I admit that I have spent little time researching my condition. I just haven’t seemed to be able to methodically go down that path. My efforts have been sporadic and brief.
The one book I read cover to cover was My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, a 37-year-old Harvard-trained scientist who specialized in the anatomy of the brain and who experienced a massive stroke in 1996.
Her experience of that calm, peaceful place she entered periodically in her early stages was similar to my experience. But her recovery of her motor functions returned much quicker than mine have. Unlike me, though, she lost her language, memory and all abilities related to mathematical functions.
Her recovery took eight years, which in itself strengthens my hope. This book has excellent suggestions for what to expect and how those who care about a stroke survivor can help, rather than unintentionally add to their loved one’s frustrating or painful experiences. And that goes for those who are occasional visitors as well as those who are active partners in care and recovery.
Taylor’s book reads like a novel, even with some technical information about the brain’s anatomy. She boiled the scientific explanations down to basics and served them in well-seasoned bites small enough to digest with a little chewing. Most of the book, however, is devoted to her experience: her moment-by-moment awareness of what was happening in her brain and body as blood flowed over her brain cells in a toxic flood, her experiences in the hospital environment, and her recovery.
She takes the reader on the excruciating trip with her as she lost functions and struggled to call for help then endures the hospital experience. She, along with her mother, are heroic figures in this real-life story. I must admit, I love happy endings and this book has that kind of ending.
My Stroke of Insight is available on Amazon and with other online merchants, but I found my hardback copy in a bin of $5 sale books at Wal-Mart.
My other research: I have in the past few days been looking at stroke rehab videos on YouTube.
Husband Walter and I spend several hours each day doing such exercises, not counting outpatient rehab. It is a lot easier to understand how to do an exercise my therapist assigned as “homework” or to refresh my memory of an exercise by looking at a video, even if the video is in Chinese, as opposed to trying to decipher line drawings, photos or written instructions handed out at rehab,
Hooray for YouTube!