The Book

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My book Patient H69: The Story of my Second Sight publishes on May 4th 2017 in the UK, and 25th July 2017 in the USA by Bloomsbury.

If you’d like to pre-order a copy click here.

A mesmerizing account, Patient H69 narrates first hand the chilling experience of waking up to find herself blind and paralysed. An undeniably unique story, told through a timeline of real events provides the reality of what it is like to suddenly lose two of your major senses.

Meticulously documenting the journey from day one, this mother of two adopts the pseudonym Patient H69, and transforms herself into a science sleuth on a quest to uncover the inner mechanics of her own brain to better understand the neurological episode she has suffered.

A broadcast producer, Patient H69 turns the lens upon herself and propelled by an intense curiosity narrates her miraculous visual rebirth, and introduces us to the meditation and self-hypnosis tools she employed to endure her ordeal.

Embraced and supported by brain scientists she recruits along the way, we discover the hidden innermost function of the brain and our complex visual system, with Patient H69’s own case study offering scientists an important, and often inaccessible window into the process of early visual development.

Imagine a lit sparkler; light dancing all around, distorting the shape, glints and flashes shimmering, emitting a thousand tiny particles of hot blue metal. That was how my bin cheekily called out to me as I tried to walk past”.

We hear what appears on the surface to be an amusing relationship with inanimate objects, however, the scientific significance of what Patient H69 unearths illustrates a brain intuitively and brilliantly provoking a sensory response.

Scientific signposts throughout help implant not only a relevant, but fascinating knowledge, revealing the hidden inside story. This is a gripping human story, made all the more real by the unique response of one patient, and the science she uncovers.

“Brilliant, insightful, and inspiring. Vanessa Potter has accomplished the impossible. In describing her journey through sensory loss and recovery, we experience what it is like to feel and see the world through another person’s mind. As Potter explores the science behind her condition, she celebrates the remarkable adaptability and flexibility of the human brain and gives us tools to overcome even the deepest traumas.”
Susan R. Barry, Author of Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist’s Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions.