A slightly out-of-focus, harrowing account of recovery from what a doctor called â€œhorrific” injuries sustained in a 1997 Toronto motorcycle wreck.
Describing in the third person the days of his long coma, he notes the efforts of his family and friends to remain with him 24/7, attempting to keep him mentally and physically stimulated. Aquan-Assee then downshifts into a slow-motion first person account of his own frustrating efforts to regain physical and mental focus, fighting back memory loss and struggling to remember people’s names from one second to the next. Neither angle is entirely satisfactory to particularize what surely was a long and arduous battle by the 29-year-old to pull himself back, often by the fingernails, into a world in which he felt increasingly out of touch. For instance, he slides past crucial moments when doctors encouraged his family to â€œpull the plug,” and their subsequent refusal to do so, even when his life signs were little more than flickers. It would have been helpful to know the thoughts and emotions of his parents and siblings at those precious turning points, as well as the doctors’ reactions to his subsequent recovery–a feat admirably accomplished in spite of their negative proclamations regarding the prospects for his â€œquality of life.” These are the hot-button issues crying out for greater attention throughout. But Aquan-Assee’s focus remains narrow, limiting the potential audience.
There are many universal, compelling issues left unexplored, but Aquan-Assee’s recovery and construction of the narrative are triumph enough.