A few years ago I was looking after an elderly woman in the emergency department who had suffered a stroke. She was aphasic — unable to understand speech or create comprehensible sentences. I explained to her family what had happened to her. Then her daughter asked me a question for which I hadn’t prepared an answer:
“What does it feel like to have a stroke?”
The answer to this question is not taught in medical school. I could call on a few vague recollections from some of Oliver Sacks‘ books, but the place I directed her to was TED.com and a talk by the neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor. Taylor wrote a book titled My Stroke of Insight based on her own experience of a hemorrhagic stroke. The fusion of her objective scientific approach with her personal, subjective internal adventure gives an incredible unique insight into the effect of an intracerebral hemorrhage on the human mind.
Watch, learn and be amazed: