The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 10:10pm

Sebuah buku catatan peristiwa dari Jean-Dominique Bauby, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, menjelaskan kehidupan Bauby setelah ia terserang stroke berat yang menyebabkan berada dalam kondisi yang disebut Locked-In Syndrome (sindrom kelumpuhan seluruh anggota tubuh). Meskipun Bauby hampir lumpuh total, ia masih sanggup menulis buku dengan mengedipkan kelopak mata kirinya. Seorang asisten akan membacakan sebuah kode huruf alfabet, sampai Bauby mengedipkan mata untuk memilih huruf dari kata yang dimaksudkannya. Buku ini memerlukan sekitar 200,000 kedipan dalam penulisannya. Bauby menggunakan satu-satunya kemampuan yang dimilikinya untuk berkomunikasi dengan orang lain.

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a translation of the French memoir Le scaphandre et le papillon by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby. It describes what his life is like after suffering a massive stroke that left him with a condition called locked-in syndrome. It also details what his life was like before the stroke.

On December 8, 1995, Bauby, the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine, suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed with the exception of some movement in his head and eyes (one of which had to be sewn up due to an irrigation problem). The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, which took ten months (four hours a day). Using partner assisted scanning, a transcriber repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet (E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The book took about 200,000 blinks to write and an average word took approximately two minutes. The book also chronicles everyday events for a person with locked-in syndrome. These events include playing at the beach with his family, getting a bath, and meeting visitors whilst in hospital at Berck-sur-Mer.

The French edition of the book was published on March 6, 1997. It received excellent reviews, sold the first 25,000 copies on the day of publication, reaching 150,000 in a week. It went on to become a number one bestseller across Europe. Its total sales are now in the millions. On 9 March 1997, three days after the book was published, Bauby died of pneumonia

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