What is it like to try to heal the body when the mind is under attack? In this gripping and illuminating book, Dr Allan Ropper reveals the extraordinary stories behind some of the life-altering afflictions that he and his staff are confronted with at the Neurology Unit of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Like Alice in Wonderland, Dr Ropper inhabits a place where absurdities abound: a sportsman who starts spouting gibberish; an undergraduate who suddenly becomes psychotic; a mother who has to decide whether a life locked inside her own head is worth living. How does one begin to treat such cases, to counsel people whose lives may be changed forever? Dr Ropper answers these questions by taking the reader into a world where lives and minds hang in the balance.
Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole was one of my five star reads last year, but my lack of blogging means I haven’t actually reviewed it yet.
In fact I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction drive over the last year. In so far as I’ve been reading this year proportionally I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction.
It’s a little bit like ‘The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly’ combined with ‘House’. Lots of real life medical symptoms which seem to have obscure reasons behind them. That tends to be a lot of physical symptoms which have neurological causes, or neurological or psychological symptoms which actually have a physical cause. It’s part of what I always found interesting about House, so it’s even more interesting to see it in real life.
In other ways it’s a lot like some of Oliver Saks work. However I found it easier to read than the things that Saks had written (and I’ve read).
I also liked that you got to see a bit of the hospital itself and also the authors own learning curve. It added a little something. I guess you could say it’s a human element which you don’t get from standard case studies.