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Bringing him back to life
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Luo Yingzhen shows her husband their pictures at the annual awards ceremony for the 10 "People Who Moved China", at Xuanwu Hospital.

Luo Yingzhen, 29, writes regularly in her diary about her husband Luo Jinyong, 34, a former police officer who was reduced to a persistent vegetative state after being beaten by drug dealers. Both of them come from Yongde county in Yunnan province.

In one of her entries, she wrote: "Darling, these days butterflies often visit us. I am wondering whether you have turned into one of them in order to approach me. I often dream that some day we can have a happy and free life like a couple of butterflies."

Since the attack on Luo Jinyong in 2005, his wife has written in her diary every night and read to her husband the next morning.

Luo suffered severe head injuries during a fight with three drug dealers in Yongde on Oct 1, 2005. As a result he was left in a coma.

"By reading him these 'love letters' and talking fondly with him everyday, I believe he must hear me some day," Luo said in a previous interview.

"I hope he can wake up after I finish each diary."

Luo Yingzhen at the awards ceremony held by China Central Television. Photos by Wang Jianjun

Now, her dream has come true - Luo Jinyong became conscious mid last year even though he is still challenged by even the simplest bodily functions, like moving fingers and sitting up. He is undertaking rehabilitation at Xuanwu Hospital of Beijing.

Recently, for her devotion and care for her husband, Luo Yingzhen was honored by China Central Television (CCTV) as one of the 10 "People Who Moved China". The annual awards ceremony is one of the country's most publicized events.

"I am only an ordinary wife of a police officer. (Since his injury) I have been doing only one thing for myself and my family - taking care of my husband. Everyday only one person is on mind - my husband," Luo said at the ceremony. "So I feel flattered to get this prize."

Everyday, Luo Yingzhen stays with Luo Jinyong at the hospital for 15 hours, from 7 am till 10 pm.

"Eight hours are used to help him do rehabilitation training and the other seven hours to talk, caress, massage, clean and feed him," she said.

The training aims to help Luo Jinyong gradually regain bodily functions such as swallowing, sitting, standing, lying down, walking and talking.

During training, Luo Yingzhen keeps encouraging Luo Jinyong and corrects his every movement.

"Honey, come on. Please bend your knees," she said when her husband did sit-down-and-stand-up training last weekend.

Although Luo Jinyong could hear and understand, he still found it hard to bend his knees as he sits down.

Then Luo Yingzhen had an idea. She let her husband sit on her laps and supported his kneels with hers.

"Sweetheart, what do you think of this sofa? Is it comfortable?" she joked.

Everyday, it takes her two hours to clean him and the bed, three hours to "feed" him nutrients, water, juice and soup, and another several hours to massage him, before she leaves the ward at night.

As Luo Jinyong has not regained his ability to eat, all his liquid food has to be injected into his stomach.

"No matter how long it will take him to recover - 10 years, 20 years or even a lifetime, I will stay with him.

"That's simply because I cannot live without him and he cannot live without me We are inseparable."

This "simple" reason also explains why Luo Yingzhen never gave up in those 600-odd days when Luo Jinyong was in a deep coma.

"As his brain was damaged so seriously, almost everybody including doctors thought his was a hopeless case. But I always believed he would not leave me alone as he loves me so much."

On the night of May 24, last year, Luo Yingzhen had a dream that Luo Jinyong was able to write.

The next day, she rushed to the hospital and found him already becoming conscious. Then she gave him a pen and a piece of paper.

Surprisingly, Luo wrote five characters on the paper "Laopo, wo ai ni (Wife, I love you)".

Medical experts said it was miraculous how Luo Jinyong woke up after being unconscious for such a long time (about one year and eight months).

For this they credit Luo's dedicated care and affectionate talk.

"I admire Luo Yingzhen very much. Without her, Luo Jinyong could not have made so much progress," Professor Wang Maobin, Luo's chief doctor at Xuanwu Hospital, said.

Now, Luo is able to write and speak a little.

If the training continues to go, Luo may be able to stand and walk by June, Wang said.

The couple were married in 2002 and had planned to have a baby in November 2005.

"As we were too busy with working in two places, we did not have a child," Luo says.

"You often said only a child could make a family complete. We planned for a baby this month, but now ," Luo wrote in her first diary entry on November 2, 2005.

"Honey, please create a miracle with your strong will. You must stand up. When you recover, we will have a baby and live a happy life."

On Oct 1, 2005, the couple came across three men on their way to visit Luo Yingzhen's parents in Yongde. Luo suspected the trio were carrying drugs and so he showed his police card and tried to stop them. In a bid to escape, they struck Luo on the head with a heavy piece of wood. Later, two pieces of heroin were found at the site, weighing 1.15 kg.

In June 2007, Luo Yingzhen, who gave up her job to look after her husband, was made superintendent by the local police bureau for her devotion to her husband.

(China Daily February 28, 2008)

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