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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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Erica Breen

on 10 September 2013

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Transcript of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

"No one had yet given me an accurate picture of my situation, and I clung to the certainty, based on bits and pieces I had overheard, that I would quickly recover movement and speech." (pg 7)
Overview of Book
Personal Impact on Me
View of Myself as a Professional
Links to Images
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Presentation by: Erica Breen
Imagine this...
A 43 year-old Editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine, and father of two children - Theophile and Celeste...
Tragically becomes...
Mute, paralyzed (save for slight head swivel and left eyelid), 100% dependent on others, with feeding and IV tubes exiting/entering his body due to a CVA...
This is the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby's experience with Locked In Syndrome (LIS).
This memoir regales a story of Bauby's:
Reflections of his condition
Dreams and Imagination
Daily life with LIS...
...Through the only form of communication he had remaining - blinking his left eyelid for the correct letters to form words.
Diving Bell of Oppression
Most physical, daily living activities were oppressive for Bauby...
"My heels hurt, my head weighs a ton, and something like a giant invisible diving bell holds my whole body prisoner." (pg. 3)
The piercing, distorted hearing from his left, pseudo-functioning ear.
Communication system brought joy and purpose.
Memories and dreams of past events, people, and places kept him occupied.
"My diving bell becomes less oppressive, and my mind takes off like a butterfly." (pg. 5)
Being bathed at 43 y.o. and the humiliation of ones loss of independence and ability to move.
Loneliness as friends and family grew scarce, especially Sundays.
Butterfly of Freedom
Freedom was found in Bauby's only intact part left of him - his cognition.
The simplicity of the smell of french fries on a beach outing.
A Finale of Questions...
His final chapter leaves the reader with the remaining questions he had for himself at the end of his memoir...
"Does the cosmos contain keys for opening up my diving bell? A subway line with no terminus? A currency strong enough to buy my freedom back? We must keep looking. I'll be off now." (pgs. 131-132)
Personal Impact on Me
Lingering personal food for thought...
Would I be a friend that remains present for a loved one in a similar situation or would I move on too?
Camp Sunshine counselor - one of my campers was unable to speak effectively.
More than physical appearance - there's a person with feelings and a heart inside.
Realization: I will never truly understand the struggle of my patients.
Frustration: inability to discern what she truly wanted...
Joy: knowing I was doing my best to try to be a positive light in my campers' (and future patient's) lives!
Personal Impact on Me
Sometimes just being present, a listening ear, or a provider of kindness can be enough to give some relief from a person's oppressive diving bell.
One always hopes they know the answer, until they are truly tested...I hope I pass the test if given the chance!
Impact on Future Profession
Everyone has a story and past to consider and respect.
"Sunday. I dread Sunday, for if I am unlucky enough to have no visitors, there will be nothing at all to break the dreary passage of the hours. No physical therapist, no speech pathologist, no shrink. Sunday is a long stretch of desert, its only oasis a sponge bath even more perfunctory than usual." (pg. 100)
Impact: Never underestimate the impact you can have on an individual, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem.
Example of Impact that Presence Can Have...
Engaging and active participant in my profession.
Use of humor and fun for therapeutic gains.
Ex> Dancing as a means of therapy.
Constant striving to become an expert in my field.
Strong sense of empathy for patient's struggles.
Seemingly small requests from patients may provide more than we can fathom:
"Like the bath, my old clothes could easily bring back poignant, painful memories. But I see in the clothing a symbol of continuing life. And proof that I still want to be myself. If I must drool, I may as well drool on cashmere." (pg. 17)
Show compassion.
Communication is KEY:
Overall Impact
Jean-Dominique Bauby shares his amazing journey, through a painstakingly tedious process of blinking, with help of his health care professional team.
His memoir provides insight to individuals who may appear, on the outside view, to be lost from the world, but who truly have a wealth of inspiration held within.
It is our job as health professionals and caring individuals of society to discover the beauty that lies within each of our patients.
Note: Since this is a memoir without chronological sequencing, his recollections come in random order of events both past and present...

Therefore, I will highlight an overview of the content of the book, but they are not in exact order of the book.
Full transcript