Our 50th Year Icon

As part of our ongoing celebration of the magazine’s fiftieth year in print, this month’s Dog-Eared Page is an essay previously published in The Sun.

— Ed.


When I arrived for my first therapy session with Mark O’Brien in 1986, his attendant had already removed him from his iron lung and placed him in a bed, near his portable oxygen machine. Mark had needed these mechanical respirators since he’d been stricken with polio at the age of six. His atrophied, sixty-pound body was unable to move from the neck down. His head lay frozen to the right. He had beautiful blue eyes and soft, reddish-blond hair. I was nervous, as Mark was the most profoundly disabled client I’d ever had. He was ready and determined, however, to explore his sexuality.