"I had often seen visitors gather around the iron lung and talk to one another as though no one else were present. They would talk about her, and they would talk about others:
'Well, it looks as though he'll be able to get around pretty well on crutches; he's lucky not to end up in a wheelchair.'
Or 'Well, he's one of the lucky ones - at least he can get around in a wheelchair, you know; he's not in an iron lung.'
Or 'Well, probably she won't stay in that iron lung forever, and she's lucky to be alive.'
Or 'Well, it's lucky in a way - at least she didn't live on and have to spend the rest of her life in an iron lung.'
This was my brief, but definitive, course in the absurdity of comparing my own life, and my own circumstances, to those of anyone else. We all have the experience of life in common, but the lives we all have are incomparable."
A Nearly Normal Life, by Charles L. Mee