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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

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  543 Ratings  ·  75 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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Beth
Feb 22, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
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
May 03, 2012 Karen Lynne Knaup rated it really liked it
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
Apr 20, 2008 Mindy rated it really liked it
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".
Ashley
Aug 17, 2009 Ashley rated it really liked it
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
Rachel
Aug 05, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
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
Charlotta Norby
Apr 27, 2014 Charlotta Norby rated it it was amazing
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
Kerri
Jun 04, 2010 Kerri rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 24, 2012 Bill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio-s, instructional
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
Oct 08, 2010 Rosemary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
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.

Paul
Apr 13, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing
Over My Head is by turns heartbreaking, inspiring, and ultimately the story of a doggedly determined woman who creates a new life for herself. Dr. Claudia Osborn is a 34-year-old internist in Detroit who goes biking with her roommate, and some careless driver makes an overly wide turn and hits her bike, throwing her on her head and giving her a major concussion. Most of the rest of the book concerns her rehabilitation, and how, after hoping she will return to her hospital job in a matter of mon ...more
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
Cindy
Feb 12, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, medical
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
Dawn
Oct 08, 2014 Dawn rated it it was amazing
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
Jeanne
Feb 23, 2016 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish books like this were available when a 1977 car accident left me with broken collarbone, 7 broken ribs next to my spine, broken pelvis & 3-week coma. 4-weeks of hospitalization followed by 3 weeks of speech, occupational & physical therapy set me on a yearlong road to early recovery. Miraculously little longterm evidence remains, although I recognize lapses in short term memory that are helped by lists & forgiveness. Moving forward is the best progress no matter the year brain ...more
Laura Roskelly
Mar 11, 2016 Laura Roskelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enlightening story for anyone who has suffered a brain injury

I found myself saying "yes" to so many descriptions, symptoms and situations in this sad but ultimately triumphant story of a fellow brain injury survivor. I also learned that there are actual names for many of the symptoms I've had to deal with and wonder why, in my dealings with two renowned brain injury clinics, I wasn't I told these are normal. Thank God for the doctors at Johns Hopkins who have held my hand through this journey an
...more
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
Garden Gal
Dec 30, 2012 Garden Gal rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every family member of a person with a TBI
Recommended to Garden by: Lisa Cohen, Speech and Cognitive Therapist
Shelves: best-books-ever
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
Apr 29, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing
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
Carol E.
Jun 14, 2013 Carol E. rated it really liked it
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
May 23, 2014 Dianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brain-injury, brains
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
Peg
Jan 11, 2014 Peg rated it really liked it
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
Alexa
Apr 03, 2015 Alexa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brain-injury
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
Jackie
Jan 10, 2014 Jackie rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, library, slp2be
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
Ellen
Jun 02, 2014 Ellen rated it really liked it
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.
Maureen
Nov 10, 2011 Maureen rated it really liked it
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.
Anne (sweetie)
Jul 12, 2014 Anne (sweetie) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
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.
Jen De Jong
Feb 06, 2016 Jen De Jong rated it it was amazing
My neuropsychologist recommended this book to me after my brain injury as a way for me to understand what was happening and what recovery might look like. I have since recommended it to many, many people who want to understand what it feels like to live with a brain injury. I am very happy that Claudia has recovered well enough to write this book. I only wish that my writing career could have survived my own TBI.
Beverly Hollandbeck
Oct 02, 2016 Beverly Hollandbeck rated it liked it
A rare look at traumatic brain injury from the point of view of the victim. Her story is both heart-breaking and heart-warming, paradoxically at one point at the same time, when she realizes that she is never going to be the person she was before, when she realizes that this is permanent brain damage. Her despair at this is cradled by the team who love her and have been working to help her. It's a quick read because it's hard to put down.
M.A. Appleby
Jul 19, 2015 M.A. Appleby rated it it was amazing
This is a significant recollection of what a person goes through during traumatic brain injury recovery. I found it helpful to know what my son is going through - by Claudia's account of how she 'found her way back'. In my son's case, his inability to communicate leaves him with a cognitive deficit and it helps to understand what the person may experience.There is an abundance of information about TBI out there but this one helped me the most.
Melissa White
Jan 24, 2016 Melissa White rated it really liked it
I suffered a traumatic brain injury two years ago today. I was an English professor who acquired aphasia. Since September 2015 I've been in the Albany branch of the cognitive rehabilitation described in this book. I took me several weeks to read this book, working on my speech and cognitive deficits. I find hearing her experiences similar to mine deeply helpful, especially while I'm working on my own acceptance. Thank you, Dr. Osborn!
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