ABSENT FROM THIS column all summer, I have been walking, in the words of the 23rd Psalm, “through the valley of the shadow of death.” It has been both a dreadful and a wonderful experience.
The ancient power of prayer, allied with 21st-century neurosurgery, played its part in this particular walk. The heroine, also the patient, was my wife Elizabeth. In the early hours of the morning on July 1st, she woke me up with the words “Don’t panic, Jonathan, don’t panic. I’ve got a terrible pain at the back of my neck.”
Three ambulance rides and three hospitals later, it emerged that Elizabeth had suffered a ruptured aneurysm in her brain. It caused a major bleed, specifically a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage. As her next of kin I was warned that five out of ten such victims die in the first four days. Another two die within the next 14 days. Of the three who survive, most are left with some kind of physical impairment and brain damage. Grim odds indeed.