Ever since entering the rehab hospital, I’ve been hearing about “Stroke of Insight” from almost everyone. It is virtually the only book that the staff recommended to us. Early on in my rehab, it was too much for me to try. So my wife read it long before I did and she became a fan. I’m glad that I finally read it and I think that it’s a valuable resource for stroke survivors and their families.
You can imagine the unique opportunity presented to Jill Bolte Taylor – As a brain scientist, she got to experience a stroke first-hand. She has the background to put her stroke experience into context and explain how the brain is affected both physically and functionally. It’s like having a guided tour of some remote and inaccessible jungle. As laymen, we just sit on the boat and ooh and aah at all the pretty birds as we float down the jungle river. But Jill Bolte Taylor can explain the significance of their colorations and how the birds contribute to the jungle eco-system.
It’s also very useful to have someone from the medical establishment experience a stroke. Doctors can only guess what a stroke really is like since they’ve never experienced one and technology doesn’t yet exist to accurately simulate a stroke. Hearing how a stroke victim is reduced real life is much more meaningful than a list of medical conditions expressed in scientific terminology.
And, while her background and expertise adds much value to the book, any book describing the experience from a survivor’s perspective is valuable in itself. It’s another way that survivors can learn that they aren’t alone and that there is hope for a fulfilling life after stroke.
During rehab, I always felt rushed; if I didn’t do such and such right away, I was condemned to a life of pain and misery. It was reassuring to read that recovery takes time and that Jill Bolte Taylor was still recovering after 8 years.
I was also very worried by how much I slept and was worried that there was something wrong with me. “Stroke of Insight” reassured me that I wasn’t unique and that others also needed significant amounts of sleep during recovery.
Probably the biggest thing that I learned from “Stroke of Insight” is that we are not the wiring in our brain. We can choose to accept the thoughts our brain produces or choose not to. Our mind lives in our brain but it isn’t our brain.
I highly recommend this book to all stroke survivors, their caregivers and families. Your stroke experience may not be like hers and I doubt that you’ll consider a stroke as a gift, but you’ll learn more about strokes and how one person successfully survived a stroke.