At 18 years of age, Clint Pearson was a rock climber and local track star, and despite his long hair and carefree dress, he was maniacally driven. Even after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), he continued to climb mountains and take risks, unmindful of the dangers. He shunned commitment and saw women as trophies, that is, until he met Ursula. A South African of East Indian descent, Ursula had grown up under the shroud of apartheid and had nurtured a healthy supply of caution in the process. At first she sought to maintain her distance from the brash and disheveled American, but after Clint and Ursula found themselves in a car, at night, inside a redwood forest, nuptials were soon to follow. Their differences were extreme but so too were their feelings for each other, and as Clint plodded through medical school, becoming emotionally entangled in the poignant dramas of his patients, the marriage remained strong. Then during residency training, financial pressures intensified, leisure time vanished, and Clint's MS progressed despite several medicines. On one occasion, MS medication even precipitated a high fever, and Clint's body had to be packed in ice. The marriage ultimately survived both Clint's declining health and his residency, but the MS continued to progress, making Clint's mountain-climbing ambitions increasingly unrealistic. Yet he remained an adventurer, a climber at heart. Would he push ahead only to stumble and fall or could Ursula and his patients somehow teach him to climb mountains of a different kind?
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