would understand my mother just by looking in her eyes. Now, it is my mother's turn."

Theirs was a happy family, but eight years ago Mr Wang suddenly fell ill.

He was unlocking the door to his house when he lost all feeling in his thumb and index finger on his right hand, causing him to drop his keys.

A year later, he was limping to a family dinner when he said: "This will not be my last supper."

Sadly, it turned out to be. From that day on he has never been able to attend any family gatherings.

He lost physical strength rapidly, but he retained a sharp memory and imagination.

In his mind, he soared through the skies and prepared bountiful feasts.

Mr Wang documented all that in the book, the title of which roughly translates to Keeping The Heart Warm.

He wrote in Mandarin: "I soar over hills covered with green shrubs in a small plane, very low and very slow. I fly at will."

Mr Wang's greatest regret is that he was not able to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

The couple published the book with their own money. Only 1,000 copies have been produced. The hard copies are available from China's Xiaofeng Bookstore, and digital copies from China Telecom.

Half of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chinese Medical Association.


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