A Brazilian man who suffered from infantile paralysis has reportedly spent the last 45 years living in a hospital bed.
Paulo Machado, 45, has spent his entire life living in Clinicas hospital in San Paulo, Brazil, BBC reports. The bedridden Brazilian suffered from infantile paralysis after contracting polio as a child, and has been hospitalized ever since.
Machado, whose mother died just two days after giving birth to him, requires an artificial respirator to assist with his breathing and has only left his room in the hospital about 50 times, BBC reports. Despite his shortcomings, the 45-year-old is a skilled computer animator who, with the help of best friend and fellow polio patient Eliana Zagui, is making an animated film based on his life.
“Some people think we are like husband and wife, but we are more like brother and sister,” Machado told the BBC. “Every day when I wake up, I have the certainty that my strength is over there -- Eliana. And it’s reciprocated. I trust her and she trusts me.”
Machado and Zagui were part of a group of 11 children admitted to Clinicas with cases of polio, a once-prominent infectious disease that targets children under the age of 5, The Daily Mail reports. Doctors in Brazil still cannot explain how the pair managed to survive, when the average life expectancy of a child with polio is about 10 years.
For Machado, the deaths of the nine other children stricken with polio remain a painful memory. “It was difficult,” Machado told the BBC. Each loss was like a dismembering, you know, physical … like a mutilation. Now, there’s just two of us left -- me and Eliana.”
Machado has spent most of the last 45 years in a hospital bed, as his condition vastly increases the risk of infection, BBC reports. As a result, both Machado and Zagui had devoted themselves to activities that can be accomplished from the safety of Clinicas.
Still, they are allowed to partake in the occasional foray outside the hospital’s walls. “You enjoy these little moments, that many people take for granted,” Machado told the BBC. “They don’t stop to marvel like we do.”
Zagui is a published author who uses her mouth to write and paint, BBC reports. Machado plans on focusing her writing ability and his own computer animation skills toward the creation of “The Adventures of Leca and her Friends,” a 3-D film. The project will feature “Leca,” who carries Zagui’s nickname, as she plays “all the mischievous games kids get up to,” BBC reports.