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Bonded: Molly Hale's long recovery from a spinal injury has strengthened and deepened her marraige.

Through Thick and Thin

Local documentary 'Moment by Moment' charts one woman's hard road back from a debilitating injury

By Richard von Busack

AFTER FALLING ASLEEP at the wheel one night, Molly Hale had a nigh-fatal automobile accident, dislocating her spine between the sixth and seventh vertebrae. The doctors felt it was most likely she would never walk again, but Hale--through both medical help from her doctors and alternative therapies--managed to regain some of her strength. By bypassing the usual palliatives, Hale today can horseback ride, swim and even attend aikido classes. One of Hale's doctors, Carol Winograd, says that Hale's recovery was "unlikely if not almost unheard of."

Dorothy Fadiman's made-in-Menlo-Park documentary Moment by Moment: The Healing Journey of Molly Hale explains what the aftermath of a paralyzing accident is like, even as far as the bedroom and the bathroom are concerned. Putting a catheter in your wife, Jeremy Hale says, is "the farthest thing from romantic you could imagine." Few couples realize that what they're implicitly promising at the altar is their future willingness to diaper their spouses, as needed. One reason, at least, why marriage ought to be taken seriously.

The documentary includes several interviews with Molly's loyal husband, who says that his part in Molly's return to a more normal life was "the hardest work I've ever had to do." It is an inspiring story. Your heart goes out to the Hales for the way they both survived these terrible troubles, as well as for this reminder of the power of the human will.

Moment by Moment will be shown with Breaking the Silence: Lifting the Stigma of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, another documentary by Fadiman and the Hometown Film Team. The evening gets underway with a very short (five minutes) short called Fix-It Shops about a place in Menlo Park that will actually repair rather than toss in the landfill common older household appliances.

Moment by Moment: The Healing Journey of Molly Hale, Breaking The Silence: Lifting The Stigma of AIDS in Ethiopia and Fix-It Shops play Sunday (Feb. 23) at 7pm at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City. There will be a reception, 4:30-6:30pm, for $75. Regular tickets are $10/$18. Unlimited wheelchair space is available. (www.concentric.org); call 650.321.6530 for general info; call the Stanford Box Office at 650.725.2787 for screening tickets.

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From the February 20-26, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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