For anyone who has entered the healthcare services for mental health difficulties, it can be a seriously rough road. Author Ken Dickson learned this first hand after an intense medical malady which he chronicles in his book Detour From Normal.
After developing a severe case of diverticulitis, Dickson underwent massive surgery to remove a portion of his intestines. Sadly, his battle with hospitals was not over after his long healing process. Dickson found himself unable to sleep and filled with intense energy. After not sleeping for several weeks and showing signs of erratic behavior, Ken Dickson’s wife realized something might not be working correctly in her husband’s normally very analytical brain. Dickson’s intense mania lead him to be hospitalized in a mental facility. Once inside, Dickson experienced a system that seemed to not care or listen to his patients. Thanks to the attention of his wife and his family, Dickson was able to get the care he needed and return to normal life.
Detour From Normal is a difficult read for those with queasy stomachs and open hearts. He describes his symptoms in intricate detail, even down to having a PICC line installed. However, it is the parts of the book where he describes his time in the mental hospital that truly feel terrifying. His dreams and medication issues, as well as his brief escape, are all told in calm clear passages. Where he is unable to be clear, his wife supplements with her journal entries from the time. It is not just the story of a man in a mental health crisis, but the story of his wife’s strength.
Detour From Normal is available now.