According to a study published yesterday in the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Open, people with Locked-in Syndrome (LIS)–who are paralyzed and communicate primarily through blinking and moving their eyes–are a pretty cheery bunch, all things considered. Belgian researchers asked a pool of 65 LIS patients a series of questions about their quality of life; 47 declared themselves to be happy and only 18 said that they were unhappy.

This article has gotten a lot of press, including features in the Washington Post, the Times of India, ABC News, and BBC radio and television news programs, so there’s little point in re-hashing the whole thing, especially since LIS is not a hilarious topic and I have a frivolous mind. I would like, however, to draw your attention to one of the questions on the survey and the responses collected, which I found remarkable.

Patients were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement:

I am able to participate in recreational activities (hobbies, crafts, sports, reading, television, games, computers, etc) as I want to.

Of those surveyed, 57% answered with a straight-up, “Yes.” Fifty-seven! A further 31% answered, “Rather yes.” Only 12% responded “No” or “Rather No.”

Putting myself in the position of an LIS patient (which I realize I am absolutely unqualified to do), I would have thought one of the chief burdens would be the unending montony of it. Like being Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, except without the baseball. Or the escape. I am shocked to learn that nearly 90% of the LIS patients reported having little to complain about, entertainment-wise.

And now, an anecdote…

Leaving work a little later than usual today, I missed my usual bus and stood for a full fifteen extra minutes in the cold waiting for the next one. Brrrrr grumble grumble I thought to myself when it arrived, and then just Grumble grumble grumble as I made myself comfy in its heated interior. My MP3 player was out of batteries, so instead of my own music I listened to the tinny fsk fsk fsk sound spilling out of the earbuds of my seatmate all the way home. The Thursday Times crossword was too hard. My left foot was doing that thing where it spasms hard inside your shoe and hurts like a mofo and there’s nothing much you can do about it. In summary, it was like my commute was a long TV movie starring Judith Light where she is terribly abused, but then she breaks free and rises above it, thinking she can outrun her oppressor, but then her past comes back to haunt her and threatens her reclaimed empowerment and all looks pretty bleak for poor Judith… you know, just like that.

And then there was this article about people who have had so many possibilities taken away and are still feeling positive about the whole deal, and it turns out I’m actually kind of a jerk. Dag.