Only the Eyes Say Yes

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9781559705080: Only the Eyes Say Yes

On a July morning ten years ago, Philippe Vigand, a young, vigorous, handsome publishing executive, was walking to work when he heard "a gigantic explosion." Strangely, nobody else seemed to have heard it ... for the simple reason that it was in his head. For two months he lay in a coma. When he awoke, he was completely paralyzed, but his mind was intact. He was suffering from locked-in syndrome. After months of hospital care, Philippe was brought home where an infrared Camera enabled him to "speak" and "write" by blinking his eyes. Written in two parts, the first by Philippe using the magic camera, the second by his wife, Stephane, this moving work traces the evolution of the illness and their relationship and shows how love and devotion can overcome almost anything.

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From Publishers Weekly:

When many people first hear about lock-in syndrome, they say they wouldn't want to go on living if it ever happened to them. However, it is clear that Philippe Vigand and his wife and co-author, St?phane, have rebuilt their lives despite his disheartening condition. In 1990, the 29-year-old French publishing executive suffered a ruptured artery and collapsed. He woke from a two-month coma to discover that he was completely paralyzed, although his heart, lungs and brain were still functioning. A speech pathologist was the first to realize that his mental faculties were unimpaired when he asked Philippe, "What is two and two?" and he blinked four times. Soon afterwards, St?phane located an alphabet code based on blinking that they, along with their three children and friends, still use to hold conversations. Philippe is also able to read, write and speak with the assistance of a device he operates with the only finger in which he has regained movement. In his half of the memoir, Philippe expresses his willingness to take on new challenges and his love and gratitude for his wife. In her account, St?phane describes the obstacles she overcame to bring her husband home from the hospital and her decision to remain married to him (their third child was born after the accident). With refreshing candor, she acknowledges that she could not make their life work without full-time help and an independent life that includes a career and biannual vacations alone. Though less poetic than Jean-Dominique Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, this well-written story is no less remarkable. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

In 1990 Philippe Vigand collapsed while walking to work in Paris and slowly developed locked-in syndrome, losing all control of his body. The problem was caused by the occlusion of a vital artery in the brain. He and his wife spell out the condition's physical, mental, and psychological results as they became aware of them and learned how to live with them. At first, Philippe could move only his eyelids to indicate yes or no and somewhat more for those who learned a personal code he developed. Thanks to Stephane and his sister, who became "tigresses" on his behalf, to his circle of friends, and to his own remarkable inventiveness, he acquired electronic aids he called "Eyegaze" and "James" to assist in communication, reading, and basic activities. The Vigands' often intensely moving account of their own relationship and their relationships with their respective families and their own three children (one conceived after the "accident") ensures that few readers will be able to put the book down once they start. William Beatty

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