Thursday, January 10, 2013
A book Review
BRAIN ON FIRE BY SUSANNAH CAHALAN
I read this book in two days, yep, two days.
A true story of a smart, 24 year old girl newly college graduate
who had began a job with a prestigious newspaper
finds herself, within days having delirious thoughts.
This began a month long hospital stay with many
diagnosis of mental illness.
Bipolar illness and schizophrenia were two of
the diagnosis labeled to her as her family and loved ones
watch her go through psychosis, catatonia
and heading towards death.
Her parents refused to give up on her and fought
for better treatment, better testing insisting this illness
was not mental disease. Finally a doctor comes into the picture
and asks for permission for a brain biopsy.
There he finds her diagnosis which is not mental but
a very serious inflammation of the brain, a newly discovered
autoimmune disorder that, had it been left untreated would
have either caused death or a lifetime of mental institutions.
Cahalan writes the book herself and puts the puzzle pieces together
of her month of insanity by reading notes from hospital charts
as well as writings her father kept through his long days
supporting her at her bedside. Also, she depended on the memory
of her mother, boyfriend and friends as she had very vague memories
of the whole month. Amazing what a family can do when they refuse to give
up, fight for more testing, to be heard.
This book had me wondering exactly how many others are in
jail, in psychiatric hospitals or dead because of misdiagnosis.
It also has me thinking of the shootings at Sandy Hook and other
tragedies over the world, how many of these are actually physically ill
causing their mental handicapped symptoms.
If you enjoy true stories of medical incidents, this is a must read book.
Such an interesting story.