The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks is a collection of intriguing instances of neurology in some of his patients.
Oliver talks about these patients and their strange but interesting disorders.
For instance, the title character has a difficult time seeing certain things like faces and other images, and in one instance, he pulls on his wife’s head because he thinks it’s his hat.
One of my favorite excerpts is about a neurological disorder of the temporal lobe in the brain, which can be called “musical epilepsy.” Basically, a few elderly women were experiencing seizures which would cause music to be playing loudly in their heads.
Sacks said, “Conversation was far from easy, partly because of Mrs. O’C’s deafness, but more because I was repeatedly drowned out by songs-she could only hear me through the softer ones.”
Sounds humorous, but the patients couldn’t “adjust” the volume or “choose” their songs, so it’s kind of like being in the car when another person is in charge of the radio.
In between the vignettes, there was a lot of doctoral gibberish. Well, to me it was gibberish. But I read as much as I could and skimmed through the rest of those parts.
If these strange neurological instances sound like something you’d want to read about, pick up a copy of the book. Just keep in mind that you might need to or want to skim through the more technical aspects of a lot of these stories, which mainly occurs in the postscript.
What’s the strangest medical condition you know of?