The family of former France international Jean-Pierre Adams, whose life was brutally turned upside down in 1982, asks itself every year what gift to present him on key anniversaries.
Thirty-three years ago the beefy footballer, then 34, walked into a Lyon hospital for some routine surgery to correct a troublesome knee.
By the time he left, he would never talk, walk or move any of his limbs again.
His wife Bernadette has tended to him ever since, barely missing a day’s care over the last three decades.
The 67-year-old can breathe on his own, without the assistance of a machine, and has his own room, where he spends most of the day in the type of modified bed normally found in a hospital.
Jean-Pierre’s disastrous surgery reduced a flamboyant character, who had risen from humble beginnings in Senegal, to one who has been in a persistent vegetative state ever since.
A France international player in the 1970s, Jean-Pierre is now incapable of nearly all voluntary movement but can digest food as well as open and close his eyes.
Bernadette looks after her husband with an unfailing love — dressing, feeding and bathing him, turning him over in his bed to avoid sores, and often losing her own sleep to ensure he gets his.
It’s a measure of their bond that on the rare occasions Bernadette spends a night away from home, Jean-Pierre’s carers notice his mood seems to change.