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A Piece of My Mind
January 28, 1998

A Moment of Clarity

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(4):256. doi:10.1001/jama.279.4.256

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.