how to overcome suffering

Nabil Daoud MD

Locked-in syndrom
physically disabled people
Computer-assistive technology

This is my story:

I was born in the year 1955 in south-Lebanon, I went too early to the capital Beirut with my parents for study where I finished successfully complementary, secondary and finally universally study in french faculty of medecine, by the end I graduated in 1980 as doctor in medecine. Then I began my specialisation in urology, by the end of 1984 I graduated in genito-urinary surgeon, but my destiny refused to give me the right to practice surgery and like someone who is waiting for me to finish my study, then he orders me to stay lay-down in the bed like “cadavre vivant” an expression described by Alexandre Dumas to one of his hero, who had the same symptoms like me, but the syndrom was unknwon in 1840, in his work “le comte de Montecristo”.

In midnight of 25 January in the year 1985, suddenly and without any premonitory sign, I felt a severe headache and within two hours I lost my sight, my equilibrium, and in few minutes I became comatose for one month, when I awoke I found myself quadriplegic and mute with the lesion of some cranial nerves which I discovered gradually because no one had the courage to tell me what happened to me even the physician who treated me and who is supposed to do it, but the sensibility was present and normal in all the body, a stomach tube and a tracheostomy, a state medically known by the name locked-in syndrom which the mortality is very high.

The impact of this state was markedly dramatic, I took many years to accept the new situation after a great conflict. The first five years were full of sufferings day and night without ceasing which gave me only three hours of sleep from 5h-8h Am each day like someone said “it’s enough, let’s start again”, these years marked my life in fashion I forgot my tragical state, the question becames “how to escape from these sufferings ?

Within months, somes muscles recovered but involuntary others partly and the left thumb was totally controlled after six months from the stroke.

My friends became very rare and finally they disappeared one after another, actually there is still a priest who visits me..

The position of my wife was a part of the cerebral stroke, not only she left me and demanded the divorce which she have it, but also she confiscated all the money I had without any reason, as if she said “you are not worthy of life” and she had left me naked without any assistance from the Lebanese state or any form of social security, the only institution which takes care of me is my brother and my sister. My mother does her best in spite of many diseases and my father served me before his death day and night without ceasing for nine years.

From the year 1990 the question was “how to write’’ ? I must find a device which allows me to access the computer and the price within my capacity, because there were many but too expensive and because my cognitive skills were intact, I decided to translate theological books from French language to Arabic after teaching myself the theology for five years. I had translated three books letter by letter using the code which I discovered myself and was known very well all over the world.

In 1996 the question rose again, I had brought a book on communication for speechless with disability from the united states and I found a device which I can pay the price.

The invention that transformed my whole life !

In summer of the year 1996 I bought from the US a device called Ke:nx invented in 1995 by DonJohnston incorporation, which allowed me to have access to the computer and open any program, writing, faxing, access to the internet, e-mail….
All of this by using one finger: the left thumb.

this opened to me two challenges:
1- I hav’nt any idea on computer, composition and how it works.
2- no one knwos Ke:nx, it’s the first in Lebanon and probably in the middle east.
which means “I must learn it by myself”, for that I had reviewed the books many times.

In the beginning I wrote one letter per minute, but actually right now I am able to write more than 25 letters per minute. I have wrote till now more than 200000 (2 hundred thousand) words, and I have translated the fourth theological book myself using this system without any assistance from old english to arabic language, from a book dating “end of nineteenth century”. Actually this system is called Discover Ke:nx.

When I am installed before the computer, it’s the only time I feel my complete independance and my absolute freedom in manner I do what I want without any assistance from no-one on earth. It’s a feeling very sweet and joyful in brief undescrible.
Dr Nabil Daoud

The keys of my success

Many people ask how: not only can I resist to many great attacks, but also I overcome them and I start a new life like nothing happens !

the patience inheritable from my former life, and which is developped much in the second life, was the first key that gives me the strength to receive these afflictions which where capable of destroying me.

the second key was a strong faith “moving the mountains”, and which helped me to accept my destiny like if it is “God’s will”, knowing that God is our father and no father even the earthly and evil one, never accept but the goodness for his sons.

the third key was a great hope that, it will exist a life after this earthly life otherwise the present life does’nt mean nothing, this gave me the power to start a new life.

Over all these keys, the divine grace like a fire’s sword gives them the power to be active. Jesus said “without me, you can do nothing”.

Nabil Daoud

There is a medical report given by the physician¨s who treated me:
rapport médical
Le Dr Nabil Daoud, âgé de 29 ans, ressent le 25 janvier 1985, vers minuit, de façon soudaine et sans aucun signe alarmant préalable, une douleur cervicale droite puis une céphalée occipitale sévère. Après deux heures, il perd la vue et l’équilibre, et en quelques minutes, il sombre dans le coma pour se réveiller après un mois quadriplégique et muet, selon ce qu’il a pu révéler plus tard. Dans ses antécédents, on note une hypercholestérolémie.
Voyant qu’il était conscient, la famille avait trouvé un moyen de communiquer avec lui: on lui montrait des lettres une par une sur des cartons, il réagissait par un geste affirmatif ou négatif des paupières, et on pouvait ainsi former des mots, puis des phrases, une forme de langage binaire en somme. Je me souviens l’avoir vu lisant un livre d’urologie.
En visionnant le CD qui a été fait à son domicile, on remarque le seul mouvement du pouce gauche, avec lequel il manipule une souris d’ordinateur. La communication avec l’entourage se fait toujours par le même procédé: choix de lettres par un mouvement des paupières, accéléré par une présélection de la ligne dans laquelle se trouve la lettre. Par ce procédé, le Dr Daoud a pu écrire plusieurs livres, ce qui prouve que lorsque l’activité cérébrale est intacte et qu’on trouve le moyen d’y accéder, elle est capable de toutes les prouesses.
Ce tableau Clinique très particulier constitue le “locked-in syndrome”, où l’individu, parfaitement conscient, ne conserve que les mouvements oculaires presque normaux, et se trouve véritablement renfermé et replié sur lui-même.

Le Dr NABIL Daoud a pu, grâce à sa personnalité hors du commun et au dévouement sans limites de son entourage, surmonter cet obstacle et produire ces livres qui représentent une victoire sur la maladie. Ce cas mérite de figurer dans l’histoire de la médecine et de l’humanité.
Professeur Raymond Chemaly

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