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Locked in

Short documentary, 2002, 45 min.

Ten years ago, Dick van de Heijde lost all control of his body as the result of a brain haemorrhage. He can think, see, feel and hear just like everybody else, but is as it were, locked into himself; the locked-in syndrome. His only method of communication is blinking his left eyelid. And yet he still lives at home with his wife Diana and three years ago they had a son.

At the time of the brain haemorrhage, Dick and Diana had been living together for a few years. Afterwards, they opted to try to live as normal a life as possible, avoiding institutions. Dick communicates by means of 'lettering'. Diana recites the letters of the alphabet and Dick blinks his eyelid when she reaches the right letter. 'I have kilos of thoughts, but I can only vent a few milligrams.' The documentary makes very clear what the cost of living with him is for Diana, his mother and their friends. Communicating with him requires a lot of energy and is often one-way traffic. But it also becomes obvious that Dick is an optimist who fully realises that his happiness is only possible thanks to his living situation. His life is also filled with music, as has been the case from a very early age. He listens to CDs and tapes for at least six hours per day. 'I can't get enough of them. I never get bored. In fact, I don't have enough time.'



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