Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/10/2013 (11 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.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/10/2013 (11 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 September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

With just six months to live, news anchorman finds comfort with God Watch

Image of Dave Benton announced on his Illinois show that he had only six months left to live after a long battle with brain cancer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Illinois news anchorman with Champaign WCIA-TV shared heartbreaking news with his viewers on September 11, revealing that after a lengthy battle with cancer, he had only six months to live. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 51-year-old anchorman, Dave ... continue reading


Did a Catholic Online candle contribute to a miracle? Here's a yes!

Image of Did a prayer candle have a role in a recent miracle?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has received many comments thanking us for sharing the prayers of the faithful. Catholic Online has a vibrant prayer community and we are happy to report another miracle. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mika T.* sent an email to Catholic Online ... continue reading


Pope Francis denounces ongoing global conflict as 'piecemeal' World War III Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has often condemned the concept of war in God's name, said it would be legitimate for the international community to use force to stop

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his visit to the Redipuglia monument, the resting place of 1000,000 Italian soldiers killed during World War I, Pope Francis condemned ongoing conflicts across the globe. "Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep. Even today, after the second ... continue reading


Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Watch

Image of Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation.

By Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas,Ph.D., S.T.D.

Every cross borne by any believer in history gains meaning and becomes life-giving when it is brought into a relationship with the Cross, the Cross from which Jesus reigned as the King of Love and over which He triumphed in His glorious Resurrection.  The ... continue reading


Two U.S. priests appointed by Pope Francis to address clergy sexual abuse Watch

Image of Father Oliver had previously served as a judge and promoter of justice in Boston tribunals and as a consultant to the Boston archdiocesan review board.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Addressing the sexual abuse of minors by clergy within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has appointed two U.S. priests to top positions at the Vatican. Father Robert W. Oliver, from Boston and Jesuit Father Robert J Geisinger, a member of the Chicago-Detroit ... continue reading


The truth about climate change

Image of Pope Benedict is known as the 'Green Pope' because of statements he has made on the environment. Pope Francis is also said to be working on an encyclical about the environment.

By Tony Magliano

"Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change .  loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the ... continue reading


Cardinal George compares forcing of sexual agenda to Sharia law Watch

Image of Cardinal George compared American culture and government to Sharia law in the way it treats mainstream Christians.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal George has criticized the imposition of a "public creed" to force acceptance of sexual depravity across the nation, enforced with the power of law. Cardinal George compared the forcing to Sharia law in some countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Head ... continue reading


Jesus Spent the Night In Prayer. Maybe We Should Follow His Example Watch

Image of Prayer is the most effective form of action for a Christian.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

What jumped off the page as I proclaimed the Gospel is the importance and priority of prayer. Before Jesus made this historic and eternal decision he spent the entire night in prayer. I know that in His Sacred humanity he shows us the pattern for our own lives. ... continue reading


Pope Francis, Vatican actively pursuing better relations with Mainland China Watch

Image of The status of the Church in Mainland China has long been a bone of contention between the Vatican and Chinese officials.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While as a nation it remains largely inscrutable and resilient to criticism in regards to human rights, Mainland China, along with both the Vatican and Pope Francis is now pursuing improved relations. The Pope hopes to warm their relationship and someday ... continue reading


Healing our Fractured Freedom Watch

Image of Christianity is the religion of freedom

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Let us consciously reflect on our own choices today. What informs our daily decisions? Do we seek to inform the exercise of our freedom with the truth? Are we aware of the effect of sin in our daily lives? Are we struggling against it and taking advantage of ... 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, Hebrews 5:7-9
7 During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20
2 turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a ... Read More

Gospel, John 19:25-27
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 15th, 2014 Image

St. Valerian
September 15: The massacre of the martyrs of Lyons with their bishop, St. ... Read More

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