BRAIN STORM: A Journey of Faith Through Brain Injury Allen, Laura and Bruce Westbow Press (224 pp.) $33.95 hardcover, $17.95 paperback, $3.99 e-book ISBN: 978-1449737719; February 1, 2012
One couple’s tale of struggle and ultimate triumph over a debilitating brain injury as relayed by both patient and caregiver. The journal-style writing delivers a deeply personal account of Laura and Bruce Allen’s difficult journey as they learned that Bruce had two lesions in his brain, a life-threatening condition requiring immediate surgery. Both religious leaders in their Southern community, the patient and caregiver never lost faith. Though the surgery to drain the abscess was a success, it was only the first step in a process of healing and learning to do the most basic actions. Bruce had to learn to walk, talk, and manage mundane tasks all over again, while Laura learned to be patient and supportive. Laura describes their life after the diagnosis as the “new normal,” and comes to terms with that fact that Bruce may never return to his pre-brain-injury self. “When the person can accept these changes and make use of adaptations where needed, he will find he can enjoy life—perhaps even more than before….”
Each chapter opens with an email that caregiver Laura sent to close friends and family, relaying Bruce’s condition and detailing his slow return to health. Laura matter-of-factly shares the timeline and details surrounding the months-long process of Bruce’s hospital and rehabilitative stays and the small but triumphant steps he makes toward recovery. Passages describing the same events, but written in Bruce’s voice, provide the unique vantage point of the patient. The support network of family and friends, including a daughter who is a nurse at the Shepherd Center where Bruce does his inpatient and outpatient rehab, help the couple make it through the toughest event of their lives.
The book provides tangible advice and resources for patients and caregivers to maintain their strength of spirit and body.
This inspiring account of caring for a loved one with a brain injury will help guide anyone in a similar situation.