The guy with the sexy ladies is Stephen Hawking. Â Most people know him as one of the smartest mophos in the known Universe. Â He has a very advanced case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) orÂ Lou Gehrig’s Disease (as it’s known here in the US, or motor neuron disease in some countries), which negates his speech, movement, breathing, swallowing, and pretty much everything else that can go wrong in the body. Â It’s proof that if there happens to be a god in the Universe, he is one cruel bastard.
Stephen Hawking got really terribly ill in 1985 with a case of pneumonia, while he was writing his bookÂ A Brief History of Time. Â Stephen and his first wife Jane were in Switzerland at the time — a time that Hawking calls “the darkest of my life.” Â Doctors were so concerned about Stephen that they offered his first wife Jane the option of unplugging Stephen’s life support, thus ending the world the benefit of learning from his incredible mind. Â From an article at Wikipedia, confirmed by a source at Medical Daily:
During a visit to CERN in Geneva in the summer of 1985, Hawking contractedÂ pneumoniaÂ which in his condition was life-threatening; he was so ill that Jane was asked if life support should be terminated. She refused but the consequence was aÂ tracheotomy, which would require round-the-clock nursing care, and remove what remained of his speech. TheÂ National Health ServiceÂ would pay for aÂ nursing homeÂ but Jane was determined that he would live at home. The cost of the care was funded by an American foundation. Nurses were hired for the three shifts required to provide the round-the-clock support he required. One of those employed was Elaine Mason, who was to become Hawking’s second wife.
When I read this the first time before I decided to write about it, all of the hairs on both of my arms stood up. Â Stephen Hawking is one of my life’s heroes, I have been reading his books and papers since I was a young boy, when I learned that Science was my life’s calling — to think of having grown up without his influence in my life would have been one of the most detrimental things imaginable to me. Â From the article at Medical Daily:
“The doctors thought I was so far gone that they offered Jane [the option] to turn off the machine,” Hawking, 71, says in the film. “The weeks of intensive care that followed were the darkest of my life.”
Hawking describes to documentarians the progression of the disease, which kills brain cells controlling essential involuntary muscles as the victim loses speech and ambulatory functions. He was initially diagnoses with the disease in 1963 and given two years to live, but continued to work and became an accomplished researcher and professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
“Slowly the drugs worked, though a small incision in my throat robbed me of my ability to talk,” Hawking says. “I was then put on a ventilator and hopes of finishing my book seemed over.”
For the sake of the world’s knowledge of the Universe, I am so glad that Jane had the forethought to forego the Euthanasia option. Â Stephen has been divorced twice, and is apparently an avid attendee of the strip club culture. Â Hey, we’ve all been there, Stephen!
Something I noticed missing in the myriad articles about Stephen Hawking’s potential but passed opportunity for euthanasia was what he has done since turning down the euthanasia way out. Â Don’t you find it a little short-sighted that news stories mention that he was offered euthanasia but none of what he’s done since turning it down?
Since 1985, Stephen Hawking:
- had three children and been married twice
- published the best seller,Â A Brief History of Time
- was awarded theÂ Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical SocietyÂ (1985),Â theÂ Paul Dirac MedalÂ (1987), and jointly with Roger Penrose, the prestigiousÂ Wolf PrizeÂ (1988)
- was named aÂ Companion of HonourÂ byÂ Queen Elizabeth II in 1989
- co-edited a book onÂ Euclidean quantum gravityÂ with Gary Gibbons
- had a movie made of “A Brief History of Time,”Â directed byÂ Errol MorrisÂ and produced byÂ Steven Spielberg
- appeared on Star Trek: Â The Next Generation in 1993
- became a grandfather!
- got to take a zero-gravity flight in the Vomit Comet
- lost a bet to Higgs that the Higgs Boson would never be discovered
- has developed Locked-In Syndrome 🙁
- was awarded theÂ CopleyÂ Medal from theÂ Royal SocietyÂ (2006),Â America’s highest civilian honour, theÂ Presidential Medal of FreedomÂ (2009),Â and the RussianÂ Fundamental Physics PrizeÂ (2012).
- and, among other numerous list items,Â narrated theÂ EnlightenmentÂ segment of theÂ 2012 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony
Stephen Hawking, thanks for sticking with it. Â We here at JimOnLight.com salute you!