Paolo Machado has been relying on an artificial respirator 24 hours a day for the past 45 years. After contracting polio as a baby, he suffered infantile paralysis and has been unable to leave the hospital ever since.

In a recent interview with BBC News, the Brazilian national spoke about dreams, aspirations, and how life unfolds in an environment where everything else is temporary.

As a child, he gradually uncovered the world on his own, exploring the sterile hallways in a wheelchair.

"I explored up and down the corridors, going into the rooms of other children that were here - that is how I discovered my 'universe,'" he told reporters. "For me, playing football or with normal toys wasn't an option, so it was more about using my imagination."

45 Years Seen From A Hospital Bed

Machado, who contracted polio during the great Brazilian outbreak in the 1960s, has lived through a slew of restrictive containment strategies, including the polio "torpedo" that suspended ailing children in body-encasing iron lungs.

"It was very sad to see all those children, all lying there immobilized in their beds, or with very little movement," said Ligia Marcia Fizeto, Machado's nursing assistant, who began working at the hospital shortly after he was first admitted. Together, they've seen friends and family come and go over several decades — and today, only a fraction remains.

"There was me, Eliana, Pedrinho, Anderson, Claudia, Luciana and Tania. They were here for a good length of time too, more than 10 years," Machado said. "Now, there's just two of us left - me and Eliana. Each loss was like a dismembering, you know, physical... like a mutilation."

Eliana Zagui, Machado's lifelong neighbor and friend, has for the past 40 years spent every day and night at his side, and the two have developed a sibling-like relationship marked by trust, love, and daily fights.

"Every day, when I wake up I have the certainty that my strength is over there - Eliana. And it's reciprocated. I trust her and she trusts me," he said. However, he stresses the necessity of regular bickering and discord. "I think that's normal between brother and sisters or a couple. But it's not an argument where one side feels offended, you end up reflecting and think, 'OK, I forgive you,'" he said with a laugh.

Paolo Machado On Animation And Future Projects

His limited mobility and delicate health notwithstanding, Machado has had formal training in computer animation and works sedulously on art and film projects from his hospital bed on a daily basis. Through an online campaign, he recently raised $65,000 to finance The Adventures of Lecia and Her Friends — a new stop-motion animated series, based on a book written by Zagui.

Bruno Saggese, a cartoonist who has been working with Machado for the past two years, never ceases to be amazed by the calm and positive energy pervading the wing that has housed Machado and Zagui for so many years.

"You are in an environment where there are patients in a critical state, worried family members, doctors and nurses running around. But when I went into their room, it seemed like a world apart," he told reporters.