"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"


Locked-in syndrome is a condition when a person is completely awake and aware of their surroundings but cannot move any voluntary muscle except their eyes. Locked-in syndrome is caused by strokes that cause lesions to your brain stem and damage the ventral pons.

(TS) An episodic adventure through the eyes of Bauby shows us what it is like to live with locked-in syndrome. (PS)At the age of 44 Jean-Dominique Bauby the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine suffered a severe stroke. (SS) He finally awakes from a twenty day coma in the hospital and is unable to speak or move any part of his body except for his left eye. (SS) Dr. Mercier then diagnoses him with Locked-in Syndrome.(PS) His speech therapist comes up with a communication code which consists of the French alphabet and the blinking of Bauby's left eye. (SS) As the therapist recited the alphabet Bauby would blink when heard the letter he wanted. (SS) At first he didn't want to cooperate saying things like “It won’t work, Leave me alone” and “I want to die”.
(TS)Realizing he still had his brain and memories he finally excepts his fate and decides to make the best of it. (PS)Before his stroke he had a contract with a publisher to write a book. (SS) Bauby did not let his disability stop him from reaching this goal. (SS) He asks his therapist to call her and tell her that he was still able to fulfill the contract. (SS) Amazed the publisher sends Claude to take dictation of his book. (PS) This task was very tedious but he never gave up. (SS) It took over 200,000 blinks of his left eye to finish the book. (SS) Every morning he would wake up and memorize what was going to be dictated that day. (SS)Claude would then come in and write his dictation down in words. (SS) Four-teen months later the book was finished.
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is an episodic adventure of what Bauby's life was like before and after his stroke. He recalls the time he spent with his children at the beach on Father's Day, going on a trip to Lourdes with his girlfriend, and his memories of food and how they tasted. he described his current condition as feeling like he was trapped inside of a diving bell and the only way out was through his memories he referred to as the butterfly. Bauby lives just long enough to see his book published. Dying just two days after the French Publication.

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