The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
It’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

This now legendary tome should be familiar to any doctors reading this. Professional Moron is a great hive of resources for those who practice medicine!

For instance, our exclusive Santa Claus column will provide rampant insights into Tourette Syndrome, narcotics abuse, Communism, and Elves.

If this sounds a bit rubbish, at the very least we hope to steer students towards Oliver Sack’s 1985 book about particularly intriguing patients.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

The British-American neurologist, turned writer, split the book into four sections:

  1. Losses.
  2. Excesses.
  3. Transports.
  4. The World of the Simple.

In this lot we come across individuals who have been afflicted by some of the most confounding neurological disorders you can imagine.

These case studies range from terrifying, to fascinating, and even rather amusing.

There is Christina from 1977 who becomes “disembodied”—ultimately she relearns how to use her body by directing limbs with her eyes.

Elsewhere readers are introduced to an ageing gentleman who doesn’t realise he’s walking at a bizarre angle. We also come across individuals stricken with memory loss, long dormant illnesses, and phantom limbs.

Then there’s the eponymous man who mistook his wife for a hat – Dr. P. This “musician of distinction” suffered from visual aphasia, which led to an inability to comprehend objects.

Dr. Sacks, in one section, shows him an image of the Sahara Desert. Dr. P describes, “A little guest-house with its terrace on the water.

People are dining out on the terrace. I see coloured parasols here and there.” Despite this, the man somehow maintained his possession as a lecturer of music.

Any fans of the hit TV show House will particularly enjoy this buke. Indeed, you’ll recognise some of the show’s cases from the stories Dr. Sacks so eloquently and sympathetically tells. We recommend you all read it—if you don’t you’re a philistine!

You don’t want to be one of those, do you? Exactly! So put it on your New Year’s Resolutions list and become a better person. This is the way of things.

Medical Literature

There’s something strangely fascinating about the world of medical issues in writing. Macabre, but remarkable.

Roy Harper’s Blood & Guts: A Short History of Medicine (2002) was a jolt for us.

Along with Dr. Frances Larson’s Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Found. For those of us who aren’t involved in this mysterious and often disturbing world, these books are often shocking.

And Dr. Sacks was one of the leaders in this field. Not to shock, but to educate, enlighten, and offer sympathy in this bizarre world of ailments we live in.


Dispense with some gibberish!

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