This article is about the 1997 book. It also details what his life was like before the stroke. The French edition of the book was published the diving bell and the butterfly book pdf download March 7, 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. His right eye had to be sewn up due to an irrigation problem. E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc. 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. He recalls the days that followed and the resulting limitations: paralysis and blinking in his left eyelid. His mind on the other hand is active and he prepares for the publisher’s emissary arrival, though his thoughts are interrupted a nurse. He is visited by many medical professionals.
His situation hasn’t fully sunken in and he does not fully understand the connotation of the wheelchair. It isn’t until a comment is made by the occupational therapist that it becomes clear to him. There are only 2 patients at Berck that have locked-in syndrome. His case is unique in that he maintains the ability to turn his head. His friends and family have dedicated to all kinds of religions and spiritual deities on his recovery, and he has assigned specific parts of his body to some too.
He has lost 60 pounds in twenty weeks. He notes that he has more mobilization in his head as he can rotate it 90 degrees. He recounts that even with limited facial expression, he still has varying emotions each time he is cleaned or given a bath. He describes the creation, use, and precision of the alphabet he uses to communicate. He ordered the letters from the most common to the least in the French language. His visitors read the alphabet and when he hears the letter he wishes for them to write down, he blinks his left eye.
This is not without its challenges though. Napoleon III, was the patroness of the hospital, which contains various depictions of her. He tells of an imperial visit on May 4, 1864, where he imagines himself beside her. In one of the depictions, he sees a reflection that he finds disfigured but then realizes that it is his. On one occasion that he is being wheeled through the hospital corridors he spots a corner of the hospital which contains a lighthouse which he names Cinecittà. The author says Berck, the hospital, focused primarily on the care of young tuberculosis patients following the Second World War.