Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/10/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

North Carolina woman wrote books, held parties and enjoyed life in spite of disability

Martha Mason of North Carolina became stricken with polio at the age of 11 years old. Sentenced for the rest of her days in an iron lung, a device that kept her breathing, Mason continued to live her life - throwing parties, writing books and generally living life to her fullest capacity.

Spending 61 years of her life living in an iron tube that breathed for her after polio left her paralyzed, Martha Mason lay horizontal the seven-foot-long, 800-pound iron cylinder that encased all but her head.

Spending 61 years of her life living in an iron tube that breathed for her after polio left her paralyzed, Martha Mason lay horizontal the seven-foot-long, 800-pound iron cylinder that encased all but her head.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/10/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Iron lung, disability, human spirit, polio


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Spending 61 years of her life living in an iron tube that breathed for her after polio left her paralyzed, Mason lay horizontal the seven-foot-long, 800-pound iron cylinder that encased all but her head.

After her brother Gaston contracted polio and died, it is said that she realized that she too had the symptoms but kept her fears to herself to avoid upsetting her parents.   

"Breath: Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung," Mason's book,  she confesses, "I knew that I had polio. I didn't want anyone else to know. The day before I had heard Mother talking to a friend about the iron lung Gaston had been in. I knew I wouldn't have that difficulty because I had excellent lungs."
 
As Mason said in a video recorded before her death in 2009, "I often wonder in retrospect how my parents felt when I became ill - they just buried their only son [when this happened to me]."

"It was assumed by people in general and me too that both of my parents would outlive me. Doctors said I would live a year, at most, but here I am a long time later [thanks to the iron lung]."

Her longevity has been attributed to her curiosity and desire to live as normal life as possible.

Mason, who was born in 1937 and lived in Lattimore, North Carolina, graduated from high school with the highest hours and hosted dinner parties.

"It [living like this] has become such a normal thing for me - I don't even think about it - I really never give it a lot of thought. The machine takes over from my diaphragm like a big bag of air. There are other methods of ventilation, but I have chosen not to do that."

Despite being permanently horizontal, she chose to remain in the machine, as she says it gave her freedom as it helped her breathe without tubes or incisions in her throat, or the need for hospital stays. It also let her remain at home, living with the help of two aides.

Mason insisted she stay at home, even when her mother's health deteriorated in the years before her own death. Mason ran the household from the iron lung.

"She lived in this life-saving machine longer than anyone else in the world," longtime friend Mary Dalton said. "At first the image and sound of the iron lung were distracting if not shocking, but soon after talking with Martha, the massive, metal cylinder became inconsequential because it was so greatly exceeded by her spirit.

"She told me that she survived for so many years - while so many others with the same disease died - because of the exceptional care she received from her parents and community, and because she has always been driven to learn."

Discover the true meaning of Christmas!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Living Faith

Making a Difference

Image of Saints Popes John XXIII and John Paul II prophetically raised their voices on behalf of the suffering masses.

By Tony Magliano

Saints Popes John XXIII and John Paul II prophetically raised their voices on behalf of the suffering masses. They spoke truth to power, and challenged all of us to advance the kingdom of God - a kingdom of love, justice and peace. St. John XXIII, affectionately known ... continue reading


Rome being crushed by millions of pilgrims packing into the city for historic canonization Watch

Image of Pilgrims are packing into Rome, creating a logistical and safety problem for city officials.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All roads lead to Rome and that isn't a happy thing for everybody as the city is being crushed by millions of pilgrims seeking to attend the canonization of Bl. Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. The city's mayor says the city is prepared, but not everyone is happy ... continue reading


John's Paul II's Doctor: I don't know how he survived the shooting Watch

Image of Pope John Paul II miraculously recovered from assassination attempt. After his recovery, he forgave his would-be killer, visiting him in prison.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The doctor to Bl. Pope John Paul II has explained that he doesn't know how the assassin's bullet intended to kill him did not do so. He also talked about the Holy Father in his last days, as he worked amid failing health. "I don't know how he survived the shooting," ... continue reading


Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action' to end global hunger Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis helped launch a worldwide movement to end hunger through prayer and action. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholic Online with Your Catholic Voice Foundation is participating, along vwith Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and the ... continue reading


Coptic priest added as Pope Francis' second personal secretary Watch

Image of Some say that the appointment of a Coptic Catholic priest is a sign of  Pope Francis' commitment to dialogue with the Arab and Muslim world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Coptic Catholic priest Yoannis Lahzi Gaid has been personally chosen by Pope Francis as his second personal secretary. Lahzi Gaid is currently working in the first section of the Vatican Secretariat of State and is also one of the "translators" who reads the ... continue reading


From an Ancient Easter Homily: Jesus Christ, the Source of Resurrection and Life Watch

Image of

By An Ancient Anonymous Preacher

Thus the passion of our Savior is the salvation of mankind. The reason why he desired to die for us was that he wanted us who believe in him to live for ever. In the fullness of time it was his will to become what we are, so that we might inherit the eternity he ... continue reading


TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: Pope Francis delivers powerful Easter message Watch

Image of Pope Francis enters with his candle symbolizing the light of Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis urged Catholics to share their faith "to the ends of the Earth" during a baptism ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica. The solemn ceremony reminds us that we are called to serve amid the joy of the resurrection. The most enduring call of Christ is for us to ... continue reading


Rome already crushed with pilgrims for historic canonization of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII Watch

Image of Hundreds of thousands packed into Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. This time, the numbers will be far greater.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rome is well-packed with throngs of pilgrims who have begun a week's long vigil awaiting the most historic canonization in world history. Next Sunday, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized by Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis. ROME, ITALY (Catholic ... continue reading


BREAKING THE RULES or IS HE? Pope Francis washes women's feet and those of undetermined religion Watch

Image of This year, Francis arrived at a center for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, other with grossly swollen and disfigured feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has shown little regard for rules in regards to his papacy. The latest controversy now surrounds his washing the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, some of who were women and non-Catholics. The pre-Easter ritual, Pope Francis is designed to show ... continue reading


'Priestly joy is a priceless treasure,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pope, presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a priest wants to overcome moments of sadness, exhaustion and boredom, in addition to discovering his true identity, he must head for the exit sign, going outside himself to be with God and his people, Pope Francis said during the Chrism Mass at St. Peter's ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... Read More

Marketplace

Image of Baptism Pewter Prayer Card

Baptism
Prayer Cards

Image of Antique Silver JUAN DIEGO Visor Clips

JUAN DIEGO
Visor Clips

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter