Friday, June 05, 2009

Brain Injury Survivor's Guide by Larry & Beth Jameson

First, June is Brain Injury Awareness Month here in Canada. (In the US, it's March.) If anyone in your family rides a bike or skateboards or any of those other activities that can involve nasty spills, I'd like to encourage you to make sure that you & your kids wear helmets that are up-to-date and fit properly. (And don't be one of those parents who tells their kids to wear a helmet to ride a bike but doesn't wear one him-/herself.)

Now, about the book:

Beth Jameson suffered a brain injury nearly twenty years ago, caused by an anoxic stroke, and with her husband's love and support, she has created a new life for her brain-injured self, and together they have created Brain Injury Survivor's Guide as a manual for other brain-injury survivors and their families.

I'm not part of their audience, despite having married a man who suffered a brain injury nine years ago. This book is really for people who have recently suffered ABI (acquired brain injury) and their families. The Jamesons detail major parts of Beth's recovery and the strategies they implemented (including lists of schedules and how-to's for daily tasks like applying make-up) to help Beth be as functional as possible. They also include a list of resources in the last chapters.

They don't dwell on things like health care insurance battles, though they do mention them, and this is not a book filled with self-pitying tales. Beth fought for all the ground she's gained, and they're proud of it--and they want readers to know that doctors know surprisingly little about brain injury and what can be accomplished and/or relearned after a person suffers such an injury.

Despite some editorial flaws, this seems to me a book that should be handed out to family members of the brain-injured in hospitals, to start preparing them for what may lie ahead. Even though no two brain injuries are the same, and the methods employed by the Jamesons won't necessarily be useful for everyone in the target audience, it will still provide an initial layer of support and community that they will find helpful.

Larry and Beth maintain a useful website, About Brain Injury and Beth keeps Beth's Brain Injury Blog.

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