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Patient H69: The Story of My Second Sight

The VisionHelp Blog

Neuromyelitis Optica, or NMO, is a mystery disease.  Although the cause is unknown, its pathogenesis has progressively become clearer.  A florid autoimmune inflammatory cascade leads to rapid demyelination and axonal injury targeting the optic nerve and multiple segments of the spinal cord.  This is the calamity that rendered Vanessa Potter, patient H69, legally blind and partially paralyzed on short notice in the Fall of 2012.

We don’t learn until the second half of her new book that the pseudonym Patient H69, through which she blogged in 2013, derives simply from the first few digits of her NHS hospital number.  Nor do we discover until the end of the book that, as of 2017, Vanessa’s motor and visual abilities have returned to normal.  Or have they?  The bulk of this riveting book builds momentum toward self-discovery of the seemingly effortless process that we call vision, and what happens when its…

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