( Book ) ♓ Awakenings ☳ MOBI eBook or Kindle ePUB free

Reading this makes me wish all doctors approached medical practice the way Dr Sacks does His clinical grasp of neurology is impressive, but his humanity, compassion, and philosophical approach lend him aeffective manner than other clinicians His ability to present the conditions of his patients and their treatment asthan either or, asthan a list of data points, is what makes this book a classic A basic familiarity with neurology makes this an easier read he uses a lot of m Reading this makes me wish all doctors approached medical practice the way Dr Sacks does His clinical grasp of neurology is impressive, but his humanity, compassion, and philosophical approach lend him aeffective manner than other clinicians His ability to present the conditions of his patients and their treatment asthan either or, asthan a list of data points, is what makes this book a classic A basic familiarity with neurology makes this an easier read he uses a lot of medical terms to describe symptoms and treatments However, he goes beyond symptoms to see how the patients in his care interact with their disease, treatment, and environment as unique individuals Science in general and medicine in particular have been on a decades long reductionist trend as though all conditions can be boiled down to the one gene, the one protein, the one chemical that will take care of it all In reality, life is too complex for that to work most of the time Dr Sack s ability to approach patients as whole, unique beings full of life is the key to his popularity as a physician and writer Simply astonishing My first experience with Oliver Sachs, long before any movie Stumbled across it while browsing a tiny one room library located in the charming community of Vankleek Hill, Ontario where I lived at the time, and immediately became absorbed by the history of the so called Spanish flu, its effects and the incredible results produced by Sachs medical intervention Not least affecting was the eloquence with which Sachs wrote about the patients in his care, provoking intense feeli Simply astonishing My first experience with Oliver Sachs, long before any movie Stumbled across it while browsing a tiny one room library located in the charming community of Vankleek Hill, Ontario where I lived at the time, and immediately became absorbed by the history of the so called Spanish flu, its effects and the incredible results produced by Sachs medical intervention Not least affecting was the eloquence with which Sachs wrote about the patients in his care, provoking intense feelings of empathy and compassion for the patients Everyone should read this in order to experience the same profound awakening I have, I thought at the time Then came the movie As much as I respect Penny Marshall s directing abilities and enjoy some of Robin Williams work, the movie has to be one of the biggest disappointments of all time, in my book Eh, this book was somewhat of a let down I thought There is a marvelous story here, but this book couldn t decide if it wanted to be a clinical write up of these patients, or appeal to the masses It tried to walk the line between the two and failed Just as I would get into the story about a patient, a bunch of medical terms about their condition would pop up, I d have NO clue what they meant, and the enchantment would end Three stars for the effort, and because the substance is pretty amazin Eh, this book was somewhat of a let down I thought There is a marvelous story here, but this book couldn t decide if it wanted to be a clinical write up of these patients, or appeal to the masses It tried to walk the line between the two and failed Just as I would get into the story about a patient, a bunch of medical terms about their condition would pop up, I d have NO clue what they meant, and the enchantment would end Three stars for the effort, and because the substance is pretty amazing The story is thrilling the sleepy sickness epidemic that followed WWI left many people with profound Parkinsonian symptoms some were hardly able to move, never spoke, seemed frozen in time for forty years A large number of these patients were under Sacks care at Mount Carmel hopital in New York in 1969 when he decided to try giving them the new drug L DOPA, and witnessed many of them coming suddenly, vividly to life But this blurb summary is a gross simplification Sacks is at pains even in The story is thrilling the sleepy sickness epidemic that followed WWI left many people with profound Parkinsonian symptoms some were hardly able to move, never spoke, seemed frozen in time for forty years A large number of these patients were under Sacks care at Mount Carmel hopital in New York in 1969 when he decided to try giving them the new drug L DOPA, and witnessed many of them coming suddenly, vividly to life But this blurb summary is a gross simplification Sacks is at pains even in the introductions to point out that L DOPA is extremely unpredictable, producing different effects even in the same patient, and always leads to some tribulations Also, the case studies that form the dramatic heart of the book were less fascinating to me than Sacks writing around them In a way, the case studies are richly personal Sacks insists again and again on treating patients as people, that nothing can be reduced to anything and that if we do not listen to our patients we will never learn anything However, the clinical detail is extensive and given in terminology that takes time to get used to When Sacks reflects on their implications, in contrast, he writes in expansive, lucid prose, linking the mysteries of Parkinsonism to quantum mechanics and to lyrical, existential poetry.This is a wonderful book for writers, because, as often in Sacks work, it goes to the heart of what forms character, identity, personality When he asserts that style is the deepest thing in one s being , I am struck by the resonance with some of the most thought provoking philosophy and criticism I have read The succinct expression here is powerful, and it is fleshed out by meditations on the notion of health as musicality and free flow, of being as moving, which the phantasmagoria of Parkinsonism most graphically disrupts and distorts.A section on stage and screen interpretations of the original work is included Sacks, initially concerned that any adaptation would be unreal was delighted by Pinter s response A Kind of Alaska I felt Pinter had given me as much as I gave him I had given him a reality and he had given me one back Ultimately, Sacks eloquently calls for an existential medicine Over and over he emphasises how deeply affected patients are by their effective imprisonment in a Total Institution and describes how they respond to music, visitors, trips out, as well as to the physical and care environment, in extraordinary and radical ways Awakenings allows us to glimpse deep truths about health and disease, and their integrity with personhood, that should transform the ways we think about them ( Book ) ☪ Awakenings ♚ Awakenings is anon fiction book by Oliver Sacks It recounts the life histories of those who had been victims of the s encephalitis lethargica epidemic Sacks chronicles his efforts in the late s to help these patients at the Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx, New York one of the most wonderful books I have ever read in my life and the movie for Robin Williams and Robert de Niro is a magnificent piece of art This is a fascinating and often very moving account of Sacks famous experiments using a new at the time dopamine medication to treat the sleeping victims of the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the early 20th century Excoriated at the time for cautioning on L DOPA s miraculous nature, Sacks takes the reader on a case by case study detailing the medicine s effects on patients who had been virtually catatonic comatose for decades These case studies are startling, weird, disturbing, and i This is a fascinating and often very moving account of Sacks famous experiments using a new at the time dopamine medication to treat the sleeping victims of the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the early 20th century Excoriated at the time for cautioning on L DOPA s miraculous nature, Sacks takes the reader on a case by case study detailing the medicine s effects on patients who had been virtually catatonic comatose for decades These case studies are startling, weird, disturbing, and in the end frustrating Most of the patients had horrible side effects after their brief awakenings , and only a few persisted on L DOPA with varying degrees of success Some of Sacks observations and findings will startle even now in ourcaring age Parkinsonian effects can be countered by less clinical care and environments surrounding the supposedly catatonic with what they love including and probably most especially family can have as much of an effect as medication.Perhaps the big takeaway here from Sacks post case study chapters is on how little we still understand about how the individual brain actually works and how treating things as pathologies might be less valuable than understanding the person undergoing them I m going to try to limit my rating to the quality of the book itself and not the events it portrays I m afraid under that criteria I can t rate Awakenings any better than a 2 for the majority of it, although the portions added in 1982 and 1990 are better written than the original material from 1972 This book has an unfortunate quality of being neither here nor there Much of the book is filled with highly technical terms and seems that it was not really written with the layman in mind, and I m going to try to limit my rating to the quality of the book itself and not the events it portrays I m afraid under that criteria I can t rate Awakenings any better than a 2 for the majority of it, although the portions added in 1982 and 1990 are better written than the original material from 1972 This book has an unfortunate quality of being neither here nor there Much of the book is filled with highly technical terms and seems that it was not really written with the layman in mind, and yet often Sacks starts waxing philosophical in a way not suitable for a strictly medical case study He also does a poor job of expressing why he continued trying L DOPA on new patients despite the large number of often spectacular, sometimes perhaps fatal, failures in this population failures that happened quite quickly Most Awakenings lasted only a few days to a few weeks in the luckiest cases and then started to collapse into intolerable agitative symptoms His descriptions to me read as though most of the patients ended up worse off after L DOPA than they were before, a rather impressive feat given how badly off they were to start The 1982 epilogue suggests there were therapeutic benefits that weren t well described compared to the negative effects, and patients who did better but were not spectacular enough to include in the 20 presented case studies, but some of the included cases still seem grossly irresponsible to me as a reader The writing also seems as though Sacks at this time fundamentally lacked an of understanding of how other people worked This is not as strange as it seems at first glance, since Sacks is not a psychologist He s a neurologist who has struggled with near paralyzing shyness In the additions written in 1982 and 1990 he seems to have outgrown some of that psychological ignorance, but unfortunately the 1972 portion where it is present is the meat of the book I would also be remiss if I did not mention that the book contains 173 footnotes, many of them essay length In my opinion, this is just bad writing technique The material should have either been incorporated into the body of the work, or omitted entirely This was the first of Sacks s books I read, and I had never read anything like it The discovery that a chemical could bring frozen people to consciousness again after an apparent sleep of years, was mind blowing to read about and literally mind blowing for some of those who emerged for a time from the effects of their meningitis and then sank out of consciousness again Sacks recorded the process as a scientist, and a man who is deeply concerned about the human condition and for his patient This was the first of Sacks s books I read, and I had never read anything like it The discovery that a chemical could bring frozen people to consciousness again after an apparent sleep of years, was mind blowing to read about and literally mind blowing for some of those who emerged for a time from the effects of their meningitis and then sank out of consciousness again Sacks recorded the process as a scientist, and a man who is deeply concerned about the human condition and for his patients as people.It s a long book, but this is necessary to tell the stories of the group who trialled l.Dopa with the insight and compassion Sacks gives them.For me, the film came nowhere near the real meaning of the book, because it only told the story of a very few patients and focused on one This made for human drama, but lost the scale of the double tragedy I am struggling to find words to describe my feelings of amazement at the case histories set out in this book, and my wonderment at what a strange place the mind can be For anyone unaware of the background, in the sixties Dr Sacks worked with survivors of an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica that began in Central Europe in 1916 and lasted for about 10 years, affecting an estimated 5 million people worldwide In the severest cases, such as Dr Sacks patients, survivors were left in a near ca I am struggling to find words to describe my feelings of amazement at the case histories set out in this book, and my wonderment at what a strange place the mind can be For anyone unaware of the background, in the sixties Dr Sacks worked with survivors of an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica that began in Central Europe in 1916 and lasted for about 10 years, affecting an estimated 5 million people worldwide In the severest cases, such as Dr Sacks patients, survivors were left in a near catatonic state, behaving with near total apathy and indifference to the world around them By the 1960s it had been established that the victims of post encephalitic conditions were lacking the neurotransmitter dopamine, and the drug L Dopa was developed in an attempt to compensate Initially the results were startling, with patients who had been profoundly ill for decades suddenly awakening , sometimes within hours of receiving L Dopa Unfortunately, within a few weeks a large majority of the patients began to manifest new illnesses, the variety and complexity of which are too great for this review Overall, L Dopa s effect on patients ranged from the beneficial to the catastrophic The story is told through 20 individual case histories presented by the author, followed by a variety of reflections, postscripts and appendices, where Dr Sacks makes the case against a mechanistic approach to medicine, and the tendency to treat patients as replicas of each other the book was written in 1972, so this argument was probablyradical then than it sounds now Dr Sacks is eloquent in drawing conclusions, but at times I found his detailed arguments quite dense, and his writing style a bit too florid for my taste It s for this reason that I haven t given the book a 5 star rating It deserves that in every other aspect.In 1990 the book was made into a film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro The last of the appendices provides a fascinating account of the making of the film I haven t seen it, but will look out for it now