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Med Head
Med Head

Biography/Autobiography
Paperback
ISBN: 0316076171
$8.99/U.S.
320 pages
8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
Little, Brown Books
for Young Readers

Paperback for Teen Readers

The dramatic true account of one family's struggle with a tormenting medical mystery.

Cory Friedman woke up one morning when he was five years old with the uncontrollable urge to twitch his neck. From that day forward his life became a hell of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances, and Cory embarked on an excruciating journey from specialist to specialist to discover the cause of his disease. Soon it became unclear what tics were symptoms of his disease and what were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs. The only certainty is that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman's life was a living hell.

Med Head

Biography/Autobiography
Paperback
ISBN: 0316076171
$8.99/U.S.
320 pages
8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
Little, Brown Books
for Young Readers

In the Blink of an Eye

Chapter 5

MANY YEARS BEFORE my narrow escape from the psychiatric ward, my mind begins to play terribly cruel tricks on my body. My life changes forever sometime before my fifth birthday, with a simple shake of my head. Just like that.

It starts as I'm playing a video game. I feel an unusual, intense tension building up in my neck, and I think the only way to relieve it is to jerk my head to one side. A little while later, the tension is back and I do it again.

Soon my head is twisting more and more often, and the muscles in my neck are beginning to cramp.

I'm starting to get scared. Remember, I'm not quite five years old at the time. I'm just a little kid.

I try to stop, but the more I hold back, the stronger I feel the need to do it. My parents are looking at me, wondering what's going on.

That makes three of us.

When I wake up the next day, my head shaking is more or less a continuous thing. By lunchtime I know that my mother and father are worried because they aren't talking as much as they usually do.

By the following afternoon, the three of us are on our way to see a doctor. My father is driving pretty fast, and it feels as if we're in a speeding ambulance. At first I think it's my pediatrician we're going to see, but it's not.

"Is it going to hurt?" I want to know, stepping into an unfamiliar office.

"No, honey. This is a doctor who just wants to talk to you. This is a talking doctor."

In her office, Dr. Laufton asks me a lot of questions, such as "Do you ever feel like you have extra energy?"

"I guess so," I answer, because I think that's what she wants to hear.

Looking back, I realize this wasn't a good question. How could a kid my age have any idea what extra energy feels like?

"Why do you think you shake your head so much?" she asks after that.

Just thinking about it makes the shaking more violent. "I don't know. It feels like it wants me to," I say in between head thrusts.

That evening, my mother gives me a little pill to take. It's called Ritalin. I fall asleep pretty fast, but in the middle of the night I wake up feeling very restless and frightened.

I have no way of knowing it at the time, but Dr. Laufton has guessed wrong on the condition that's making my head shake. And she didn't realize that giving me Ritalin was like trying to put out a fire by drowning it in gasoline.

Copyright © 2010 by James Patterson

Med Head

Biography/Autobiography
Paperback
ISBN: 0316076171
$8.99/U.S.
320 pages
8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
Little, Brown Books
for Young Readers

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