At the age of 19 Ian Waterman contracted a viral illness to which his body produced an antibody that attacked his nervous system, leaving him permanently without touch over his body from the neck down and without movement and position sense, or proprioception. Though his movement nerves (and pain and temperature perception) were unaffected he was completely unable to move, since without proprioceptive feedback the brain’s normal programs for movement are disabled. This Introduction details this and his 17 months in a rehabilitation hospital learning to control movement by conscious thought and with visual supervision. He relearned to walk and to live independently, worked as a civil servant, and married.
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