Saturday, April 23, 2011

Against Medical Advice by Friedman & Patterson

About the book: One terrible March morning in 1989, Cory Friedman woke up and began to shake himself into a terror that would last for 15 years. Before long, his physical tics and convulsing would take over his life, almost tearing him apart, reducing a gifted five-year-old into a helpless victim. Physicians diagnosed Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, and other neurological disabilities, but as time passed, it became impossible to distinguish his sicknesses from the effects of the 60 potent medicines that his doctors had prescribed. Cory and, by extension, his family suffered in this volatile inferno before he found solace and release in an unexpected place. Bestselling author James Patterson and Cory's father, Hal Friedman, tell a medical story of calming force.

First line:I'm seventeen years old and laying in the backseat of our family car, being transported to a place that treats crazy people.

My Thoughts: This true story really touched my heart. Just to think about the torment this child and his family endured is a nightmare. I think his family was incredibly loving, supportive, and pro-active in searching out new treatments and programs to help Cory with his multiple afflictions. I applaud Cory, who through his own sheer determination conquered his troubles against great odds.

One thing I did not realize about Tourettes is that it can be painful, actually causing the person to harm themselves. In the end it was not drugs that helped Corey but behavioral therapy techniques paired with meditation and physical activity. I can't help but wonder if his parents had tried to teach him from the beginning that things weren't ok and encouraged him to learn to control himself if things would have gotten so out of hand with his meds.

I just couldn't understand how his parents, as involved as they were, could let a 13 year old child become dependent on cigarettes and alcohol. It was mentioned, numerous times, that the only thing that gave him relief was alcohol. However that didn't explain why his parents let him have drunken parties in his basement with other underage teens in attendance. The story was told of one child that was so drunk he passed out, in the freezing cold, on the lawn in his own vomit. The father came out to see about a fight he had heard and helped Corey drag the child to another teens car and got that teen to take the kid home. (?????) That is not the only part I have questions about.

So, I have mixed feelings about this book. While it was a great learning experience, inspiring even, parts of the story bothered me.

Rating: C

Quote:It's obvious that whatever was controlling me before has only been worsened by the medicine. For some reason, though, the urge to twist my head is gone. For now, anyway.

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