Saturday, March 31, 2007

Over My Head by Claudia L. Osborn

Claudia Osborn loved being a doctor, but when a truck hit the bicycle she was riding, her life changed forever. This book recounts her injury and recovery/rehab, focusing on the rehab process which was, for her as a doctor, a particularly harrowing experience. I was amazed as she, time and again, somehow managed to get herself to her place of rehab, right in the middle of Manhattan, which, with all of its bustle, is a far cry from the ideal place for a person with brain injury. Osborn frankly writes of her inability to process her surroundings, her inability to remember processes that people without brain injuries take for granted like getting ready to go out for the day--showering and getting dressed--or buying groceries. In one memorable chapter, she thinks she has tissues in her pocket, only to, step by step, realize that what is in her pocket is the bra she was supposed to wear that day. It takes her five or six steps, including actually removing and uncrumpling the bra, to realize this. Osborn’s straightforwardness is, at times, unnerving.

As a memoir written by a person who suffered brain injury (most brain injury memoirs are written by parents or spouses), this book offers a unique and very readable perspective. Osborn, while she obviously loved the life she had, openly shares her process of learning to accept her new limitations and to reshape her life to accentuate her remaining and new skills.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful book. Worth reading and hard to forget.