The Saturday before I left for London, I went to the hospital, like everyone else, to say a final good-bye. The results of the scan had come through, revealing the awful news that the brain was not working on any level. My friend was in a vegetative state and unlikely ever to emerge from the coma.
It was, according to the doctors, game over. All that remained was to wait for his (estranged) mother to come to France to sign the necessary papers to turn off the life support (despite my earlier blog, his heart was still reliant on a machine and he was being given supplementary oxygen.)
On Sunday evening, the night before I left for London, my instincts told me to go to the hospital one more time. Even if my friend was unable to register the fact I was there, I couldn't bear the idea of him hovering between life and death alone.
The nurse that greeted me bore a sad air of resignation, as if we both knew that my visit was pointless. There seemed to have been a psychological shift - a real sense that the medical staff had given up: the X-rays which had been pinned on the wall outside his room had been taken down and the medical dossier, both figuratively and literally speaking, had been closed.
'Listen,' I said, as I stood beside his bed. 'I've come to tell you that they are about to switch off the machines. If you want to live, you had better do something. And fast. You need to give them a sign that you want to live.'
The following day I went to London, certain that there was nothing else anyone could do and that the worst would have happened by the time I got back.
But I should have had more faith in him. On Saturday, against all odds - and while still waiting for his mother to arrive - he emerged from the coma, pulling out the various tubes himself. Even more astonishingly, given the results of the scan, he has also managed to speak - though only a few words so far - and is able to recognise his friends. Just as I predicted, he has surprised us all.
The signs are that he wants to live. One has to be realistic - he can’t move anything other than his hands and the prognosis is still not good- but given the hopelessness of the situation just a week ago, it honestly feels like a miracle.
That bleak Saturday I could never have imagined that one week later he would not only still be in this world but would have emerged so dramatically from the coma. That’s the amazing thing about life: you really don’t know what’s going to happen next.