Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
From his window, the jagged Colorado Rockies dominate the horizon, beckoning
to granola-crunching hikers, rock climbers, and soul-searchers alike. His
nurse leans into my ear and whispers, "He used to be a scientist in Italy."
We shake our heads.
I have learned Sam's story in pieces by reading his chart and speaking
to various people, including his wife, his nurse, and his doctors. Nearly
10 years ago on a crisp Colorado morning like this one, a drunk driver knocked
him off his bicycle onto his head. Since then his wife has cared full-time
for his brain-damaged body. In addition to changing his catheter, she bathes,
dresses, and spoon-feeds him daily. From what I've learned, she's done an
impressive job maintaining him and keeping him out of the hospital.
Beitel A. A Moment of Clarity. JAMA. 1998;279(4):256. doi:10.1001/jama.279.4.256