swimming and training and working hard and goofing off and getting in trouble and growing up, basically. To be young, to have felt on top of the world, going on recruiting trips as a college-bound athlete, and to have that taken away in a blink of the eye, literally. ... ” Her voice trails off. It’s utterly unfathomable. You hear the unspoken truth in her silence.
TAKING ON PATRICK’S STORY Shaw studied exercise science and advertising at Marquette before heading to film school. She had to plumb the depths of this drama and frame it with her lens. She’s a triathlete who has lugged around a video camera since she was in fifth grade, making music videos alone or with her gaggle of girlfriends. “Once I got my camera,” Shaw says, “I couldn’t put it down. I really liked capturing moments that wouldn’t be captured otherwise.” Shaw discovered another thing along the way. “The camera is almost a shield for me,” she says. “It’s almost like I’m not there. It’s a layer of protection when what’s in front of you is so extreme.” And, so, she was ready to take on Patrick’s story. She raised $15,858 in 30 days through a Kickstarter online crowd-funding campaign to cover film-production costs. She dreams of airing the film on ESPN and HBO to klieg light Patrick’s story and inspire a worldwide audience. “I was prepared to be sad, but that changed the minute I walked through the door,” Shaw says of her first visit to the Stein family home. Soon, she and Patrick were bantering back and forth like brother and sister, which is hardly surprising after capturing so many up-close and breath-taking moments with her camera.
“The Stein family is rock solid,” she says. At the Stein house, Shaw says, you can count on a laugh every few seconds. She has the film to prove it. She and cameraman Sami Salmenkivi, and a sound and production assistant — all students from the film academy — taped more than 75 hours of cinema verité with Patrick, rolling the camera from sunup to well past sundown for a week last summer. She returned to Patrick’s home in the fall to fill a few narrative holes, adding 20 hours to the film log. Then, she flew to New York, to her East Village apartment and a production lab in Battery Park, to dive into editing mode — cutting and splicing 30 extraordinary minutes of live footage. The frames tell the story: Patrick relearning to swallow, practicing with droplets of water. Patrick taking his first bite of food in three years, an Armenian diner sandwich he craved called “the Loretta,” with bacon, cheese and mayo slathered on a half loaf of grilled French bread. Patrick breathily uttering “Hi,” a single triumphant syllable. Patrick going to school. Patrick being slid into a swimming pool. Patrick visiting with friends who come and go to college. Patrick wisecracking. Patrick telling the unedited truth of how it feels to exist locked inside a floppy-limbed body that once powered through life. It’s that voice, most of all, that is the hallelujah thread of All in My Head, the film that dares to put words back in Patrick’s soundtrack. Loud and clear — spelled out or spoken — the film is pure Patrick. Just the way he and his filmmaker dreamed it could be. ❍ Be among the first people to see Shaw’s documentary at allinmyhead.com.
UNDERSTANDING AN ANEURYSM
“An aneurysm is the result of weakening of the wall of an arterial blood vessel,” explains Dr. William Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. Cullinan teaches residents in the Medical College of Wisconsin neurosurgery program and covers stroke syndromes, including the type that cause locked-in syndrome. “The weakened state of the
vessel results in ballooning of the vessel wall,” he says. “While many times the process goes no further, some aneurysms rupture or burst. If the blood vessel containing the ruptured aneurysm is one that supplies brain tissue, the resultant bleeding deprives that brain region of oxygen and nutrients required for tissue survival. This is a type of hemorrhagic stroke that can cause massive
damage (or very little) depending upon location, vessel size and extent.” Cullinan says the critical issue is location. “The stroke that causes lockedin syndrome occurs at a critical place in the brainstem called the ventral pons in such a way that it destroys all descending motor axons, including those that stimulate the cranial nerves that allow speech, as well as the sixth cranial nerve, which
allows an individual to move eyes laterally. Victims communicate solely by moving their eyes in the vertical plane.” Aneurysms can be treated if detected. Treatment, Cullinan says, can involve clipping or coiling, two very different procedures that try to prevent aneurysm rupture. ❍