Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/10/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis beseeches world to give thanks and protect all life on Day of Creation Watch

Image of Pope Francis had announced last month that the Catholic Church would join the Orthodox Church in marking the prayer day September 1 each year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During an evening celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis prayed that God would "enlighten the lords of power and money so they would not fall into indifference, but would love the common good, encourage the weak and care ... continue reading


SSPX confessions valid during Jubilee, Pope Francis declares - many pray schism will end Watch

Image of Pope Francis has extended an olive branch to the SSPX. Will our brothers and sisters accept it, or will they perceive it as a slight?

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Absolutions granted by priests of the Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX) will have the full support of the Pope Francis and the Church during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The notice was given by Pope Francis in a special letter in which he announced the ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS ISSUES EXTRAORDINARY INDULGENCE - Here's how you and others can obtain it Watch

Image of Pope Francis has issued an extraordinary indulgence for all who seek to reconcile with God.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is issuing a Jubilee Indulgence that he hopes will allow people to experience God's mercy and grace. In preparation for the coming Jubilee, Pope Francis has published a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who heads his council for the promotion of the ... continue reading


Priest asks, what would St. Francis of Assisi do if he were alive today? Watch

Image of Although Pope Francis presided over the celebration, Fr. Cantalamessa (who has been preacher to the Papal Household since St. John Paul II appointed him in 1980) gave the homily.

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

On the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the preacher to the papal household said that St. Francis of Assisi is a key model in showing the link between faith in God and care for our common home. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Saint Francis "is ... continue reading


No school days for working children

Image of

By Tony Magliano

It's that time again when adults take off to celebrate Labor Day, and kids head back to the adventures a new school year. But for millions of children worldwide the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or ... continue reading


Catholic lawmakers asked by Pope to rally for pro-life, immigrants and persecuted Christians Watch

Image of The Holy Father was presented with a document by lawmakers outlining their commitment to promoting life in their respective nations, especially in areas of abortion, Christian persecution, and migration.

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

On Sunday, Pope Francis urged Catholic legislators to be protectors of human life, calling them to "be strong" against a throwaway culture marked by Christian persecution, and the rejection of the unborn and migrants. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The pontiff ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis' visit end in disaster? Residents say organizers don't have their act together Watch

Image of Mayor Nutter unveils the 'I'll Be There' campaign to encourage shop owners to stay open during the papal visit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Philadelphia residents are stressing over the upcoming Papal visit, and for good reason. Preparations for the visit appear ad hoc and are being poorly communicated to the community, according to locals. LOA ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Pope Francis' visit to ... continue reading


Bishop Melki, executed after he refused to convert to Islam in 1915 has been beatified Watch

Image of Pope Francis earlier this month confirmed Bishop Melki's beatification saying he was killed in hatred.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Martyred during the Assyrian Genocide in 1915, Bishop Melki is on the road towards sainthood with his beatification this past weekend. Killed in Gazarta during the sayfo, or "putting to the sword" of Syrians in 1915, he was killed after he refused to convert to ... continue reading


For the first time we can see how BEAUTIFUL the 'real' Saint Rose was. Scientists have reconstruct her likeness Watch

Image of According to the news site Peru Catolico, the researchers said the reconstruction shows she was

By CNA/EWTN News

The face of the first saint of the New World may be better known than ever; thanks to a team of scientists, that has analyzed the skull of Saint Rose of Lima. Lima, Peru (CNA/EWTN News) - Scientists from the University of Saint Martin de Porres in Peru and the ... continue reading


Quest for God is modern world's biggest challenge, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says Watch

Image of The Ratzinger Schuelerkreis will gather Sept. 28-30 to discuss the theme set them by their former professor.

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

Benedict XVI considers the quest for God to be contemporary society's foremost challenge, according to one of the emeritus Pope's former students, who has organized the annual meeting of Ratzinger's students to discuss that very topic. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... 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, Colossians 1:1-8
1 From Paul, by the will of God an apostle of Christ ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:38-44
38 Leaving the synagogue he went to Simon's house. ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Sknninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... 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