Hydrocephalus In One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest

1117 Words 5 Pages
The portrayal of hydrocephalus in Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, is mostly accurate. Even though there is limited information about the disorder in the novel, the information presented provides plenty of factual symptoms and appearances of children with hydrocephalus. In order to fully understand this disorder, the history of treatment should be viewed in detail, and examples from the novel should be examined.
Hydrocephalus, “water on the brain”, is a disorder that has been documented since 5th century B.C., with the first documentation of treatment from Hippocrates. Hippocrates could have been the first to attempt ventricular punctures, which involves puncturing the brain cavity to release Cerebrospinal fluids. Over
…show more content…
Hydrocephalus does not have many means of prevention as it is not a disease but a disorder that is brought on by traumatic brain injury. Children may also be born with the disorder. Simply holding up a baby’s head or having a child wear a helmet can help to stop the damage. Symptoms may appear at any point in a person’s life after such damage. Some symptoms linked to hydrocephalus are headaches, excessive sleepiness, loss of coordination, restricted movement, high-pitched crying, loss of developing skills, and many other problems depending on the age of the child (Kaneshiro et al.). At any age the child may swell up causing their head to appear balloon-like. Many of these symptoms are shown by the young boy encountered in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
In the novel the first portrayal of hydrocephalus is when the patients come across a kid in the shower room. Their first impression of the kid is his “big spongy pink head”. Children with this disorder acquire swollen heads due to the excessive amount of water building up inside the brain (Kaneshiro et al.). Ken Kesey’s first fact was correct; however, his second fact was false. The patients recall bulging hips and legs, but people with hydrocephalus do not contain water all over. A condition in which other cavities of the body fill up is called edema (Pruthi et al.). It could be that this child had edema
…show more content…
This child doesn’t speak during the scene at all. With all of the guys yanking on him to make him stand, the men talking about him right in front of him, and even with the confused looks he was getting, he never once said a word. Children with hydrocephalus have a hard time remembering “new developmental skills” such as talking and walking, like mentioned before (Shah). It is almost as if they are decreasing in age instead of growing up and developing further. There are many tests that can be done to test if a child has hydrocephalus. Many tests also assess the level of damage done. A couple of these tests include MRIs and ultrasounds of the brain (Shah). If a child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, the best thing to do is go to a doctor as soon as possible. It is not a mental disease and never should have been “treated” at mental wards. Sadly, hydrocephalus and many other disorders were misunderstood by the general public, making the public scared to have the “diseased” among them.
As shown in the scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest, hydrocephalus is a complicated disorder. Ken Kesey portrayed the disorder with almost 100% accuracy. He provided many examples to make his novel as true as he could. Kesey provided enough information without boring the reader with too many facts that digressed from the story line. Clearly, Ken Kesey did his

Related Documents