Patient H69: The Story of My Second Sight

Vanessa Potter. Sigma, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4729-3610-3
Potter, a former U.K. television producer, recounts her frightening and sudden loss of vision in 2012—and the slow return to sight, albeit altered—after an episode of neuromyelitis optica, or optic neuritis. In meticulous detail, Potter chronicles the journey from a “black hole” to the point a year later when she realized “that life [was] just normal again.” While keeping track of every slow step to regaining sight—and the loss of sensation in her hands and feet—she approached her sight loss like she used to do her television job, “except this time it was to be the biggest production of my life,” a replication of “my journey in a far more immersive and large-scale way.” Potter began writing a blog and created meditation tools that she used based on “the visualized mental sanctuary that I now call the beach.” She also constructed art installations and explored the science of the “blind sight” she experienced when she first began to “feel” colors. Potter’s work records an indomitable spirit that righted a world that had turned upside down. “How an illness changes you is actually your choice,” Potter writes. “The way I see it is that if those choices are not obvious, then you just have to carve them out for yourself.” (July)
Reviewed on: 04/10/2017
Release date: 07/25/2017
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