Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, David. Were you glad you were born?

More memories. We just passed the 40th anniversary of when David Vetter was born.

Known in the press as David the Bubble Boy.

He and I lived in the same area. I didn't know him, but several of my friends did. For a while, he "took" classes at our school. And some of the kids "played" at his house.

A lot of quotation marks there. I guess it means he "lived" to be 12 years old.

In that "your friends are my friends" way of understanding community that kids have, all of us felt connected to David. We followed the stories, we were protective of David (even if some felt he was kind of a pill) and his sister. We didn't understand the big picture, we just knew that he was trapped. We thought it was a pretty bum deal.

I won't get into the whole story. You can read it here. I will sum it up by saying it tells what happens when you put science first, and ethics second. It's a damn heartbreaking story.

I remember when he died. I was a freshman in High School, at home by myself. This being a local story, they broke in on the tv and gave the news. I remember they said he died of a heart attack, I don't know why -- I guess because they didn't actually know the cause of death yet. I turned off the tv. I turned on the radio. Total Eclipse of the Heart was playing. Crying, I danced, giant leaps around the living room. I was 14, but I knew that David had never been able to have even that little freedom. I remember thinking I was dancing for David.

His doctors are celebrating. They say his life and death meant life for many others. They say profound scientific knowledge came from the science experiment that was his life.

David, was it worth it?

1 comment:

Askaraskatriskis said...

So glad to read this personal perspective of Davi'ds life. He was a child. Just a child, a human child. He suffered his entire life trapped in a very small plastic bubble. As the numan being he is, he got mentally ill, yet, he remained aware and despite bouts of dispair, he didn't lose hope. David had to be strong and courageous in a way most humans don't have to be. I am so glad he had Mary Murphy by his side, validating his reality in a way no one else would. It was a doubly sad and lonely existance, first he was treated like an experiment while trapped in a bubble, second most Drs, the media and even his parents chose to believe he was ok in a bubble. That he was a "happy child". Are encarcerated people content to be confined to a small room.? I hoope David has found freedom, I hope he is in a place now where he can thrive, be happy and have a normal life.