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Over My Head: A Doctor's Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out
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Over My Head: A Doctor's Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  390 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Locked inside a brain-injured head looking out at a challenging world is the premise of this extraordinary autobiography. Over My Head is an inspiring story of how one woman comes to terms with the loss of her identity and the courageous steps (and hilarious missteps) she takes while learning to rebuild her life. The author, a 45-year-old doctor and clinical professor of m ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,160)
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Beth
Great book about recuperation from brain injury. All brain injuries are different, and her TBI is different than mine. Yep, I flooded and think I was a little adynamic, particularly as it relates to slowed mental function. I think I also had a little aphasia ( the inability to comprehend and/or express language to include written, spoken words and ideas.
Within these differences, she wrote very specifically at time about how I've felt during this process...
"I swung widely between optimism and d
...more
Karen Lynne Knaup
As one who experienced a head injury in 1993, I was amazed at how well the author captured the confusion and frustration involved with TBI and the subsequent rehab. Letting go of the "old me" and accepting and loving the "new me" was a difficult process, but one that allowed me to experience great growth. This book is a great resource for those who have a friend or family member experiencing a head injury. There were few resources available to my family or myself and I am thankful that Dr. Osbor ...more
Mindy
May 01, 2008 Mindy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Family & friends of TBI patients.
Recommended to Mindy by: Steve
A painfully honest description of a doctor's experience with a traumatic head injury caused by a bicycle vs. auto accident. What stuck with me from this book is the overwhelming stress that it caused the author to do seemingly "simple" tasks like planning out the route to work. It definitely opened my eyes a bit to what a person with TBI might be experiencing "behind the scenes".
Charlotta Norby
I LOVED this book. It's the first book I've read where I felt like the author knew exactly how I felt about losing my ability to practice law. I would love to meet this woman, I feel like we'd have so much in common - but more so, I'd love for everybody I know to read and understand this book. Though, realistically I know that won't work, because everybody will say that her injury was so much more severe than mine, her problems so much more complicated, and I didn't have anywhere near the same t ...more
Rachel
Dr. Osborn's story was one of loss, sorrow and hope. It is a very personal account of an internist's devastating auto-bike accident that left her with a tramautic brain injury. She shares the confusion she experiences on a moment-by-moment basis, discussing how she wakes up each morning shortly after the accident and has to check the notes she wrote the night before to remeber where she is and how to locate the bathroom. Her first weeks in the rehab program in New York are a frustrating tale of ...more
Ashley
This book reminds me a lot of Still Alice, that I recently read. This book, though, is about Dr. Osborn's, a doctor and professor, who suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after being hit by a car while riding her bike. When she awakes after the accident, she has lost all executive function, is adynamic (apathetic, listless), and experiences frequent flooding, where she is awash in her emotions that cause her thought-processing to slow, and can severely impair thinking, language skills, and ac ...more
Kerri
This book is a must-read for professionals, friends, and family who care for persons with Traumatic Brain Injury.

Dr. Claudia Osborn was practicing medicine when she had a bicycle accident that resulted in a brain injury. This book is about strength, determination, and courage, even when it is impossible to "get back to normal."

I read this book because I heard Dr. Osborn speak at a conference. She talked about her life today. She is so well-spoken, it is hard to believe that the things I take for
...more
Bill
What a great novel! I, too, went through almost an exact same scenario, but was fortunate enough to have recovered seemingly more fully than Claudia. A very introspective look at what is involved in a TBI recovery, and who is the most help. Many things she brought up I'd almost forgotten about, and certainly developed a better appreciation of family and friends that healed me through my ordeal. Her rehab center being set in Manhatten really upped the anti! I could't imagine being in that foreign ...more
Rosemary
My favorite brain injury book. Claudia is at once a no-nonsense and endearing character. I'd like to sit down and talk to her in person.
This book is the closest I've come to understanding what someone with a traumatic brain injury actually thinks and feels as they struggle
to recover physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Without seeking pity, Claudia tells it like it is.
Her honesty, bravery and ability to educate others about brain injury make her a strong role model others.

Tanya
Helped me understand more about emotional flooding and adynamia. I wish we all had a friend as remarkable as Marcia!

A couple of items I want to ponder further...
P 168 Many problems have the same root causes. You didn't discover a new deficit. You just found a new implication of a deficit you already had...the deficit wasn't meaningful enough until you were active enough to try to use a former skill that is now limited by that deficit." Helping someone recognize this is a key step, but getting h
...more
Alexa
I originally picked up this book to learn more about brain injury. Which I did, though not in the ways I was expecting.
Over My Head isn't like a medical journal; it's a fascinating and intriguing personal story. Not only is it brilliantly written, but the story goes beyond the pain and confusion of a TBI to show some universal truths of life. Reading it taught me more than a few symptoms of injury to the brain stem; it really got me thinking about things like empathy for the injured and even the
...more
Dawn
I found this memoir written by a brain-injured doctor to be very moving. She did an excellent job of describing her life before, then after, being hit by a vehicle while riding a bike. It was fascinating to me to "watch" as the extent of her injury unfolded. It's understandable that she herself had such difficulty figuring out just how much she'd been damaged, considering how confusing everything was to her. But the people around her, and even her initial neurologist, seemed oblivious to the sev ...more
Cindy
For people wanting to try non-fiction I would not recommend this. This is more a special interest read.

Unique account of an internist who had a head injury from being hit by a car while bike riding. Very educational in how Claudia struggles with her short term memory, her ability to function and her emotions. It takes years of special training to realize and accept her loses and build a satisfying life using different devices or props to carry out a strategy or function. Gets a bit long. Not alw
...more
Elizabeth
A truly insightful look into the world of traumatic brain injury. I now have much more respect for the head-injured, their trials, and their triumphs. The only downside to this book was that I could not read it for more than about an hour at a time because I felt like I was losing my ability to think. (Which is probably more a statement about the quality of writing than anything.)
Judy Wallace
fabulous explanation of one person's experience

I found myself sharing portions of the book with my family and friends. As an almost 15 years long TBI sufferer, sharing helped me explain some of my difficulties more concisely than I was able to on my own. Best of all, the author's method of storytelling avoided over simplification without resorting to over explanation.
Annette Jackson
Very Informative!

Reading this book helped me understand a lot of the issues associated with TBI. To hear the story told from the perspective of the person with this kind of injury, sheds new light for me. Dealing with someone who's life was permanently altered because of this traumatic experience can be very difficult. It not only affects their life, but also their relationships the have with others.
Peg
Read in 2000. Having treated clients with brain injuries I was particularly interested in reading her memoir. dr Osborne suffered a closed head injury when a motor vehicle struck her and her bike. the first-hand account of the losses, the rehab, and the adaptions necessary to continue a fulfilling life are inspiring. It took her 7 years to complete this book with the help of her mother in organizing he notes. Today Dr Osborne provides education to other physicians through a lecture circuit and a ...more
Judy
Both uplifting and insightful. A look into what life is like for someone after a moderate brain injury. Some of the reflections in here are amazing, especially when read as a health care provider. It's such a rare and personal glimpse into the mind of someone who has experienced such an injury and their struggle with the acceptance of it.

It's so devastating to read about her change in life roles, her inability to do things that so many of us take for granted, as well as how she feels when other
...more
Anne
Wow. The book describes very closely what I went through with my head injury. Of course there were some differences but many of the things she described were exactly what I went through. I never figured anyone could completely understand but I also didn't have group rehabilitation and I never felt like I could talk to anyone about my difficulties. In this book, I learned that my deficiencies are normal for brain damaged people and that I am not alone in being this way.
Jackie
An excellent read for anyone close to someone who has experienced TBI (traumatic brain injury), whether that role be as a family member or as a rehabilitative professional. I'll carry this account with me into my career and likely revisit it.

I feel like great liberties were taken in editing and elaborating her journal entries and letters -- which she addresses at the onset. While her voice was captured wonderfully, I wish that her writing and communication throughout her progress had been more a
...more
John
I recommended this book to my medical students on their trauma rotation as an example of how unpredictable and potentially devastating brain injuries can be. The hope that her eventual success in dealing with her disability can bring to brain injured patients cannot be underestimated. Should be required reading in medical school.
John Kroll
A rare opportunity to read a case study from the inside -- the patient's perspective -- of a serious brain injury. Osborn must be credited for having the persistence to even produce a book at all. She worked on it for seven years, sha says, and that's believable given the difficulties she details.

I was surprised at how little medical information she provides, especially since she says her medical knowledge remained intact. I would have liked to have known precisely what her brain injuries were a
...more
Shari
A valuable story from any perspective. All TBIs are different, one out of seven have one, most go undiagnosed, and they can happen to you or a loved one at any time. Insightful, heartbreaking, inspiring, and important.
Garden Gal
Dec 30, 2012 Garden Gal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every family member of a person with a TBI
Recommended to Garden by: Lisa Cohen, Speech and Cognitive Therapist
The only way to understand brain injury is to have one, and since it is the brain that is injured, that "understanding" is fractured and piecemeal. Reading this book is as close as one can come to gaining that understanding from the outside.

It is an honest, insightful, revealing portrait of traumatic brain injury, and should be handed to the family members and friends of anyone diagnosed with a brain injury as required reading.

This was the first book I read 3 years after my TBI and it took me 6
...more
Judy Herrmann
An eloquently written book by a doctor that had a severe head injury after a car accident. She was able to function independently after attending a rehab program in New York.
Carol E.
This non-fiction book is an interesting look at a serious head injury which happens to the author, a doctor, and the tedious work and toil it takes to get herself back to a functioning level.

A person can look or even behave as if she has recovered, but inside the brain is still a jumble. Simple, everyday tasks that we do automatically can require many complicated steps one must plan deliberately. This saga is really amazing. Osborn takes us through her whole process and successfully reports her
...more
Dianne
This is a fantastic read detailing the author's experience with her traumatic brain injury. It is her personal story so it does not explain every brain-injured person's experience, but it provides helpful insight that can be useful when engaging with anyone with an injury.

My biggest takeaway from her story is applicable to every person, brain-injured or not. Experiences happen in our lives that we don't ask for and they change us in ways that keep us from being the people we thought we'd be. Of
...more
Ellen
Really great story of a woman's experience with tbi. From a clinical perspective, it was really helpful to hear exactly what "goes on" in her brain that makes it difficult to perform her activities of daily living. She described her difficulties with attention, her adynamia, and her experiences with flooding in a way that helped understand what was happening to her, in order to get an idea of what it feels like to live with a brain injury. A great read, a great story, and very touching as well.
Alexis
Apr 22, 2008 Alexis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Speech pathologists and anyone who has a loved one with a brain injury or aphasia.
Recommended to Alexis by: Dr. Patterson :)
It's always fascinating for me to read about communication disorders from the inside looking out. Overall, this was a good story with an accurate perspective of life with brain injury resulting in aphasia. However, it is evident that the Claudia was not solely responsible for telling her story. A pointer, if you're reading this for the first time and are not familiar with medical/speech pathology jargon, use the "head injury primer" in the back of the book!
Maureen
This is a great book I thoroughly enjoyed. (I have to say that the book didn't sound appealing to me at all. I had no desire to read it. My mom urged me to read it & said I'd enjoy it. I reluctantly opened the book & began reading ONLY because I had nothing else to read on my flight.) What a pleasant surprise. I loved it! I learned a lot, it was a fast easy read, and a great combination of interesting, funny and poignant.
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