Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Against Medical Advice - James Patterson & Hal Friedman

This is a non-fiction story of one family's struggle with a medical mystery and how the doctors attempted to treat the condition.

I'm afraid it resounds within me, because I don't have that much faith in the medical community. They see too many people, don't have time to develop personal relationships with their patients, and you're often their guinea pig for new medications. When they say, "Let's try this..." I cringe.

Cory Friedman woke up one morning at five years of age and found he had a tic - an uncontrollable urge to shake his head. His parents take him a doctor, who puts him on the first of many, many medications.

As the years go by, he develops more tics, starts spitting and cussing, and begins repeating his jerking patterns. He also becomes an alcoholic.

He attempts to go to school, but most of his teachers don't understand his illness or its patterns and often make things worse by correcting him and automatically enhancing the behavior. The other students learn to set him off, make fun of him, and mimic him. His schoolwork gets further and further behind.

The various doctors keep trying more and more medications and combos of them to try to make his life closer to meeting what passes for "normal". His reactions keep changing, but while one medication may control one symptom for a while, he normally had other side effects...

The really sad part about this is that Cory has a very bright mind, and he was stuck in this body that held him back from learning and participating in a normal way. Since he had trouble writing, he learned to memorize the lessons. But he still had no friends.

When he found some, they all had some sort of "handicap". It could be alcohol, drugs, psychological problems - but that was what made them all gather together.

Cory's parents were at the end of their rope on what to do for him and very, very sad that his life was what it was. Then they decided to go "against medical advice".

They sent him to the equivalent of a survival boot camp and took him off all his medicines. He HAD to learn how to take care of himself. If he failed, they'd send him back home - and once he got there and started doing for himself, he didn't want to do that. If he didn't have time to cook his meals, he didn't get to eat. If he lost his gloves, he didn't have gloves.

The story of how this works out and where he goes from here is amazing.

This TRUE story is inspiring - and shows what you can do if you don't give up. Life may not be perfect for Cory, but it's better than it was before!

Get yourself a copy and follow Cory's journey...

2 comments: said...

This looks like a great read! I think I would get upset reading it-- because I too have very little faith in the medical community/ healthcare etc.

Conversations said...

Allan Wolper interviewed Friedman about his son's battle with TS on his radio show, Conversations with Allan Wolper

Link to the interview