The last two and a half years have seen millions of people in many communities around the world “locked in” as a result of the isolation requirements imposed by COVID-19 outbreaks. Australia was no exception. Melbourne holds the world record for the longest lockdown at 267 days.
Thankfully, Australia is coming to the end of its COVID-19 mandates but severe restrictions continue in a few countries, most notably China, which has followed a "zero COVID" approach to the pandemic.
Locked in syndrome is also a neurological condition resulting from damage to the brainstem. In this condition the patient cannot move or speak but may be able to respond to questions through eye movements. Blinking once or twice as the sole way of communicating brings to mind Morse code or the binary processing used in computers. Life may not be much fun when "the outputs" available to you are so severely limited.
Loss of sight affects 43 million people around the world and deafness nearly twice that number. Sadly many with these conditions do not reach their full potential. The inability to respond to external stimuli has differing effects however. The blind lose contact with the world, the deaf lose contact with people.
Nevertheless some overcome their handicaps and achieve remarkably success. The most famous is Helen Keller, who lost both her sight and hearing at the age of 19 months of age from infection but went on to become a world famous author and essayist.
Barry Morris lives in Goonellabah. Now in his nineties his sight, hearing and health have all deteriorated in recent years but he retains a positive outlook on life.
At 84 Barry took up music as a hobby. Undaunted by his disabilities and the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 lockdowns he, like others around the world, seized the opportunity to bring a little joy to those in a similar situation. (Hear Barry explain his circumstances and motivation in his own words.)
His “hit” Youtube single Isolation Blues brings a smile to all who watch it.
He might not be a pinball wizard or even a Roger Daltrey but nobody’s going to keep him down.
Postscript: Barry passed away in August 2022 and will be missed by all who knew him.