How about this?
A Buffalo firefighter who apparently suffered brain damage
in a 1995 burning roof collapse and has since been virtually silent and nearly
blind had a sudden unexplained recovery on Saturday, animatedly speaking to
family and friends and trying to recover a lost decade.
Donald Herbert was 34 when he rushed into a burning apartment building on Dec.
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Firefighter's Amazing Recovery
"How long have I been gone?" the puzzled firefighter, Donald Herbert, 44, asked in a 14-hour marathon of hugs, kisses, reunions and conversations with his wife, four sons, other relatives and old firefighter comrades.
"We told him almost 10 years, and he said 'Holy cow!' " Simon A. Manka, his uncle, recalled yesterday. "He thought it had been three months."
In a news conference at Father Baker Manor, a skilled nursing home in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, where Mr. Herbert has been a patient for seven years, Mr. Manka said his nephew - who has passed most days in a wheelchair in front of a television set - abruptly returned to life and "began to speak after nine and a half years of silence."
Pending medical tests, Mr. Manka said, the extent and the probable duration of Mr. Herbert's recovery are unknown. "However, we can tell you he did recognize several family members and friends and did call them by name."
It happened out of the blue Saturday morning, a nursing home employee said.
"I want to talk to my wife," Mr. Herbert was quoted as saying. A staff member called his wife, Linda, but it was his youngest son, Nicholas, 13, who picked up the phone and began speaking.
"That can't be," Mr. Herbert said. "He's just a baby. He can't talk."
Nicholas was indeed a toddler when Mr. Herbert, then a 34-year-old member of a fire rescue squad, rushed into a burning two-and-a-half story apartment building in Buffalo on the morning of Dec. 29, 1995. He wore a breathing mask against heavy smoke and was searching the attic for victims when the roof collapsed.