Monday, January 7, 2013

Brain on Fire

By Susannah Cahalan

You are 24, working at a New York newspaper. You have a nice boyfriend, a devoted family, and while life is hectic, it is also good.

Now you get sick. The kind of sick that takes your mind away. You wake up with memories of what you were, but being able to be that person isn’t an option right now. Most of what happened for the past month is lost.

For a journalist, that is the worst nightmare. Journalists need memories that are, well, sharp.

That’s what Susannah Cahalan faced. Her story of illness and recovery is inspiring. She writes about her illness, using the journals her parents kept and interviewing her doctors, family and caregivers to piece together what happened.

Memoir is not my favorite genre, but Cahalan make the memoir a gripping mystery story. This should be required reading for all medical students and all physicians. The story about Cahalan’s father tossing a full-of-himself doctor who was telling a gaggle of doctors-in-training things the patient did not know in front of the patient is priceless.

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