A sudden accident forces a young man to rediscover basic skills, his family, and his religion.
Written in two parts, the first having been published as Ten Seconds in 2013, Goodrich’s memoir recounts how he was coming home to change after a baseball game when a stumble on the stairs resulted in a fractured skull and a 10-day coma. The seemingly simple accident robbed him of basic motor functions and left him with the devastating memory of being surrounded by his family in the hospital, unable to call out to them and feeling as if he was “going to be buried alive.” After major surgery, Goodrich awoke to a world where he could barely recognize his own family and had to endure grueling therapies. He describes them as not just frustrating, but “humiliating,” as he grappled with being a grown man who needed to relearn words like “cat” and “house.” The second, and previously unpublished, portion of the memoir follows Goodrich as he struggled to let go of the “security blanket” of the hospital and return to his parents’ home, overwhelmed by a mixture of joy for their welcome and fear that they remained largely unfamiliar to him. As time went on, Goodrich slowly became more comfortable, eventually returning to work, meeting his wife, having two children, and developing a strong faith in God. In telling his story, Goodrich has a tendency to overemphasize unnecessary information, relating extensive medical explanations and tiny details from the scenes he re-creates. When those scenes of nonrecognition and personal struggle get going, however, they can be candid, heartbreaking, and exceptionally insightful. His lucid descriptions often reveal an unexpected range of emotions that go far beyond the expected despair or determination found in similar stories. Overall, Goodrich manages to make the seemingly outlandish concept of amnesia feel powerfully real and the rather ordinary process of physical therapy feel fraught with complexities—a notable achievement.
An inspirational story of recovery from a terrible injury that embraces complexity to great effect.