Memento Mori by Tiitu Takalo

Content warning for this title: blood, surgery, hospitals, and depression.

The brain and how it works has always fascinated me. Lately I have been looking for information that focuses on what happens to your body and brain after your brain suffers trauma. Through my research, I found Memento Mori by Tiitu Takalo, a graphic memoir. The author suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in early December 2015 at the age of 38. One night while home alone, she had a sudden and unexpected cerebral hemorrhage, something that felt like a bad headache. Scared, she eventually made her way to the hospital where doctors and nurses rushed to find out what happened to her.

Takalo learned that she had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, plus two others that had not ruptured yet. She needed surgery and then time in an intensive care unit. Her total recovery time would be long, but no one could give her a definite time frame or any idea of what to expect. During her recovery, Takalo found that things that came easy to her before her hemorrhage were incredibly hard for her now. When she reached out to her doctors, she wasn’t given the help she needed, forcing her to fight for the help she deserved. Her search for happiness through life and art is documented in this graphic memoir with stark honesty and compassion.

Graphic medicine is a genre of graphic memoirs that I have enjoyed recently. These stories are intriguing, insightful, and moving. I highly recommend you check out this genre of graphic medicine memoirs if you haven’t read any before.

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