Patient H69: The Story of My Second Sight
We see with our eyes ...right? Well, not exactly. In 2012, over the course of 72 hours, Vanessa Potter dramatically lost her sight. Going blind led Vanessa to turn science sleuth and reinvent herself as Patient H69. As she slowly recovered she began to reveal the reality behind her unique experience. Opening her eyes onto an unrecognisable black-and-white world with mutating shapes and colours that crackled and fizzed, Vanessa's recovery turned into a mission to unearth the incredible science behind how and why we perceive the world as we do. Thanks to cutting-edge research she was able to recreate her bizarre and otherworldly visual landscape as a series of remarkable digital images. In this book, we follow the story of Patient H69 as, with the help of neuroscientists from the University of Cambridge, she learns the science of herself, making discoveries that will go on to change the direction of her life. Vanessa's account is raw and candid, taking us through the trauma of her sudden sight loss and the impact it had upon both herself and her family. It shows how this remarkable woman opened doors by transforming her terrifying experiences into a scientifically fascinating endeavour.
A gripping human story, made more real by the unique response of one patient and the science she uncovers.
Brilliant, insightful, and inspiring. 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 Part patient diary, part journey into and out of blindness, part popular science book, this is an engaging and at times heart-breakingly sad account of what can happen when we lose our sight. A must read for anyone who does not see the world as others do and who wants to know why. -- Hannah Thompson, Reader at Royal Holloway, University of London, and author of the Blind Spot blog
Vanessa Potter spent 16 years as an award-winning broadcast producer in London's advertising industry, before one day fate conspired to turn the lights out on her. Suddenly losing then slowly regaining her sight led Vanessa to change direction, turning the camera upon herself to tell her story via immersive art and storytelling. Vanessa's collaborations have led to some exciting partnerships, and she is currently working on developing an interactive EEG science-art project that allows the public to see and understand the effects of mindfulness on their brains. She is also involved in several other scientific research projects. Her speaking engagements include a June 2016 TEDx talk in Ghent, Belgium. @PatientH69