My Beautiful Broken Brain (2014)
One night after she went to bed, Lotje Sodderland was awakened by excruciating pain in her head. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she managed to stumble to a nearby hotel in London, but was unable to speak. "After that," she says, "I remembered nothing." Lotje had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of thirty-four. This Netflix Original Documentary (its third) was an official selection of the 2016 SXSW festival, and was picked up by director David Lynch, who was one of its producers. It follows the first year of Sodderland's attempts at recovery from the damage done by the stroke, which in her case had to do with memory, language, and logic. She could still speak, but reading was very difficult. Dreams, sounds, and colors could be too intense. After brain surgery, she moved back in with her mother, then spent three months as a live-in patient at a neurological hospital, and later agreed to experimental trans-cranial brain stimulation — at which time she suffered a fit of convulsions that lasted four hours. This story is both fascinating and terrifying. I watched it on Netflix Streaming. For a book version by a stroke victim, see the best seller, translated into thirty languages, My Stroke of Insight; A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (2006), by the Harvard neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor.