Man who's lived inside iron lung for over 65 years was forbidden from marrying his fiancee
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A man who's lived inside an iron lung for over 65 years has spoken out about why he was banned from marrying his fiancee.
Prepare to take a look inside Paul's day-to-day reality:
At the age of six, Paul Alexander contracted polio - an infectious disease that can cause paralysis.
He was rushed to hospital and had an emergency tracheotomy, but was left encased in an iron lung machine to help him breathe as a result of being left paralysed from the neck down, his diaphragm unable to function normally.
Over 65 years later, at the age of 77, Paul has opened up about the effect living in a positive-pressure ventilator has had on his romantic relationships.
After graduating from high school in 1967 at the age of 21, Paul went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
During his time studying at the uni, Paul met a woman called Claire who he ended up becoming engaged to.
However, Claire's mother didn't approve of the relationship, and one day, Paul called Claire to find her mother on the other end of the line, forbidding him to marry her daughter and banning him from speaking to her ever again.
Paul told The Guardian: "Took years to heal from that."
Since Claire, Paul may not have found marriage, but his relationship with a woman named Kathy is as close as you can get his brother Phil says.
Kathy Gaines became Paul's caregiver - or 'arms and legs' - after he graduated from law school.
Gaines - who has cared for Paul for over 30 years - is legally blind as a result of her type-1 diabetes yet she visited Paul every day during his five-month stint in hospital in 2019 and has continued to move wherever he goes so to live close-by or with Paul, making sure to still see him every single day.
Paul explained Kathy and he 'grew together'. "She stretched herself over as many things as I needed," he added.
His brother Phil noted: "Paul has always been aggressive about things that he wants and needs around other people. He’s pretty demanding.
"But Kathy is more demanding than he is. They’ve had their moments, but they always work it out."
Paul may not have ended up marrying Claire, but he resolved, as per News Rebeat: "You can actually do anything, regardless of where you come from, your background, or the challenges you may face. You just have to turn your heart to it and work hard...
"My story is an example of why your past and even obstacles don’t need to define your future."
Featured Image Credit: Mitch Summers/YouTube/ Kansas City Star/YouTube
Topics: Health, Sex and Relationships, Mental Health, Science