- Paperback: 239 pages
- Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; 2 edition (March 15, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0740705989
- ISBN-13: 978-0740705984
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Over My Head: A Doctor's Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out Paperback – March 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
Awareness about head-injury prevention has significantly increased in the last decade. Yet on one summer evening in 1988, a young physician out for a bicycle ride without a helmet was hit by a careless driver and sustained a devastating brain injury. This autobiographical account "from the inside looking out" details that physician's experience from the moment of impact through her remarkable comeback to resumption of teaching and research responsibilities. Her story shows the effect of a severe head injury on behavior and personality. This inspiring documentation will assist patients, families, and friends enduring the same difficulties and help health professionals understand and train their patients in the difficult rehabilitation process. Very highly recommended for consumer health and patient education collections.?Janet Coggan, Univ. of Florida Libs., Gainesville
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Until her injury in July 1988, Claudia L. Osborn taught and practiced internal medicine in a busy inner-city Detroit hospital. A graduate of Vassar College and Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, she is currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at MSU, and makes her home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
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Top customer reviews
This book describes her journey afterwards, her treatment, her deficits, her futile hopes for the future and the grief when she realized she couldn't achieve them. She talks about her unwavering resolve to make herself able to function, by writing herself notes, recording directions on her tape recorder and filling notebooks with lists of how to go about her day.
This book really made me understand how a tbi can affect a person in so many ways we cannot begin to see. It was fascinating and fun, thorough and intelligent, and I feel I and many others will benefit from reading this book, specifically for the understanding that it provides and the patience that it teaches. These lessons are good for us non-brain-injured people, too - especially the ones on acceptance and patience.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it was an eye-opening read for me. To have an actual TBI patient tell about her challenges and frustrations first-hand is a perspective we do not have the chance to hear very often. What makes this account even more compelling is Dr. Osborn's experience as a medical doctor and extensive knowledge of medicine. Her medical background allows for a very insightful read as she melds objective medical knowledge with her own personal feelings and emotions. The book is a mix of Dr. Osborn's personal accounts, passages taken from her personal notebook, as well as parts of her friends' journals. Together they help tell Dr. Osborn's journey to recovery. I highly recommend this book especially brain-injured patients, their friends and family, medical professionals, and anyone who is interested in brain injuries and happens to a person when his or her brain suffers from TBI.
Dr. Osborn opens with a very detailed account of a typical day in her life. What she purposely does not do, however, is give the reader initial context which leaves us slightly puzzled about why she is very specific about certain details. Dr. Osborn writes in detail about mundane tasks that we as readers would usually do normally without thinking much about. She explains her process of waking up and the thoughts that run through her mind, the steps of taking a shower and getting dressed, and her humorous adventure to look for a place she has not yet explained. On the way to her appointment, she forgets her bus money, returns to her apartment to get the money, realizes she didn't brush her hair and is only wearing one earring, and heads out again only to get lost and realize she was hungry because she forgot to eat breakfast. To the reader, this account may seem like the story of a very forgetful, eccentric lady until Dr. Osborn explains at the end of the first chapter where she is going for her appointment - the Head Trauma Program at New York University.
What Dr. Osborn does for the reader with this opening chapter is give them a feel of what it is like to suffer from traumatic brain injury. She presents the multitudes of challenges, problems, and frustrations a TBI patient may face on a typical day. She reveals the difficulties facing TBI patients in performing even simple tasks.
Dr. Osborn describes the events leading up to her accident and after she awakes in the hospital. She recalls, "[...] I could see white shoes and legs sheathed in surgical scrubs moving beneath a drawn white curtain. Everything looked familiar but the perspective was wrong. This was a hospital but I was in the bed. A hospital bed. Dear God, did I fall asleep in an empty room? Overworked doctors do that sometimes." Dr. Osborn was so injured she could not comprehend what happened to her as her friend tried to explain the accident. She writes, "[My friend] told me the details, I took nothing of what she was saying - not then or the next half dozen times I asked her. Over time, I learned the story."
Dr. Osborn goes on to explain her time in New York University's Head Trauma Program (HTP) which accounts for much of the book and recounts her long journey of recovery with the members of the program. In the process, she had to lose a lot of the objectiveness that she had developed and needed as a medical profession in order to recover. Essentially, she had to become the patient and instead of the doctor. Dr. Osborn writes, "[My HTP coach] had intuitively and correctly assessed that my many years of professional training had made my need for an objective demeanor second nature, even if, for the present purposes, it was an impediment." Eventually, Dr. Osborn recovers enough to return to medicine, an impressive feat of courage and perseverance.
The book all in all is extremely enlightening and educational. Dr. Osborn avoids writing in heavily technical terminology, making the book very easy to read even to those outside of the medical field or those without knowledge in neuroscience. There are moments of sadness, humor, and hope throughout and I highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced brain injury, knows someone who has brain injury, or even potential be in contact with someone who has brain injury. The book is very hard to put down and exposes another side of brain injury we usually don't see every day.
I learned a lot from reading Dr. Osborn's inspirational story and hope that other readers feel the same.
My injury occurred in the early 1980's when I was age 18. I was involved in a roll-over during which the left side of my skull was crushed and fractured. I was sent home with no plan for rehab. or rehab. The only instruction given to my mother was to push me gently to accomplish things in my life.
I went on to college and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. I went to medical school on an MD/PhD scholarship. Over the next 8 years, I completed requirements for both MD and PhD degrees, got married, and give birth to three sons. However, there were glitches that occurred along the way that were directly associated with TBI deficits, but neither I nor anyone else made the connection until the last few months of medical school when happened to read a chapter on long-term effects of TBI.
I ended up bottoming-out when I started work as an intern (while working nights) and stayed out of medicine for several years before starting a residency in pathology, the only residency that did not require working nights). Again, I had some major glitches, particularly during my first year, but I worked hard and ended up being selected as chief resident and offered a fellowship in my own department.
My transition from training to working was extremely rocky, but I have now been at my current position for 5 years. I love my job, but my work requires sustained attention and concentration. I fatigue very easily and have to take rest periods in order to continue working. Although I declared disability a couple years ago and was assigned 5% less duty days, my daily workload has increased so that I am signing out hundreds more cases now than when I applied for disability. I am putting in many 55+ hour weeks just to get the work done.
This book has convinced me that I should seek advanced rehabilitation to help me develop my capacity for sustained attention and to develop strategies that would help me plan my work more efficiently. In fact, my first appointment is tomorrow.