A man reflects on his recovery from a traumatic brain injury in this debut memoir.
In the fall of 1995, Bizzell had just started courses at Indiana University’s Graduate School of Mathematics when, out bicycling one day, he was the victim of a hit-and-run in which he suffered severe injuries. (The driver of the car was never found.) His mother was shocked when she arrived at the critical care unit to find her son in a coma—his face looking, as she puts it, “like a chunk of raw beef!” The external wounds healed fairly quickly, but Kevin’s closed-head contrecoup injury left him with significant amnesia, particularly about recent events. It took hard work in rehab for him to regain as much physical, cognitive and emotional strength as possible. He eventually recovered sufficiently to be able to get an education degree, move west and teach high school math in New Mexico. There, he found a spiritual path for himself, drawing on Hindu, Native American and other religious practices. The book’s first section, in which Kevin and his mother alternate chapters, offers an intriguing double perspective. At one point, for example, his mother is frustrated with Kevin’s contemplation of leaving the hospital against medical advice; he explains that at the time he was worried about paying for his hospitalization. The latter section, on Kevin’s alternative health care and spiritual journeys, may go into too much detail for many readers. When the memoir starts to focus on the author’s opinions regarding conspiracy theories (a new world order, secret societies, government FEMA camps, Jesuits), readers’ patience is likely to wane. “I certainly don’t think all of the things on the web-net are true,” he writes, but he notes that his background as a mathematician equips him to discern patterns. Nevertheless, the author is able to laugh at himself, and he writes with humility about his beliefs, which provides some welcome balance.
An often engaging memoir of recovery, even if readers may not respond to all its messages.