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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Review: Prognosis

Prognosis was for me that rarest of books: an Amazon First giveaway that drew me in and force me to read until I got to the finish. The author, Sarah Vallance was a smart, risk-seeking woman who was thrown off a horse and hit her head. This resulted in what's called a "mild brain injury."

As one of my friends learned ages ago, there's no such thing as a mild brain injury, and Vallance describes her process of recovery and healing from the trauma well: from the horror of not having executive function to months of recovering the ability to read or even put together sentences, and the stories of the medical professionals writing her off after she scored with an IQ of 80.

Part of it was her very angry personality, deliberately refusing the help of social workers and other professionals. On the other hand, this was someone who'd suffered a brain injury, and the professionals should know that brain injury victims are literally unable to make rational decisions. On the other hand, she was very lucky to get her brain injury in a country with universal healthcare. In the USA, she'd probably have had her house taken away, and ended up homeless and there would be no way that this book would have been written.

The recovery process was painful to even read, but what came through in the end was that despite her self-doubts, Vallance made a good recovery and performed at a very high level after she attained her PhD, won a fellowship, and became a HR professional and expat. While she's not a very likable person (and neither were much of her family as described), the writing flows, is easy to read, and you will have sympathy for her by the end of the story.


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