Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole

A Renowned Neurologist Explains the Mystery and Drama of Brain Disease

    • 4.5 • 14 Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

"Tell the doctor where it hurts." It sounds simple enough, unless the problem affects the very organ that produces awareness and generates speech. What is it like to try to heal the body when the mind is under attack? In this book, Reaching Down the Rabiit Hole, Dr. Allan H. Ropper and Brian David Burrell take the reader behind the scenes at Harvard Medical School's neurology unit to show how a seasoned diagnostician faces down bizarre, life-altering afflictions. Like Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Ropper inhabits a world where absurdities abound:

• A figure skater whose body has become a ticking time-bomb
• A salesman who drives around and around a traffic rotary, unable to get off
• A college quarterback who can't stop calling the same play
• A child molester who, after falling on the ice, is left with a brain that is very much dead inside a body that is very much alive
• A mother of two young girls, diagnosed with ALS, 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? How does one train the next generation of clinicians to deal with the moral and medical aspects of brain disease? Dr. Ropper and his colleague answer these questions by taking the reader into a rarified world where lives and minds hang in the balance.

Science & Nature
September 30
St. Martin's Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

PierresFamily ,

Informative and moving

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole is neurologist Dr. Allen Ropper's book about the experiences of neuological patients, their families and their medical teams. Each chapter is primarily devoted to one illness, such as ALS.
The book does a great job of presenting the perspectives of the respective people affected and nvolved. I learned a lot, and it was a very moving book. Dr. Ropper generally seemed to genuinely care about and respect his patients; however, there was one disappointment. In Chapter 9, he calls one of the patients a moron, and speaks of him disparagingly because he disagrees with some of the patient's lifestyle habits and beliefs. He could have been more kind and patient, and realized perhaps that if he the neurologist had grown up in the environment of that patient, without privileges and advantages, he might do and think some of the same things. What I liked best was that the book also shows that while all neurologists are obviously smart, some are more insightful and skilled than others - not because they went to Ivy League schools (though some did), but rather because they keep an open mind, and they pay close attention to their patients. As the wife of a GBS patient, I appreciate that very much because I know too many GBS patients whose cases were worse than need be because to start with, their doctors ruled out GBS as "too rare, a million to one" etc. By the time they were in plasmapheresis, the patients had full paralysis to the point of being on a vent. In fact, my own husband was almost a victim of that. But his referring hospital MD went over the head of the admitting ER doc at a major medical center, and saw that my husband had a spinal tap the next day on a SUNDAY, and started the plasmaphesis within 24 hours of symptoms. So he did NOT end up on a vent like another GBS patient down the hall, who had been on it for eight months (per a doctor there)! We need more books that allow us into the minds, hearts and lives of those who have these illnesses, as well as their medical providers. It would make for more empathy and understanding.

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