From husband and wife authors Slott (Never let ’em see you sweat, 2014, etc.) and Spears, a touching, frank, and unsparing depiction of the trauma, initial recovery, and ongoing challenges surrounding traumatic brain injury (TBI).
After a drunken driver nearly killed him in an auto collision one Hawaii morning, Slott spent the next few weeks in a coma, then in rehab facilities, and finally back home with his wife, Spears. Unfortunately, the accident dealt a serious blow to his brain, compromising his short-term memory, his ability to concentrate, and even the easy flow of movements and decision-making required to simply get out of bed and start an ordinary day. Slott and, in several chapters, Spears describe not only the physical challenges of working and living with a brain injury, but all the psychological battles as well. While the stated intent of the work is to address an audience of fellow TBI sufferers and their caretakers, the book’s clean prose and tight pacing make it accessible for a wider audience. Slott is careful to stay away from overt bids for sympathy, preferring instead to bolster his audience with slogans of self-improvement and unflagging belief in the ability to overcome seemingly daunting obstacles, whereas Spears provides more of an emotional grounding to each of her chapters. With tremendous honesty, she describes how frustrating it is to take care of someone who is himself deeply frustrated by his condition. Yet these accounts, always couched in deep compassion, often give way to humor. The most affecting portion of the book comes in list form as Spears describes Slott’s various recovery milestones, measured by the day they occurred after the accident. “Day 187: Solo trip to the bathroom.” “Day 215: Undressed himself.” Slott and Spears are also meticulous in their list-making of drug regimens and hospital experiences. The couple functions wonderfully well as a writing team, creating a thoroughly researched, emotional document of the incredible strength and perseverance it takes to overcome the obstacles life often places in our paths.
Although ostensibly written for caretakers and TBI survivors, this compelling read will comfort anyone who needs inspiration for overcoming an incredibly daunting situation.