Martha Mason, who lived more than 60 of her 71 years in an iron lung, died on Monday. Mason wrote a memoir, "Breathe: Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung," and she's also been featured in a documentary film "Martha in Lattimore." There is currently one copy of Breathe on Amazon, listed at $200. From the NYT:
From her horizontal world – a 7-foot-long, 800-pound iron cylinder that encased all but her head – Ms. Mason lived a life that was by her own account fine and full, reading voraciously, graduating with highest honors from high school and college, entertaining and eventually writing."Martha Mason, Who Wrote Book About Her Decades in an Iron Lung, Dies at 71" (Thanks, Shawn Connally!)
She chose to remain in an iron lung, she often said, for the freedom it gave her. It let her breathe without tubes in her throat, incisions or hospital stays, as newer, smaller ventilators might require. It took no professional training to operate, letting her remain mistress of her own house, with just two aides assisting her.
“I’m happy with who I am, where I am,” Ms. Mason told The Charlotte Observer in 2003. “I wouldn’t have chosen this life, certainly. But given this life, I’ve probably had the best situation anyone could ask for.”New York Times: