Author Allison Pataki finds hope after her husband’s stroke at 35,000 feet

Allison Pataki was pregnant. She and her husband were on an airplane in June 2015, heading to Seattle for a “babymoon” — a couples’ vacation before the little one arrives.

Dave Levy leaned over and asked his wife if his eye looked strange. Pataki looked up. She watched as her 30-year-old husband had a and lost consciousness while they were 35,000 feet in the air.

The plane made an emergency landing in Fargo, N.D. Pataki spent the night in a hospital waiting area while doctors worked on her husband. She didn’t know if he’d ever wake up.

Levy, then a third-year resident in orthopedic surgery, did wake up, but he was initially unable to speak or remember who his wife was.

His hard-fought recovery is the basis for Pataki’s new book, “Beauty in the Broken Places,” a memoir about their determination and gratitude, and the value of putting one foot in front of another during a crisis.

Pataki, the daughter of former New York governor and Republican presidential candidate George E. Pataki, said that when Levy initially regained consciousness after his stroke, he couldn’t do anything on his own, even breathe.

“We had to start from ground zero. When he woke up he was less functional than a newborn baby,” said Pataki, 33, an author. “He had to learn to do everything again.”

 

 

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