Peter Mandell, a professional bassoonist, had been comatose for nearly two months when he began to move his fingers.
His wife, Sarah, a stand-up bass player, said Peter started to "air bassoon" the Mozart bassoon concerto on her hand.
"It was a very subtle movement, and I said, 'Doctor, he's waking up!' And the doctor said, 'No, he's not,'" recalls Sarah, five years later, sitting next to Peter inside the guesthouse of their sprawling Brentwood home. "It's true you were non-responsive in the traditional ways, but it was this air bassooning that I knew from being your wife and sitting next to you.... I knew you were coming back."