Friday, September 25, 2015

Pure Alexia

Remember the book on sale that I bought a while back? Well, the English title is The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks. It's a fascinating book full of real life stories of people who've suffered from different health problems. I haven't finished reading yet, but what I've read so far really fascinates me and it's about pure alexia. Click on the link to read more information on it, but basically speaking, Oliver has met some patients who have lost the ability to read letter and/or musical notes and/or the ability to recognize daily items, yet they still retain their ability to write (although they're not able to read what they've written).

They have found ways to navigate life with their disabilities. It's heartbreaking to read one story where the woman's condition gets worse as time goes by despite her best efforts to navigate life with her disabilities, but in another story it's truly encouraging to read how another woman manages to live a full life despite her disabilities. In fact, she even manages to use her experience to help out similar patients deal with their challenges. It's fascinating to read how a musician who has lost the ability to read musical notes can rely on her/his muscle memory and his/her ears to play a piece of music. It's heartwarming to read how other people around the patient have helped them navigate life.

But seriously, imagine for a while that you've lost the ability to recognize daily items. You go to a supermarket and then suddenly you realize you can't read the labels anymore and you can't even be sure if what you're looking at is an apple or an orange. You pick up the newspaper and you feel that what you see is written in Martian language. How would you feel? What would you do? 

All in all, even though I haven't finished reading the book, I HIGHLY recommend it. 


  1. I can't imagine that at all. How scary it must feel.
    It's amazing what some people have to deal with, and how they overcome such traumas and situations. Makes me feel quite humble.

    1. Yes, the book reminds me how amazing the brain can be, and yes, how some people can adapt to their disabilities.