October 25, 2020

Laetitia: his return to life after a locked-in syndrom

His life that rocks
It is in two hours that the life of Laetitia, then aged 33, falls into a nightmare. Following a violent migraine she is the victim of a locked-in syndrom (LIS), a brain attack normally irreversible. Unable to move any part of her body except her eyes, she is locked in her body. The young woman does not really realize the seriousness of her condition. "I was under a very high dose of morphine, completely in the fog. I think I really became aware of my condition when I met the gaze of a physio at the Atlanta hospital, where I was hospitalized. I felt in this one that it was ruined. I had become a "thinking vegetable", with all his head, all his sensations, his emotions but who could no longer communicate. The unacceptable when you are a bright young woman full of life.

A very precious family
One of Laetitia's chances is to have a united, loving family that did not leave her for a minute. Because, as she says with emotion, "it's not only my life that has rocked, but also that of my husband, my family." For his spouse it is a terrible shock to find her lying, clad of pipes, between life and death, unable to speak to him. For her mom too the shock is terrible, especially the first time she takes her hand and that it does not react and is rough like the hand of a dead woman. "I surprised looks that said a lot, often people, forgetting that I was aware, pronounced terrible words that left me little hope for the future. One of the most moving moments was probably when I saw pictures of my children, I was overwhelmed by immeasurable sorrow. I might never be able to hug, run, play with them. "
To fight for a living
Shortly before his repatriation to France, Laetitia moves a phalanx. A huge hope for her, all the cells of her brain are not destroyed. Endowed with an exceptional strength of character, she decides to make every effort to get by. "It was the woman I was before who allowed me to have this strength to fight. The moments of hope and discouragement will succeed one another. She endures terrible suffering without being able to express it, as during her repatriation on a plane where the heat is horrible. "I remember that when I arrived at Roissy on the tarmac, my father, who was naturally pessimistic, told me" you'll get out of it ", his look said a lot, did he really believe it? ? Still, in my head it was tilt. But he still has a long way to go. Throughout a heavy reeducation, she gently recovers some of her functions, such as swallowing, shaking a hand or sitting down. Because she must relearn everything as a child, accepting situations that she describes as humiliating (especially during the toilet), phases of tiredness when she judges her progress in rehabilitation too slow or when she discovers her face in ice. Not to mention the feeling of anger that invades her when she learns that the society for which she worked, the coward and that she achieves the little things made for the disabled by society.
Life today
In her slow and emotional voice, Laetitia tells you that today she is as she is, that she is with and that every day she fights. All is only love around her, she draws her strength from it. Of course, everyday life is not always easy. Her husband, her children must accept that she will never be the same again, that she is slow, quickly tired. His greatest victory is to regain his autonomy. Even if it moves with a cane or a walker when a problem of balance is felt. "When I go for a walk I take the wheelchair, my husband, who still lives at 200% an hour, finds that it goes faster," she said with a smile. I recognize that it's hard for him to see me that way, but he's so happy that I'm alive. Love does miracles. Laetitia concludes her book with these very strong words "I have everything". She thinks it's "lucky" to have had this vascular accident after having tasted many things and experienced great happiness.

Put this experience to the benefit of others
This terrible experience was very instructive for Laetitia, she lived "like crazy", today she goes to the essential, no longer acting out of obligation. She met wonderful people, of great wealth. "I have no more time to lose." And even if today she feels more fragile psychologically, for a year and a half she has especially privileged her physical rehabilitation, she wants to help people with disabilities to get by, to find work. In the headhunter society, her husband, she has just created "Handi-consulting" a department that promotes the return to employment of the disabled. "But changing attitudes, people's view of disability is not an easy task, we are way behind many countries. "
"I speak" - The extraordinary return to life of a locked-in syndrom
Laetitia Bohn-Derrien - Co-author Isabelle Horlans
Editions Jean-Claude Lattès - 18?
Association of Locked-in syndrom: //www.alis-asso.fr

Woman With Locked-in Syndrome Talks About Her Incredible Recovery | Good Morning Britain (October 2020)