This autobiography of events details the author's emotional and physical experiences after a car accident in 2000 when he was only 26 years old. A doctor himself, Mills fell asleep at the wheel of his car after a long shift at the hospital where he was working as an intern and a visit to his girlfriend in a neighbouring town. He sustained no neural damage during the accident, but was taken into surgery because of an unstable fracture in his neck. It is then that things went drastically wrong. A blood clot caused a stroke which left him with the rare, and mostly fatal, “locked-in syndrome”.
This is the story of a fully alert and intelligent man, trying to make sense of life in an unresponsive body. Over and above the many physical challenges, the dependence on others and the emotional and physical trauma of a long-term (and usually permanent) disability, the author is unable to communicate without the help of various devices and is therefore left with the added heartbreaking consequence of utter loneliness.
The author terms the manuscript a “short autobiography of events” as it begins on the night of the accident and continues through the many emotional and physical experiences during hospitalisation and thereafter; ending at a point after his first experience of stem cell therapy.
Eloquent, clear and emotionally honest, the author takes us through these life-changing experiences: his joys, fears and sorrows, the unwavering support of his dedicated and loving family, the importance of friends and family during the most depressing times and the confusion and adjustment involved in his drastically altered circumstances.
The book was written when the only voluntary movement in his body was some movement in the thumb of his left hand.