The final event of this summer’s St. George Literary Series features a true medical thriller, “To Get Back Home.” Author Wendy Chapin Ford will read and discuss her memoir with Alice Gorman Thursday, Aug. 26 at 5:20 p.m. at the Ocean View Grange, 435 Port Clyde Road/Route 131. There will be a pre-reading reception at 5 p.m.

Ford was a healthy and active young woman when she was suddenly stricken by a rare neurological disorder, Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis. “To Get Back Home” takes readers on a harrowing journey as doctors are initially confounded by the rare malady and Ford slips further and further away. She forges her way back from a coma and quadriplegia, desperate to return to her family and young children. Initially, she was not expected to live or, ultimately, to walk again or recover her prior intellectual abilities. Doctors have referred to hers as a miracle case, and the mysteries persist to this day.

“I wrote the book for my children so that some day they would understand how hard I worked to get back to them and how awful it was to be in the hospital, away from them for so long,” Ford said.

She also noted the book serves as a thank you to the hospital staffs and countless others who stood by her and her family during her experience with ADEM. To better understand the notes made in her four-inch-thick medical record, Ford met with the doctors, nurses and therapists at both Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Spaulding Rehab in Boston.

“I had the most exquisite care imaginable at those hospitals — delivered with such compassion and intelligence — and I wanted people to know what happens there. This was not just about me. There were many victories in this story. People tried so hard to help get me back,” she said.

One of the medical observations was particularly poignant to Ford, who noted that it summed up her motivation for her recovery. After she came out of the coma, a therapist at Beth Israel wrote in the medical notes that she was mouthing words as though she wanted to speak.

“And apparently I kept repeating, ‘I’m missing my kids,'” said Ford.

The St. George Literary Series is a free program of the Jackson Memorial Library. For more information, call 372-8961 or visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to