Chris Knox: Not giving in lightly

Life's changed since July 10, 2009 when Knox, a long-time epileptic, had a major stroke. Routine rules. He walks, exercises, eats at a set time each day – and clenches his hand to indicate he only wants to eat a fistful of food. Discipline in spades.

His dictionary now consists of about 20 words and any open-ended questions are too complicated for him to not only answer, but understand.

After the initial meeting, more nuanced questions are sent to Alexander, who communicates with Knox, then sends back answers written in the third person. "Chris laboriously communicated them [the answers] to me and okayed every word, changing some," she reports. "It took us hours and hours, days."

Try "how do you feel?" or "what do you think" in real life to see his frustration. Behind his olive eyes you sense him ticking over the questions, their implications. He gives up and stares desolately at the mahogany like his thoughts are etched there.