Fans of Disney animated musicals and movies know one version of the story of Sleeping Beauty. The 1959 beloved classic introduced the world to such Disney staples as a princess (Aurora), three fairy godmothers (Flora, Fauna and Merriweather), and an evil witch (Maleficent) who casts a sleep spell on Aurora, which ends when a handsome prince kisses her after killing the witch. Fans of original versions of fairy tales know this one is based on a story found in the narrative Perceforest, composed between 1330 and 1344, and published published by Giambattista Basile in his collection of tales titled The Pentamerone, and later by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. An oral telling of that version was printed by the Brothers Grimm who were impressed by a really ‘grim’ tale of a princess who falls in love with a man, then falls into an enchanted sleep when she pricks her finger with flax; while asleep, the man impregnates her (we said it was grim), the child is born and eventually removes the flax, waking the woman, who realizes who the father is and marries him anyway. Fans of reality will be pleased to learn that the story of a real sleeping beauty discovered in Indonesia is not as grim but still pretty serious.
“Saturday night, the condition was still dry (asleep), then I took it to the hospital for inpatient care. For three days at Ansari Saleh Hospital this child had not yet woken up. Finally brought home, because the results of the medical examination were normal.”
Siti Raisa Miranda, called ‘Echa’ by her family in South Kalimantan, Indonesia, was treated at the Dr Ansari Saleh Hospital in Banjarmasin after sleeping continuously for three days without waking up. three days of not waking up. She slept for a total of nine days before finally waking up, and was returned to her parents weak but “normal.” Well, normal except for having an extremely rare neurological condition called hypersomnia or Kleine Levin syndrome (KLS). That was diagnosed the last time she went into a prolonged 13 day sleep in 2017. No finger pricking caused this so-called Sleeping Daughter of South Kalimanta’s condition, although she’s probably been pricked with plenty of needles as doctors sought to treat this condition so rare that she’s the only one ever in Indonesia – only 40 cases are known worldwide.
“Usually when you wake up, the condition is still weak and not really stable. Later it will also normalize itself after a few days.”
He mother told Kompas.com that Echa still had to be bathed and fed and helped to sit, stand and walk, although they no longer needed to carry her to the bathroom. Doctors told CNN that KLS symptoms, in addition to excessive daytime sleepiness are excessive hunger, cognitive impairment, hallucinations, childish behavior and hypersexuality – although not of the grim fairy tale kind. The exact cause is not known but is thought to be linked to an injury to the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite and body temperature. It is also thought to be associated with autoimmune diseases and possibly genetic, although its extreme rarity makes that unlikely. Medications that provide stimulation, increase awareness and reduce drowsiness are prescribed, but the disease is episodic and generally returns, as is the case with Echa. That is also the case with a young in England who had a serious episode in 2018.
“And they DID NOT live happily ever after.”
Unfortunately, this is the ‘grim’ kind of fairy tale, not the Disney version, so this rare condition goes on, with no telethons for a cure or Disney movies about the sufferers. Echa’s symptoms are not the worst — Sharik Tovar, a 17-year-old girl in Colombian, sleeps for up to two months at a time and has suffered permanent memory loss as a result.
If only there were a KLS-causing Maleficent to blame and force to release these spells.