The Man Inside
This is the story I worked on while interning at the The Tennessean in Nashville, TN. Below I have copied an excerpt of the story written by Sylvia Slaughter, staff writer at The Tennessean. Hopefully this introduction will make it easier to understand the visual story.
The Man Inside
Mark’s remarkable odyssey began on Feb. 6, 2000. After working in his yard all day with his master gardener wife, he went to bed with a severe headache. The next morning when the headache worsened, Nancy took him to a hospital in nearby Owensboro, Ky. Mark was confused and faint and dark spots had begun to show up on his face. An infectious disease a doctor there made the diagnosis of mucormycosis and began treating Mark with one of the few drugs that combats the disease. Initially, the Owensboro doctors told Nancy that there was no way Mark could live. In despair, she went outside, kicked a concrete bench and broke a toe. Eventually the doctors told Mark that he had one of two choices: risk a radical surgery at University Hospital in Louisville where he would most likely lose his face or go home with hospice care to die. Nancy and Mark believed that they had only one choice – in Mark’ s words, "To fight like hell." Most people don't survive mucormycosis, the infection caused by everyday fungi found in the likes of moldy bread, spoiled food, the soil and dust. The disease doesn’t occur in healthy people. Mark had been taking steroids for a back injury and believes that the steroids had compromised his immune system, leaving him susceptible to the disease. A week after his diagnosis an ambulance rushed Mark to Louisville, while Nancy rushed home, tossed a few personal items into a bag and raced to University Hospital. She arrived to say good-bye to Mark just a minute before he was wheeled into surgery." I was prepared to never see Mark again," she says. "The doctors didn’t even believe Mark would survive the ride from Owensboro to Louisville, much less the surgery."Mark's initial surgery, when the surgeons excavated the midsection of his face, took only three to four hours." His doctors told me it was one of the most extensive surgeries they'd ever performed on a person’ s face,"Nancy says. It was a week later before Nancy was allowed to see Mark's wound. ''When I went into the Critical Care Unit, a doctor stood on each side of me and a doctor stood behind me with a chair. They expected me to faint, but when I looked at my husband, I just saw Mark. ''I looked into the cavity on his face … I saw the lining of his brain and the top of his tongue, but I know Mark is more than his face. He is my husband, the man who gave me everything I had ever wanted. I don't mean material things. I mean cuddles and kisses and compliments, the ingredients of a good marriage.“ During those long days and nights outside the CCU I promised myself that if Mark lived, and it was ‘if’ for a long, long time, I would tend to him like he would have tended to me."