1. Life, death, and the middle ground

The last thing you feel is the brute force of a head-on collision. The paramedics arrive at the scene to find you unconscious, a victim of massive head trauma in a devastating car accident. They rush you to the nearest emergency room, where doctors do everything they can to stem the bleeding and limit the damage to your brain.

Your loved ones arrive at the hospital, and they are told to prepare for the worst. Only time and a battery of neurological tests will reveal the true nature and severity of your injuries. You spend several days in a coma, and then, to the great relief of your family and friends, you open your eyes. Everyone close to you rejoices. They take this development as a sign of recovery—that ...

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