Rise and Shine

Simon Lewis, Santa Monica Press
Rise and Shine

Chapter One: Meet John Doe

"They're funny things, accidents," said Eeyore. "You never have them 'til you're having them."
— A.A. Milne,
The House at Pooh Corner

Like me to show you the Music Center president’s new home?” Marcy asked with her bright laugh.

We had met a year and a half before, separately invited to a weekend party at Lake Tahoe, and Marcy was my passenger. When our car reached Magic Mountain on the return trip, I asked her for a date, and after a happy courtship, proposed in her hometown of Phoenix. Married for five brilliant months, tonight was to celebrate our first new car, which we picked up two days before from the Infiniti dealer. My bride was the marketing director for the Music Center, the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, and her boss’s new home nearby was an architectural sight.

“Let’s take a look after dinner,” I suggested, hungry after a day in class with USC’s graduate film students. We were headed west on Beverly Boulevard, a major six-lane road that crosses L.A., a few blocks from Farfalle, the restaurant where I threw Marcy a surprise birthday party. Her friends serenaded her from the balcony above the back dining patio, and it was our favorite since.

You never get to make the two decisions of real importance in your life: how you arrived, and when you will leave. We always die too soon or too late, our life complete at that moment. And in that moment, Marcy left. A disabling or fatal injury strikes someone in America every two seconds. On film and television, death usually involves suspense. Some appropriate dialogue, a ticking clock, or an assassin in the shadows as music and editing slowly build to climax. But in real life, there’s no foreshadowing, no hint of what’s to come. We live our lives in that single moment in which the present becomes our past, perhaps why we call it “the present,” for there are infinite possibilities within every moment it gives us.

If I paused to tighten my shoelaces before I left USC to collect my wife from work, we would have been twenty feet back and missed the speeding bullet headed toward us. If we caught one more red light on our route, we would have reached our restaurant safely. But in that moment, on that day, I was behind the wheel of a brand new four-door Infiniti, as we drove along a typically busy thoroughfare, those few short blocks from Farfalle.

It was just before 7:00 pm. That moment, a young couple was about to cross McCadden Place, a quiet residential side street running north-south lined with trees that feeds into Beverly Boulevard. Shaded by the maples, it’s the sort of leafy two-lane road that’s safe for kids to play on, with homes down both sides and stop signs at either end; the kind of street you can step into when you cross at the same time as you check for traffic. Except right then, an unregistered white Chevy van hurtled north on it at seventy-five miles an hour, gas pedal floored. It blew through the stop sign and sliced through the first four of Beverly’s six lanes. But for our Infiniti that blocked the Chevy’s path, it would have crossed the last two lanes — the final thirty feet of Beverly — and taken the young couple. Instead, it broadsided us, the worst kind of collision.

The sound of the crash froze the young couple’s steps, and they watched the truck smash the Infiniti onto the far side of Beverly Boulevard, bulldozing it across the final two lanes. The force was immense. When the Infiniti’s wheels ground against the curb, the Chevy still powered forward, and the pinned Infiniti had nowhere to go except up. So when it reached the curb, the Infiniti took off and, airborne, arced twenty feet until it smashed into the big maple in front of the house at the corner. The rigid tree delivered a second crushing body blow to the other side of our car, completed the last coincidence, and final if.

There was no pain for me as death began. The brain doesn’t feel pain in that way, but swells when traumatized. And the more damage it suffers, the more ruptured blood vessels leak, the more oxygen the brain needs, and the more it swells. Encased within the skull, it can’t expand, so increasing pressure damages, then destroys, more brain tissue. And because of its position in the skull, the pressure tends to push the brain down into the opening that connects with the brain stem, then jam the brain stem in turn through the base of the skull, into the spinal canal.

The Bergen family had started dinner in the house at the corner of Beverly and McCadden when they felt the explosive concussion. As soon as the ground shook, they ducked under their table for cover from, they thought, an earthquake, except the tremor ended too fast. They looked out their window, and saw the Infiniti where it landed in front of their home.

Harvey and Joy Warren, married film writers, were also on their way to dinner.

As their manager and producer when I represented writers and directors at Blake Edwards Entertainment, I’d set up some deals for them and we’d become good friends. Harvey saw a white van apparently parked normally by the side of Beverly, and then did a double take.

It was like one of those kid puzzles, “What’s wrong with this picture?” From where he sat, the Chevy looked quite normal — except its spinning wheels weren’t on the road, but at the top. This Chevy was parked on its roof. Once Harvey drove past it, saw the wreckage and understood, he pulled over, grabbed his fire extinguisher, and raced like a good Samaritan toward a river of gas that gushed from the back of the Infiniti.

The car’s frame had imploded, and crushed me into an impossibly small space between the driver door and center console, chest and face jammed into the steering column, my airbag deployed and bloody. There was no sound, no movement, so they turned to Marcy. A letter Joy wrote to my parents described what she and Harvey saw that I will never remember, and can never change:

An off-duty paramedic came onto the scene, discovered the passenger was not breathing and immediately began CPR through a plastic mouthpiece. People came running out, thinking there had been an earth quake. The paramedic screamed for someone to call 911.

A young woman in her car said she had 911 on her car phone. She screamed, ‘Don’t move anyone, under any circumstance.’ But the passenger wasn’t breathing. The paramedic said he had no choice but to move her enough to administer CPR to try and revive her.

Neither the passenger nor the driver could have been moved without taking the car apart anyway. Harvey knew that the passenger, Simon’s wife, wasn’t going to survive — despite the seat belts, despite the airbags. It was a terrifying sight in a residential neighborhood.

A parking control officer who happened to be writing tickets in the neighborhood arrived on the scene. I handed him some flares from our trunk, to set up traffic control. And we waited some more.

Finally a fire truck arrived on the scene. Still no ambulance or police. The firemen counseled against the flares, even out in the street, and said they would take over now.

Had we known it was Simon — and, God help him, Harvey was not even two feet from him and couldn’t tell it was him — we would have stayed on and tried to make sure every effort was made in his and Marcy’s behalf. We thought we were just in the firemen’s way at this point.

Another observation. We were there fifteen to twenty minutes. When we left, the police still had not arrived. . . .

The paramedic was on his way to work at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center less than a mile away, and witnessed the crash. He couldn’t reach me when he raced to our car, and so he focused on Marcy, who in a cruel irony appeared peacefully asleep as he unsuccessfully attempted CPR.

“Two vehicles. No survivors,” he sighed as her life slipped away. With no survivors, there was no reason for 911 to dispatch an ambulance, and no hope for my remains, buried motionless and silent deep inside the mangled car, as the firemen waited for the siren of their salvage truck. California leads the nation in hit-and-runs, and L.A. leads the state by far.

Of the two million Americans who suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, most from car and motorcycle accidents, up to a hundred thousand will die prematurely. Many will face up to a decade of extensive rehabilitation, often to restore only minimal function, because even a TBI as seemingly minor as a concussion can have devastating long-term physical, as well as mental, consequences.

To the rescue team that arrived, I looked far beyond the point of no return. With two Jaws of Life systems, it would take more than another hour for them to spread open and cut apart the twisted scraps of what was once our car. While they worked, police investigated the brand new Infiniti with untraceable dealer plates; no access to the lifeless driver for license or other identification, and the Owner’s Manual in the glove box not yet completed. “UNK,” they wrote in most of the boxes on their Traffic Collision Report. “Unknown,” like the main character’s name in Kurt Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan, a book I had discussed adapting into a movie after my current project Mother Night. As for the missing Chevy driver, he bought the white van days before at a car lot. Through a gap in the registration system favored by dealerships, there was no obligation for them to verify a car buyer’s identity or insurance. So this guy paid cash, drove the Chevy straight off the lot, killed my wife, and escaped into the night.

There would be legislation, helped into law by my father and others’ testimonies before the California Senate in Sacramento, to allow police to impound such vehicles and take dangerous drivers off the road, but too late for us. We were now a file with sixty police photos; the Personal Effects Inventory of what was in our pockets; and a death certificate as Marcy was taken from my side on her final path: “DOB 07/27/1966, died 03/02/1994, Multiple Blunt Force Body Trauma.”

Intermittent traffic flow was restored as rescue crews cleared debris. Dr. Phil Anderson of Cedars-Sinai, on his way to work like the first paramedic, looked out his car window and wondered if he’d get a call on this one.

When the Jaws of Life crew cut off the driver’s door, and a first rescuer reached in his fingers to touch my cold nonresponsive wrist, he felt a faint pulse. I was still alive, still dying, my body temperature in deep hypothermia. Amid all the unknowns, I believe lack of access helped save me; the fact paramedics couldn’t physically get to my body and wrap it in blankets to try to keep me warm, to stop the process of my death, let my brain and body shut down.

One element of the medical protocol, applied as soon as the team got to me, may also have saved me. In America, the protocol is to evacuate victims in critical condition — even at the risk of immediate death as paramedics lift their broken bodies onto stretchers — because getting them to full medical facilities is their best chance. I’ll always be grateful for the do-or-die, proactive American approach.

For now, the extraction team sheared off the roof and all doors, cut through the seat belt and my clothes to reach my body. All belongings left behind in the car’s stripped hull, I was naked and nameless, balanced between death and rebirth, as the ambulance team tried to maintain key functions, keep me breathing with a tightly sealed bag-valve mask and flow meter to force feed pure oxygen. Cedars-Sinai was close — less than a mile — but after three hours, blood began to trickle from my ears as the pressure inside my head passed critical.

The largest nonprofit hospital in the western United States, Cedars-Sinai spans several city blocks. Despite all the medical cutbacks, it was one of the few remaining fully equipped trauma center ERs and, because it wasn’t the weekend, it had room for me. Two more life-saving factors added to the balance, in which my fate now lay.

“Moving all extremities and phonating unintelligibly, but not verbalizing,” the admission report read. Straight into the Intensive Care Unit they raced me, to waiting doctors and critical care nurses — the full resources of modern American medicine in a great hospital, poised to deploy at full speed.

On the wall of every ICU is a big clock. All is done to the clock, including the time of death, but until that point the team methodically goes through its steps; doctors make choices, ICU nurses are trained to never say so much as “oops!” always “there!” if they drop something. All highly trained soldiers of life, they were ready to take control of my breathing and blood circulation with full intubation, but they had no identification, no medical history, and no assessment of my internal injuries. Fatal seizures after brain injury are common, and inevitably there were two schools of thought: Whether to use anti-seizure drugs immediately, which may increase the risk of later seizures, or to wait until they happen.

My doctor chose to follow the second theory, perhaps because any further disruption to my brain chemistry looked too risky. Once they met my critical needs, they could attempt to sedate me, try to move me onto life support, and only then could they prepare me for the next level of care.

The development of films and television shows is often a family business. To keep costs down through the time between movies, while I developed and wrote fresh projects and lectured at USC, my mother would field calls and maintain the offices. She’d worked years before in the British film business, and it was light work she enjoyed.

At the end of that day, as I drove off the USC campus to collect Marcy, my mother confirmed to film director and star Keith Gordon and his producer Bob Weide that I’d set a meeting on Mother Night with Sony Classics first thing next morning. She’d called Marcy and me twice at our home and gone to bed, wondering why I hadn’t called in to confirm I’d be there. It was after 11:00 pm when the phone rang, and she heard the harsh static of a two-way radio car phone.

“Who’s there?” my mother asked.

“Is this . . . Mrs. Patricia Lewis?” a voice answered.

“Yes, who are you?”

“Are you alone?” the voice pressed.

“No, I’m with my husband. . . . Who is this?” my mother insisted, confused.

Pause, more static.

“May I speak to . . . Mr. Basil Lewis?” the voice persisted.

“Not until you tell me who you are.”

There was a longer pause, then a new voice on the line.

“This is Detective Pearson, West Traffic Division.. . . Marcy Lewis is dead and your son is critical.”

My mother broke down. My father took the phone from her and confirmed the facts. He belongs to what Tom Brokaw called The Greatest Generation in his book about everyday people who were transformed by the challenges of World War II, as in my father’s case when he was plucked from the London School of Economics to serve in the British Army in Burma. The double tragedy was overwhelming for them, as it is for the millions who get an unexpected call from the police. My father took my mother’s hands.

“Our son is still alive, and he needs us to be strong for him,” he said gently.

A great man in every sense, he already knew his next urgent step. My parents were in Sherman Oaks, at least a half-hour from Cedars. Between their two other sons — my brother David, an attorney, and Jonathan, a financial consultant — David in Beverly Hills was nearest to the hospital.

Within seconds, David had the information and called his next-door neighbor, Mark Neame, a doctor who practiced there. Dr. Neame was a gastroenterologist I’d met at my brother and sister-in-law’s home.

“Mouth to anus, liver to pancreas!” he’d humorously introduced himself. Like an Elizabethan courtier making a formal bow, his hand marked out in the air the north, south, east, and west of the digestive system with a flourish as he described his medical specialty. When Mark’s wife answered the phone, David spoke calmly, clearly.

“Ruth, it’s David. Medical emergency. I need Mark.”

And seconds later, “Mark, my brother is in critical condition at Cedars.”

Mark expected more details, and questions, but then realized David was done. That was all the information that mattered. Mark cut to the bottom line.

“Be at your front door in five, ready to leave.”

When Mark arrived, he took David into a room away from the kids, then called Cedars, gave his medical code, and connected to Intensive Care.

“Who’s on duty? Good. I need status on Simon Lewis.”

“No Simon Lewis here tonight,” countered the duty nurse, as she checked her register.

Mark frowned, and picked up the handset to disable the speakerphone. “Run your John Does,” he said quietly. Different ages, sexes, and ethnicities flowed inaudibly down the phone line; a roll call of those touched by catastrophe that day.

“Next, next,” Mark intoned, until he heard about a male Caucasian, John Doe #584291, date of birth 00/00/0000, estimated in his thirties.

He hung up, turned to David, and chose his words. “Some good news. We have the ‘A Team’ in the ER tonight. Let’s go.”

After a quick call to my parents, the two headed for Cedars. While David drove, Mark worked the cell phone, got more data on this John Doe, and based on it, began to track down a colleague who might save my life. Assuming you’re an average adult, if you laid out all your blood vessels in one line, they would be close to a hundred thousand miles long, driven by your heart, beating more than a hundred thousand times a day. Interventional radiologists are medical detectives, specialists in imaging trauma victims, who try in a desperately short time to find the critical breaches in that hundred thousand mile, three-dimensional latticework, and embolize, or seal, them.

Of over a thousand doctors who practiced at Cedars, there were only a couple of interventional radiologists, and Mark reached Dr. Richard Van Allan at his home to come out in the middle of the night to this John Doe.

As he listened to Mark, and urged his Jaguar through the streets of Beverly Hills as fast as he could, David felt encouraged. He heard the “A Team” had successfully transferred me onto full life support, and assumed my life was saved with Mark’s interventional radiologist on his way into the ICU “stat” — the highest medical priority. Mark decided to adjust David’s expectations, and reveal the side of his conversations that my brother didn’t hear.

“David, your brother’s blood loss is massive, and it hasn’t stopped,” he explained. “The surgeon says that as fast as his transfusions inject new blood, it leaks out again through Simon’s internal injuries.”

As they pulled into Emergency Admissions, Mark described how a patient whose blood pressure dropped this low went into irreversible shock. Even with transfusions, a patient who loses too much blood reaches a point of no return, and their life ebbs away.

In the ICU, the team managed to control John Doe enough to run critical care images of his head, jaw, chest, ribs, pelvis, knees, and feet. His whole body was crushed, every cavity filled with blood. A hematoma is the collection of blood in tissues or space following the rupture of a blood vessel. In the brain, they can be epidural (or outside the brain and its fibrous covering, which is called the dura); subdural (between the brain and its dura); or intracerebral (in the brain tissue itself).

The scans revealed John Doe had all three, generalized brain swelling with massive, diffuse injury to it. Perhaps a third of the right hemisphere was already destroyed, containing his parietal lobe, where we process multi-sensory input to create an integrated picture of our environment so we feel embodied within it; and close by the frontal lobe, involved in planning, problem solving, personality, and a variety of higher cognitive functions, including behavior and emotions.

All were damaged to an unknown extent in this John Doe as the pressure in his brain built, unrelentingly, for over four hours. Blood pumped into the spaces behind his sockets, giving John Doe what doctors call “raccoon eyes,” bulging and black.

Eyes wide open, the irises were asymmetric, empty of apparent thought or personality as his crippled brain began to lose control of its autonomic systems, the patterns acquired by the brain stem at the dawn of consciousness. There was more blood now from his nostrils and ears as the intracranial pressure, or ICP, steadily rose.

The “A Team” neurosurgeon, Dr. Bruce Kern, stood by, scrubbed in and ready to open the skull. But with no medical history available, he needed to wait for clearance to go in. He had to know if it would kill the patient. More specialists arrived in the Intensive Care Unit, from Dr. Kern down to Dr. Ramsay, the resident on duty that night, as Cedars is also a teaching hospital. With a gross incision opened through the abdominal cavity, the general surgeon confirmed the status of John Doe’s major organs.

Liver, spleen, stomach, and kidneys were in place, and apparently functional. A shadow on an image required Kern to wait more, until an emergency aortogram checked John Doe’s heart; also still functional. At last, he got the green light for ventriculostomy, a procedure to measure the pressure inside of the skull by placing a device within one of its fluid-filled, hollow chambers and, once measured, to release and then regulate the pressure.

Dr. Van Allan checked his scans, as he gained access to the blood vessels, snaked his guide wire and catheter through arteries, and tried to find the sources of bleeding deep within John Doe’s pelvis, as blood spurted and leaked its way through his ruptured circulatory system. The heart forces our blood on its steady journey all our life, but now — thump, thump, thumpetythump —  the artificial pump pushed it through John Doe, and out again. With continuous transfusions, this John Doe needed more than forty-five units (more than four replacements of every drop in him), plus multiple packs of plasma. And even after Van Allan’s catheter injected an embolizing agent to seal the main leaks and preserve arterial flow, the team would have to wait and see, because it takes hours for banked blood to restore its crucial flow of oxygen to body tissue.

There were eight operating rooms on four different floors at Cedars-Sinai, all deserted as David and Mark ran through them in search of John Doe until they entered this one, and changed into scrubs. My brother was familiar with operating rooms. Long before he became an attorney, he was a summer intern in the operating room of a brain surgery hospital, but was still not prepared for what he saw.

The body was black and blue from head to toe due to internal bleeding and bruises. The lucky number 7 represents the seven openings of the human body, but when you’re fully intubated in the ICU, every one of them is managed by machines and sealed — your luck run out. For Ian Fleming, creator of Agent 007, the “00” signified the eyes, hence the classic opening of the Bond movies. John Doe’s asymmetric black eyes were now shut. But none of this was what most shocked David: The whole body was double-sized, inflated like some bizarre Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, as though the ventilator had blown John Doe up like a child’s balloon.

“Yes,” David confirmed, “that’s Simon Lewis. . . . That’s my brother.” Mark turned to the “A Team” anesthesiologist, Dr. Alan Sloane.

“Do the best you can for him. He’s a friend.”

Later that year, when one of his children asked him to talk about his most rewarding work for a school project, Sloane would describe this night; his attempts to stabilize a disfigured John Doe with apparently fatal injuries, who at that moment on his operating room gurney became identified, a person with a family. No longer John Doe #584291, date of birth 00/00/0000, but someone’s friend.

Dr. Brien, the team’s orthopedic surgeon, introduced himself to my brother to get David’s consent to treatment. In critical care, treatment often begins before there’s anyone to ask, so doctors are sometimes required to get consent for procedures they’ve already performed. Brien needed David’s immediate approval for the decisions that had already been made and implemented.

“Normally I can stop the bleeding by oversewing the arteries,” he explained. “But that’s impossible. Simon’s pelvis is crushed. At this level of trauma, there’re two choices to try and save him. I’m supposed to either inject surgical gel into his body — attempt to seal his blood vessels inside — or I can apply compression around the exterior of his body, and try to stop the bleeding from outside.”

David saw the man’s exhaustion, and heard the gravity that lay in those tentative words, try and save him. And wondered which course of action Brien took. “Get control of the bleeding from inside, or from the outside. One or the other,” he repeated carefully. There was a choice to be made, and Dr. Brien wanted the patient’s caregiver to both know and approve his decision.

“I didn’t think either would be enough to save your brother,” he concluded grimly, “so I elected to do both. That’s why he’s so bloated. His body’s filled with pressurized gel — and his extremities are pinned with tourniquets.”

“What happens next?” David asked, as he looked at my barely recognizable body.

“Now, we have to hope for the best,” Brien replied, and turned back to his team.

There are rules that limit what doctors can tell patients, and after they left the ICU, Mark turned to my brother.

“I’m sorry, David,” he confided, “but I think you should know. No one in ICU thinks Simon will make it.”

Dr. Brien and his team had, Mark explained, listed the multiple procedures they would attempt if I stabilized. That was their strategy, except no one in the room thought I would stabilize, live through the procedures if I did, or that the outcome could be changed. I wasn’t expected to survive through the night, let alone be brought back. When my other brother, Jonathan, reached the hospital and hurried into the sterile waiting area, David took him to one side.

“Don’t go in, laddie,” he said softly. “You don’t want to see this . . . see him this way.” His voice and expression made clear they could do no more for me, and Jonathan understood. It was the first separation; for my two brothers to remember me as I was, not for what now lay in the ICU, and to prepare to accept that my future would exist only in their memories of me. David told my parents the same when they arrived.

And they all waited as the waiting room gradually emptied, until my parents told David and Jonathan to go home, and then my parents waited more, alone in the hushed stillness as my life hung in the balance. It was 1:00 am by the time Kern decided he could attempt his emergency craniotomy to remove the multiple hematomas and secure the bony fragments of my shattered skull with eight tiny plates. It was the most delicate surgical procedure possible, and throughout, he carefully watched the ICP monitor he’d inserted to minimize further brain damage.

Six hours later, scans showed successful evacuation of the hematoma. Kern stepped out of the OR to my mother, who had long since persuaded my father to go home to get some sleep, and waited alone in the early dawn light of the hospital hallway.

“Mrs. Lewis, I think Simon might live, but he will be completely paralyzed — at least down the left side of his body.”

“Then pull the plug. End his life support,” my mother urged, distraught.

“But I thought he was an attorney? He can still live a productive life.”

Kern was tired, confused. It was not the reaction he expected. My mother was clear, desperate.

“He wouldn’t want to come back like that — I know my son,” she begged. “Please, Doctor. Let my boy go.”

She was right. I’m not a brave man. Many brave people live with great difficulty, but that, in all honesty, would not be my wish. I’ve always believed the truth of Neil Young’s lyric: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away. . . .”

Easier to be taken off life support, burn up in an instant, happy with the memory of Marcy at my side, than for my paralyzed body to fade away. As Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan character said in Magnum Force, “A man’s got to know his limitations,” and I know mine. I don’t have the guts it takes, and would want the easy way. If all life must end, let mine end here, peacefully, so that my family could move on without me. My mother knew it.

“Please, Doctor, turn off the life support,” she begged.

But in the event, I wasn’t asked.

“I’m sorry. It’s not my department,” Kern replied, and slipped away. Doctors learn how to disappear where patients and caregivers cannot follow — into the “doctors only” areas of the hospital, backstage from the public.

With the star neurosurgeon and his team gone for the night and my condition not yet stable for the next, orthopedic level of surgeries, there now remained in the ICU only Dr. Ramsay. The overworked, underappreciated resident — a doctor-in-training — is the most junior member of the ICU team, and this was his very first time in charge; mine the first unstable life left entirely in his hands. None of his state of the art machines could trace the threads of my consciousness. Modern medicine cannot see inside our minds, and from outside, his patient looked completely inert, lost to the world.

Dr. Ramsay would tell me one day how he began to watch the life support dials, and the ventilator that sighed softly over my bloated body, just like his professors instructed him in the classroom; then panicked when the reality broke through of his situation. Everyone else had left the room and dropped total responsibility for my life onto his shoulders alone. He’d describe how he calmed himself, and made a solemn resolution.

 “I hadn’t slept since my twenty-hour shift began,” he explained, “and I decided I wasn’t going to lose my first case. I wouldn’t let go of you — no matter what.”

He wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t allow the vital signs to deviate, then flatline to end my life because he stepped away for more coffee. No, he wouldn’t take his eyes off those monitors. He began to make small adjustments to maintain perfect homeostasis, and steeled himself to his long vigil, as my guardian angel.

In accordance with the customs of my religion, I would be renamed Life to commemorate my new birth into the world when I was saved that night, and a prayer inserted into the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem for me. But as Ramsay watched the EEG trace my unstable brain patterns, still in critical condition, and looked at my crushed form with all its tubes as they snaked in and out, he must have had questions.

There could be no answers from the Marshmallow Man in the oxygen mask, only the steady beep of the monitors, but he had to wonder. What was still inside me? Who was I now? Where was I?

Excerpted from RISE AND SHINE: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Journey from Near Death to Full Recovery by Simon Lewis, Santa Monica Press. © 2012 by Parkside, LLC. Used with permission. 

For more information on the Rise and Shine, click here.

For more information on Simon Lewis, click here.

For more information on less familiar medical terms and technologies, see this page on Simon Lewis' website.

To watch Simon Lewis' INK talk on TED, "Don't Take Consciousness for Granted," click here.


Posted on BrainLine November 13, 2012.

Comments (2)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

What a compelling story! Astounding, since I just finished watching the TED video as well! I cannot wait to read this book.
I got the book online and read it in one sitting. Really inspirational!