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Compounding matters, Didion and Dunne’s daughter, Quintana, lay ill in a coma at the time and later died after The Year of Magical Thinking was published so Didion had to postpone Dunne’s funeral for several months.
Robin had been a pugilist with a promising career ahead of him until one ill-fated bout in the ring with a famed prize-fighter had put him in a coma for almost a month and he had given in to advice not to fight again.
On the day Louis Steig received a call from his sister saying that their mother had collapsed and been admitted to a Denver hospital with a diagnosis of cancer, he promptly jumped into his Camaro, headed for Denver at high speed, hit a patch of black ice on the Boulder Turnpike, flipped his car seven times, and ended up in a coma from a fractured skull and a severe concussion.
"You understand, Mr. Haupt, that your mother has been in a coma for several weeks now.
Long-term readers will remember that Jenny Elf is based on a real girl, who got struck at age twelve by a drunk driver and was in a coma for almost three months before my first letter woke her.