I am indebted to the doctors who not only saved my life and helped me regain my lost capabilities, but who then took their time and energy to help illuminate medical information and offer moving insights and dramatic observations of my case.
Their encouragement and support was deeply moving, and I felt extraordinarily privileged to benefit from their interest, time, and willingness to help. I thank Dr. Thomas Scammell, who headed my neurology team at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, and is assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School; Dr. Joel Stein, Director of Stroke Rehabilitation and the Chief Medical Officer at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (SRH) in Boston, and Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Dr. David Trentham, a rheumatologist at BIDMC; and Dr. Paul Sandhu and Dr. Adam Agranoff, Harvard Medical School resident fellows at Massachusetts General Hospital and SRH.
Judy Atterstrom, my primary nurse at BIDMC's medical intensive care unit, also spoke at length with me as I tried to recapture the missing spaces in my memory from the time I became comatose. I conducted a weeks-long interview with Teresa McLaughlin, my primary nurse at SRH. My lead physical therapist at SRH, Dawn Lucier, also contributed her insights and helped me decipher the mysteries of physical therapy shorthand in the SRH progress notes.
Professor Kimberley Patton, Marisa Morin, and Laurie Burlingame generously provided enlightenment in their respective areas of expertise. The Reverend Harold Babcock, of the First Religious Society in Newburyport, Massachusetts, graciously gave permission to excerpt one of his sermons. And Sheridan McCarthy, my iUniverse editor, provided invaluable guidance, encouragement and understanding in helping me prepare this book for publication.
In addition to the doctors, nurses, and therapists, my loved ones -- family and friends -- also revisited this emotionally trying time to help me put together the pieces of a lost chapter of my life. From the beginning, my brother Kim Chapin provided much encouragement and valuable editorial guidance. And I was most grateful to my husband, Bruce, and my mother, Roberta Chapin, for reaching back into a nightmare.
The spring of 1998 was undoubtedly more difficult for them than anyone could begin to imagine.
I hope that I have done this story justice, with its many heroics and victories, and the pervasive generosity and human kindness at its core. So many, near and far, both familiar and unknown to me, helped me and my family during a terrible time, and we shall never forget.