In 1988, Polish railway worker Janek Grzebski was attaching two train carriages together and hit his head, putting him into a coma. At the same time, doctors found cancer in his brain and told his wife, Gertruda, that he would not live. Gertruda believed otherwise, though she took him home to die, feeding him with a spoon and moving his body to prevent bed sores. She kept this up for 19 years until recently, he woke up.

The road to Janek’s recovery started last October when he caught pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. As the doctors treated him, he began to recover. First he began to move and then speak unclearly. At first, only his wife could understand him, but now he has become more clear and is improving each day. He can now move his feet, feel his limbs, and hold light objects as well. They believe that soon he will be able to walk.

Grzebski is now spending his days rediscovering life. He wakes up at about seven in the morning, watches TV, and has breakfast with his wife. Last weekend, he took a walk in his wheelchair where he was reintroduced to the colors and atmosphere of Poland. At the time of his accident in 1988, Poland was still a communist country. In 1989, it developed a democracy and market economy which he is still catching up to. Still, he is not totally in the dark about the past. He claims that while he was asleep, he remembered everything that was going on around him, including his children’s weddings.

Gertruda always knew that her husband would recover. She says she would be outraged whenever someone would mention euthanasia to prevent their further suffering. In sticking to her beliefs, she has proved victorious and can now pick up where she and her husband left off.


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