Pros: Comforting, Recovery story, Dr. Eben Alexander
Cons: Confusing at points, descriptions lacking
I am thankful that Dr. Eben Alexander, has recovered from the E.Coli Meningitis, that almost killed him. As a Harvard educated Neurologist, he has penned a book called "Proof of Heaven," based upon his experience while in a coma. For seven days he was in this state, and described going to another world, while analyzing this experience with his background in science. Apparently it is on the best seller list, and I do hope to one day meet this doctor, to thank him for providing some comfort. As many know, I lost my son years ago, and he described what a life threatening seizure is like to go through. For years this has caused much anguish, and I feel better knowing that my boy, did not suffer in his final moments on Earth.
With that being said, I have read a lot of books about grief, and am especially enamored by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross's work. She was a legend in hospice care, and she does get several mentions from Dr. Alexander. This book begins with a discussion of his medical background, and how he conducted surgeries on the brain. This part was very interesting, and to learn about technologies being used, is simply astounding. He described the hours he spent working on people's brains, and helping people to recover from tumors and other maladies. Also, with a big heart, he described the emotional toll it put on him, when he lost a patient.
One day Dr. Alexander was at home, when he started to feel terrible. He had a headache, pain in his neck, and eventually jolts of agony that went through his body. Finally he had a massive grand mal seizure, and he was rushed to the local hospital's ICU. This is in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the doctors who saw him in this state, were among his friends and colleagues. His wife, college age son, and young boy accompanied him during these seven days. Doctors aggressively treated his condition, but the outlook was bleak, as the vast majority believed he would die.
Yet Dr. Alexander "pulled through," and scared the living daylights out of everyone in the room as he regained consciousness. He is surrounded by his family, including members of his own adopted family, because he was an orphan as a child. Here through the chapters, is interwoven a story about his growing up, a sense of empty feelings, along with his passions for sky diving and other activities. He is certainly a unique individual, but what did he see "on the other side?" According to Dr. Alexander, he was greeted by a woman he did not recognize, on butterfly wings as they flew around the most beautiful place he had ever seen. Time did not seem to exist, and he felt unconditional love that he had never encountered before.
While there are some good points to this book, and it did provide me some comfort, it also is a bit confusing. The bouncing back and forth between subjects, including deep looks at how the brain works, were not written for the lay person in some chapters. I didn't mind using search engine to look up terms, but it added some extra research that I was not expecting. Also, he seems to have a difficult time, describing what he saw while he was in a vegetative state. One could only surmise that this would be the case, especially with such a trauma, but for whatever reason this book didn't "hit me with an emotional impact," that I was looking for.
I am glad that Dr. Alexander came forward, with what he did experience. Many nurses and hospice workers that I know of, have talked of patients seeing things that they could not. Often this has been described as hallucinations, or the brain shutting down. Yet Dr. Alexander explains how the infection he caught, shut down the front vortex of his brain completely. He also brings up a rather startling call from a patient's sister years ago, and sees someone on the other side, that he later does recognize. For those interested in NDE's and seeing a recovery of a patient given a grim outlook, this might be one you want to read. Yet due to the confusion, and lack of descriptions, I have to say that I found it below expectations.
**Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to Pestyside(Patsy) for adding this book to the database***************