Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Shadows in Wonderland

From the press release of a book coming out next month:

When television producer Colin Ludlow is admitted to hospital for an operation, he expects to be home in ten days. In the event, he ends up staying for five months, nearly dies on several occasions, contracts MRSA and is still recovering from his operation more than four years later.

His perceptive and frightening new book - said to be ‘memorable’ by The Bookseller - Shadows in Wonderland: A Hospital Odyssey is a moving account of how Ludlow pieces together the shattered fragments of his life and seeks to make sense of them again.

Shadows in Wonderland does not only recount Ludlow’s personal struggle for his health in many poignant passages:
“In the days following my surgery, I have a series of unexpected complications and my temperature soars. Eventually I am carted off to the hospital’s Intensive Therapy Unit where I spend several days unconscious on a ventilator. I have a second operation and then suffer massive internal haemorrhaging. Over one tumultuous weekend, I am given 45 units of blood in transfusions. Eventually, the doctors decide to try a rare clotting agent in a desperate attempt to staunch my bleeding, and Anna is told that if this fails to work by the second dose then there is no further hope for me. My children respond to the warning of my imminent death with storm-hardened calm. They are used to grim news by now.”
The book also takes a philosophical and questioning journey through chronic illness as Ludlow explores its wider significance. It is the record of a quest - which we all face - for health and wholeness in a fractured, disjointed world.

In the account of his blistering experience with chronic illness and the NHS Colin Ludlow manages to write masterfully and credibly about the institution, the culture and its history. With its amalgam of one man’s heart-rending experience within the NHS and its illuminating, witty digressions on the place of hospitals and health within Western society, Shadows in Wonderland enlarges our understanding of how it feels to become a long-term hospital patient.

Colin Ludlow also runs a blog.

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