Books

Kirkus Reviews Reviewed Concussion Is Brain Injury

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As I entered the creative halls of NaNoWriMo, Kirkus Reviews shot me an email saying the review on Concussion Is Brain Injury is done. Nervously, I clicked the link and read:

“A brush with a life-threatening accident spurs a writer to investigate the “hidden epidemic” of debilitating brain trauma.”

Nice first line! I like that they identify me as a writer. When I wrote my first book Lifeliner, people enthusiastically received it — as a one off. The idea that I would write more books seemed . . . well, foreign. But I now have several under my belt, and a mainstay of the publishing industry recognizes me as a writer. Cool!

“In this revised version of her original 2012 publication, Canadian novelist and biographer Jeejeebhoy (Aban’s Accension, 2013, etc.) enhances the text with expanded personal detail, creating an immersive, multifaceted memoir.”

I noticed they chose the second novel I wrote as the one to name. I wondered why, then remembered that was the last one I published in paperback. Makes sense. The etc. is weird but OK. I mean, the number of words is limited; better to have the words go into the review then listing all my books!

I read on and came to —

“The author painfully describes the toll that her injuries took on her relationship with her husband, Mistral; her panic at losing the ability to read; and other cognitive impairments.”

I was temporarily confused over the name. Memory kicked in. Oh yeah, I gave everyone pseudonyms and, as usual, had fun with names when I did.

“Desperate to return to her normal life, she became intensely motivated to find a reason and resolution for her injury through determined research and treatment alternatives.”

Yup, they got that right. I was desperate. Very desperate.

“She’s uniformly candid when writing about a year of devastating setbacks, which she says felt like “a massive plough that trenches through your established networks.””

It’s been seventeen years, almost eighteen (gulp), since I was the person who would never have been this candid. Even this year, as I wrote these scenes, I wondered about it. It’s one thing to write it; another to put it out there. But it’s done, and I just hope that it makes a good difference in other people’s lives.

“Toward the end of the book, she delves even deeper into the scientific neuropathological data of her treatment plan and further developments of her “labyrinthine recovery.””

Another memory hiccup and then, oh yeah, based on everything I learnt, I put forth a theoretical treatment program for brain injury, since rest and strategies aren’t treatment, and a reading rehab program that would do more than make people settle for the new-normal of crappy, effort-full reading; it would hopefully restore a significant amount of reading skill.

I got to the final summing up and read it, holding my breath.

“Perhaps overly expository for casual readers, but the intricate details of the author’s experience are riveting and enlightening.”

OK, OK, first part maybe a little bit of a downer, but the main point — wow! Reading that was an upper. My mother was very very pleased!!

Read the entire review of Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me on the Kirkus Reviews website here. Or just go straight to Amazon and purchase it!

And if you would like to support my writing, please consider becoming a patron. I’m on Patreon, the website that lets ordinary people do the extraordinary action of supporting the artists that they love.

Books

Week Five PZ Brain Training and Concussion Is Brain Injury Update with a Side Order of Scrivener

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I’m entering the August/September fatigue-drums. Deadlier than the doldrums. Perhaps good timing that my health care professionals are all taking vacations. Sequentially, not simultaneously, of course! Tsk. But at least my schedule will be quieter. Bwahahaha! What am I thinking?! The universe always finds a way to cut into my quiet time.
Anywho, not much to report during week five training: relief the moment I began training gamma brainwaves at CZ. Not sure why. Maybe because the training is something familiar, something I can do, something that reduces emotional stress not increases it, like so much of my life does. And during PZ training to reduce 16-20 Hz, the back of my neck softened. From the first gamma enhancement training, I tried to sit up straight during the training neurofeedback screens and physical pain and rigidity in the back of my neck blared their presence. But the moment I began PZ, I couldn’t feel the tightness. Was I suddenly not able to sit up straight? Perhaps it was the same change in muscle tone I’d begun to experience in previous sessions that had lead to me being able to turn my head easier and more naturally. The last change occurred during the second PZ screen: my visual acuity improved — my vision cleared up. I experienced maybe slight head straightening and the smallest increase in colour intensity. But colours had already stayed pretty bold, to me, from the previous weeks.

My memory has been recovering in the last week or so. I’d felt like I’d lost it just over a couple of weeks ago after one of my other medical appointments. It wasn’t directly correlated to that appointment, but I had to wonder.

On a different memory note, I received the layout for the paperback version of Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me. I experienced a worrying lapse in memory — I thought I had composed and put in the little comments under section titles while I was working on the ebook format. But there they were in the paperback format. Um . . .

My brain trainer, whom I’ve kept updated on my progress reminded me that all I was working on with the ebook was copying the text from WORD into Scrivener and then formatting. No content edits! Phew. But really, this is why when people take a long time to get back to a person with a brain injury, they get a tad anxious. This is why when you’re working with a person with brain injury you can’t let much time lag before you return the work or provide feedback. Try continuing to work on a project you have no memory of and maybe you’ll understand why scheduling and sticking to it is essential. And why memory failure can erode a person’s confidence and lead to having to relearn something that had just been done. And why that is tiring!!!!

Anyway, I had to trust my brain trainer and my own common sense that I wouldn’t muck about with the content. I kept going. And got it done and back to finish the layout.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to use Scrivener for Windows to create the ebook, thinking it would make ePub and mobi publishing easier. Hah! It’s taken me several days, a couple of support requests, endless perusing of old blog pages on how to do images over the past month, until this past weekend, I discovered that Scrivener doesn’t apply an image class style to images but defaults them to body text. Body text has a tab indent on the first line. Guess why my images are all shifted over and cut off on the right side? Uh-huh. Dumb. Bonus part: they don’t know their software does this. I’m going to have to tell them.

So with fatigue crawling up my ass, I went with the quick and dirty workaround: Shift-return to force it on to the second line where there is no tab indent. It adds a line space above, and in iBooks an empty page because iBooks is old and stupid. Yup, I’m frustrated. But just as I’m thinking I’m sailing now, I discover Scrivener for Windows (not Mac) strips out Scrivener links when exporting to ePub. thud
Let me pick myself back up. Another support request. But I’m probably going to have to go into Sigil and hand-code the bloody internal links. At least I sort of know how to create links in HTML and copy and paste the appropriate code so many helpful people have posted. Just gotta google. When I have some energy.

Books

Concussion Is Brain Injury: Legal Files Fact Checking

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Well, I thought I was done. And then my lawyer’s office emailed. My legal files were there, ready for my fingers to walk through them, my eyes to pick out from among the bazillion copies of the bazillion medical reports, the memos, letters, undertakings, discoveries, police notes, and motions I needed to fact check against the scenes and chapters involving my insurance company and the tort claim (lawsuit) against the drivers who lovingly gave me my brain injury with mighty bangs. I’d already fact checked against my own documents and phone records, but my lawyer #3, the one I implicitly trusted and knew had my back, had information I never saw — nor wanted to at the time. Too overwhelmed just trying to make it through the day, back then. (Well, too often still am.)

As I’d hoped, my personal property — the claim from the 1991 crash, which gave me severe whiplash — that lawyer #2 had borrowed and never returned to me, was also there. Because no one came with me to meet lawyer #2, and because I thought lawyers did what they said, he was able to tell me to bring stuff just so he could get the full picture and then keep it. No one was around to advise me to make copies and give him those. And even if I was able to form that thought on my own, I had neither the energy nor the initiation to act on it. Moral: the only time a person with brain injury should meet with, hire, and work with a lawyer on their own is when the lawyer is completely trustworthy, like lawyer #3 was.

Anywho, legal files are heavy! Not just thick. My muscles protested the next day. And the next. And the . . . I guess I was so focused on finding what I needed each day, I ignored my muscles until I could hardly move from soreness. I went for a walk to work out the stiff and used my low intensity light therapy to get rid of the soreness. But there was nothing I could do about the grief that rose up like a tsunami when I found specific evidence in the drivers’ Discoveries and licence reports that the last driver to hit us was bad, so bad I have just realized that the force of her impact into all of us was probably what made my brain injury severe. The unbelievable part was that in her Discovery she was totally oblivious that she was admitting to careless, thoughtless, selfish, stupid driving and speeding. She answered the questions as if not noticing the car in front of you until he slams on the brakes is normal, as if plowing under the boot of a small car had nothing to do with speeding, as if slower speeds could cause her car to have the worst damage of all our cars. I could see no remorse, no sense of responsibility in her Discovery or the police field notes. The first driver who hit us at least had the decency to ask me at the roadside if I was OK and still remembered years later in his Discovery that I was bawling at the time.

If there was any true justice and any concerted effort by insurance companies and government to reduce the carnage on the roads (aka licensed murder), their Highway Traffic Act, section 130, ie, careless driving charges would have been convicted, and her licence would have been revoked. Permanently. But as Global News reported on recently, the way drivers charged with careless driving are treated is a joke. People are murdered by car and people like me destroyed with impunity.