A thankfully rare neurological disorder that results from damage to
the medulla. Afflicted patients no longer breathe
automatically, but they can still breathe voluntarily. Thus, to stay alive, they have to consciously breathe in...breathe out...breathe in...breathe out...
If they stop, they enter apnea, pass out, and die.
The disease is often diagnosed in the ER, since sudden illnesses like a stroke or a head injury can damage the medulla. Once it's identified, victims are maintained on a respirator for the rest
of their lives, which (needless to say) tends to make life a little less