One otherwise regular January morning in 2009, Michael Wise’s world was thrown into turmoil. He was at the peak of his career as an internationally renowned specialist dental surgeon when he was struck by an exceptionally rare, near-fatal, streptococcal blood infection. Within hours, his vital organs failed as this catastrophic illness swept through his entire body. He was in a coma and on life support for ten days, careering ever closer to death.
On The Toss of a Coin is a raw and honest account of Michael’s fight for survival and rehabilitation, charting his gruelling journey from health, to near-death, kidney dialysis, a kidney transplant from a live donor and recovery. He was both patient and clinician, which gave him a unique insight. In part one, the reader enters the strange mind of a person in a coma; parts two to four describe the physical and emotional stages of the illness following intensive care. Michael remained on the critical list for several weeks as doctors battled to save his life. Kept alive by dialysis, Michael needed a kidney transplant, and after fourteen months a donor was found, leaving him to additionally contend with recovering from surgery. Meanwhile, the possibility that he would lose his dental practice and income also plagued his mind, affecting his recovery.
Despite the overwhelming odds, Michael remained positive, helped by coping strategies that empowered him to be involved in his predicament rather than swept along as a victim. The long-term psychological effects of his battle are explored in part five, where he recounts the importance of life, and how, as an atheist, he was facing death. Only once did he lose the will to live. “It was impossible to face my mortality and for it not to influence my approach to life,” he recalls. According to doctors, Michael should never have lived and, if he miraculously survived, he should be severely incapacitated. He is neither; he is fit and lives a full and active life. On The Toss of a Coin will inspire anyone facing or supporting a loved one experiencing health battles, and will enthral fans of biographies, memoirs and those interested in the human condition.