A new graduate from medical school experiences her first seizure on the eve of beginning internship. Diagnostic workup reveals a mass in the wall of the third ventricle, which, at the time of surgery, is a vascular malformation. The narrative takes the reader through the four years of the author's struggle with her diagnosis, treatment and resultant disability, a seizure disorder.

Laced through the tale are patient vignettes, told from the vantage point of a newly sensitized doctor who is a long-term patient herself. Heymann is gently critical of many of the interactions she experienced with her physicians, attempting to chide her colleagues into being more sensitive to patient-centered concerns.


The style of this work is simplistic and not particularly engaging, although the need to work through to resolution of the uncertainty of the illness and its effects does keep one reading. There are specific values for professional caregivers, especially physicians, to reading a doctor's experience from the other side of the hospital gown. Heymann is very explicit in her criticisms, writing very frankly as her personal rather than her professional self.


Little, Brown

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