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Brain on fire : my month of madness

Author: Susannah Cahalan
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First Simon & Schuster trade paperback editionView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
One day in 2009, twenty-four-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a "flight risk," and her medical records, chronicling a monthlong hospital stay of which she had no memory at all, showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Autobiography
Biography
Case studies
Named Person: Susannah Cahalan; Susannah Cahalan; Susannah Cahalan
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Susannah Cahalan
ISBN: 1451621388 9781451621389 9780606356695 060635669X
OCLC Number: 823897168
Notes: "With a new afterword"--Cover.
Description: xiv, 266 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Contents: pt. 1. Crazy --
Bedbug blues --
The girl in the black lace bra --
Carota --
The wrestler --
Cold roses --
America's most wanted --
On the road again --
Out-of-body experience --
A touch of madness --
Mixed episodes --
Keppra --
The ruse --
Buddha --
Search and seizure --
pt. 2. The clock --
The Capgras delusion --
Postictal fury --
Multiple personality disorder --
Breaking news --
Big man --
The slope of the line --
Death with interruptions --
A beautiful mess --
Dr. Najjar --
IVIG --
Blue devil fit --
The clock --
Brain biopsy --
Shadowboxer --
Dalmau's disease --
Rhubarb --
The big reveal --
90 percent --
Homecoming --
California dreamin' --
pt. 3. In search of lost time --
The videotape --
Stuffed animals --
Wild at heart --
Friends --
Within normal limits --
Umbrella --
Chronology --
Infinite jest --
NDMA --
Partial return --
The five Ws --
Grand rounds --
The exorcist --
Survivor's guilt --
Hometown boy makes good --
Ecstatic --
Flight risk? --
Madame X --
The purple lady.
Responsibility: Susannah Cahalan.

Abstract:

One day in 2009, twenty-four-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a "flight risk," and her medical records, chronicling a monthlong hospital stay of which she had no memory at all, showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life, a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind? In this narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn't happen. A team of doctors would spend a month, and more than a million dollars, trying desperately to pin down a medical explanation for what had gone wrong. Meanwhile, as the days passed and her family, boyfriend, and friends helplessly stood watch by her bed, she began to move inexorably through psychosis into catatonia and, ultimately, toward death. Yet even as this period nearly tore her family apart, it offered an extraordinary testament to their faith in Susannah and their refusal to let her go. Then, neurologist Souhel Najjar joined her team and, with the help of a lucky, ingenious test, saved her life. He recognized the symptoms of a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the brain, a disease now thought to be tied to both schizophrenia and autism, and perhaps the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history. This story is the powerful account of one woman's struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her "lost month" to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love.

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"Harrowing . . . Cahalan's tale is . . . admirably well-researched and described. . . . This story has a happy ending, but take heed: It is a powerfully scary book."

 
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