Friday, January 16, 2009

My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD

How often do we hear the words “So and So had a stroke.” We wonder---how bad? Paralysis? Speech impediments? But most of us don’t know exactly what a stroke is or how one occurs or even where? Dr. Bolton, a neuro-anatomist (brain scientist) has written this book to answer these questions. More importantly she gives us a first-person account of her own experience with stroke at 37(!).

I appreciated her chapters called “Simple Science” and “Hemispheric Asymetries” in which she gives us all a short course on the brain and the origin/impact of strokes. She also provides two practical checklists:

Ten Assessment Questions to determine capabilities such as the ability to perceive three dimensions, a sense of time, ability to think linearly, etc.
Forty Things I Needed the Most which range from the need for respect, clear speech, lots of sleep, a team of professionals and loved ones. She asks that we “trust that my brain can always continue to learn.”

The book is easy to read. I think it is a must for anyone who is dealing with someone who has suffered a stroke---professional or not. What stroke sufferers need most is patience and time---often in short supply.

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