Excerpt from Still Me by Christopher Reeve, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Still Me

by Christopher Reeve

Still Me by Christopher Reeve X
Still Me by Christopher Reeve
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  • First Published:
    May 1998, 324 pages

    Jun 1999, 255 pages


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Dana took Will, who of course did not know what was happening, drove to the Culpeper hospital, and found the emergency room. A nurse came in. Dana said, "Hi, I'm Dana Reeve. My husband is here." And the nurse said, "Oh, okay." Dana asked, "Is my husband all right? Is he okay?" The nurse would only say, "The doctor will be out in a minute." Dana was beginning to sense that something terrible had happened. She was still very conscious of Will, who went on talking and wanting to play.

There was only one other person in the waiting room. It was all quiet and sleepy; the Culpeper facility is a really small place. Then the nurse came back and said, "The doctor will be right out." There were the three of them sitting in silence-Dana, Will, and a woman reading a magazine. Then she saw a helicopter landing in the courtyard, with the name Pegasus painted on the side. She thought: That's not for a broken arm. Two nurses came out and told Dana the doctor wanted to see her in his office. One took one elbow and one took the other, and they walked down the hallway. Dana was carrying Will and thinking: They're holding me up. This is really serious, this is something awful.

Dr. Maloney, the admitting physician at the ER, came into the office and said he was very worried about me. But he didn't tell her I had broken my neck. Will was sitting in Dana's lap, and as Dr. Maloney was giving her the details of my injury, she felt like she was being knocked backwards with each new thing he said: I'd broken the top two cervical vertebrae (C1 and C2), I was having trouble breathing, I was on a respirator. After each new piece of information, Dana took a breath and said, "Okay, okay, okay." She felt as if she were being punched repeatedly and had to prepare herself each time for the next blow.

Will was sitting there squeezing Dana's nose with his fingers so that she would say "beep." It was one of his favorite games. He did that as Dana was hearing about my injury. She listened, and she kept saying "beep"-trying to remain the parent in control while receiving the most devastating news of her life.

She was very confused. If I was on a respirator, that meant I was practically dead but they were just keeping me breathing. She knew nothing about broken necks. She didn't understand how it all fit together. She said, "I have to call my father." She needed a translation. Amazingly, Chuck Morosini was at home that holiday weekend. Dana told him, "Chris has had a serious riding accident. It's a neck injury." Her father said, "Oh God." That was enough. She knew immediately that my life was hanging in the balance. The people at Culpeper said that Dana should see me before the helicopter took off, because it might be for the last time.

Dana had to collect Will, try not to frighten him with what was happening, and check out of the motel. How she got through that afternoon, I have no idea. She also had to cope with the public. She knew the media would be all over the story, but she didn't want to deal with anybody outside the family. She knew she had to protect Will and to protect me. Her reaction was, "Everybody out, this is a crisis." The only way to deal with it was to form a tight circle.

As Dana packed up my belongings, she was acutely conscious that I might never need them again. She collected my shaving things, my socks, and the rest of my clothes. She came across my map of the cross-country course, which I had been studying just a couple of hours before. But she remained composed, putting everything in the suitcase, looking under the bed, in the drawers, finding keys, going through all the ordinary motions of checking out of a motel.

Will wanted to play soccer. He was clearly searching for some normality now that everything had gone haywire. Dana actually went out and kicked the ball with him a couple of times, then came back in and continued packing. "Mommy has to finish packing. We have to go. They're taking Daddy in the helicopter. We have to go."

Use of this excerpt from Still Me by Christopher Reeve may be made only for purposes of promoting the book, with no changes, editing, or additions whatsoever, and must be accompanied by the following copyright notice: Copyright© 1998 by Christopher Reeve. All rights reserved

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