Top positive review
Good Lord, what could she or her editor or ...
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2017
This book has just almost everything you'd need to make some more sense of the lousy situation you find yourself in after suffering "a concussion, also called a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)." Why did I put that phrase in quotes? You might wonder. Because EVERY. SINGLE. CHAPTER. Contains that same phrase--those EXACT words. It gets really old to reread it 18 or more times, almost always within the first paragraph of EVERY chapter. Good Lord, what could she or her editor or the publisher possibly be thinking? Just too lazy to edit it from a series of articles? thinking it's going to be used as individual articles? Whatever the reason, there's really no excuse.
She does the same thing with her "Alternative Medicine" section... In. Each. Chapter. The woman really likes Bach Flower Remedy. I don't have any objection to this, but part of the apparent heft of the book comes from endless repetition.
Here's what she needs to do for the next version:
-An introduction, where she can say that a concussion is also known as a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, or mTBI. (If you're not familiar with the term, mTBI is basically a concussion/brain injury in which the patient either did not lose consciousness, or lost consciousness for less than an hour. It's an arbitrary cutoff which does basically nothing to help describe your state, so no point in repeating it ad nauseum.)
-A chapter on alternative medicines, where she can talk about acupuncture and herbal remedies, and, especially: Bach Flower Remedy.
I also fault her for getting a bit confused between facts (scientific studies that come to conclusions based on evidence) and what she seems to think. I'm all for alternative medicine, but I'm not remotely interested in what some unknown practitioner says is good for something. I am even less interested in what she has to say if she can't cite sources. One definitely gets the impression that Bach Flower Remedy is good for EVERYTHING. ANYTHING.
I'm not interested in expensive placebos, which may or may not work for me as a placebo.
At the other end of the spectrum, the author has apparently done a lot of research. Which sometimes comes across as lists of semi-useless information. Again, some of the heft comes from this stuff, which seems really impressive at first glance, but loses a bit of weight when considered against the backdrop of modern medicine for the average, non-wealthy patient. Sure, you can get a brain MRI. But is any physician going to order that? Probably not in your situation.
For the most case, if you're really, really lucky, you will
a) get to an ER. Likely, someone will take you there, because if you're only concussed, you are likely to tell everyone you're just fine (even if you have a welt like a quarter of a softball on your head, and road rash all over your face, and spilling thick globs of blood onto the sidewalk and your clothing. You had other things in mind that day, and a concussion--with its potentially long-term effects--A YEAR OR MORE IF YOU'RE OLDER, OKAY? GET READY--does not fit into your plans for the day, much less for the "week or two" that the ER is likely to tell you, because the medical profession, generally, still doesn't understand common brain injuries.)
b) Get good advice from the ER (which includes, FYI, spending the next several days or a week in a dark room with no sounds, no work, NO ELECTRONICS, trying not to think.and sleeping as much as possible, because that is the only way you'll get better. But it will still take a long time, especially if you've ever had any head injuries in the past.
c) Get a CT Scan.
d) And a follow-up appointment in a few days, to ensure that your brain isn't bleeding (which can easily mean that you'd die suddenly). In some cases, you might get another CT scan to follow up, either in 3 days, or in 3 weeks (which is honestly a bit late, if you do have bleeding in the brain).
e) a referral to a neurologist. Go out and get one if you weren't given a referral. A neurologist can explain an awful lot, and you will most likely discover that all the weird shit that's going on with you, which could include: mood or personallty changes, dizziness, headaches, ear ringing, inability to concentrate, getting lost on the way to places you definitely know how to get to, EAR RINGING AND HEADACHES--did I mention that??--vertigo, weird-ass speech issues (random word substitutions coming out of your mouth, or an inability to come up with common words.. or ANY words), vision problems, some of them pretty damned subtle at first, like a lack of straight lines in your life or a lack of binocular vision. NAUSEA. Vomiting. Memory and cognition problems. Can't remember, can't forget, repeating yourself, cannot remember what you came into this room for, confusion, depression BECAUSE IT ACTUALLY SUCKS SO MUCH, and NO ONE believes you, no one can relate to your constant need to talk about your injury, your bewilderment, your despair, your sudden need to do nothing and become a hermit. Your new fear of whatever caused your injury or was remotely related to your injury (in my case, sharp corners everywhere in the world Damned terrifying.). You might walk like you're drunk, fall into walls (really great, when another brain injury could potentially kill you). Extreme sensitivity to light and sound (WHY can't people set plates down GENTLY, or not clank all the dishes down so loudly, or talk so loudly, Exhaustion. You'll get sleepy after the burden of trying to figure out the tip on your dinner bill. APATHY.
f) Referrals to other specialists and therapies: speech, occupational, neuropsychology, physical theraphy (for vertigo, whiplash, etc); a rehab optometrist (no, sadly, no maknig that up.) You will get sick of medical appointments. You will get overwhelmed.
g) Insurance coverage. This can be an expensive injury.
h) empathetic, compassionate, patient, friends and lovers.
The list could go on.
You will find some great information in this book. You'll find a spark of recognition, which will go something like this: Holy Crap, are you kidding me?? Or: This Book Understands Me. Oh, God, Thank you."
Some of the books resources will be very valuable. Don't get me wrong. I like the book. I think it could be greatly improved, but it's one of the best (or maybe the very best) resource books out there. One other issue in the book is that while some of Stoler's stories can be really helpful and relatable, some of them are her own personal business, and many are told with a cold sense of superiority, laced with a subtle or not-so-subtle version of "and by the way, you need a professional like me! I do phone consultations too!" "My contact info is in the back." (It's another oft-repeated phrase, so it comes off a bit self-absorbed.)
Finally, let's face it: who among us has a doctor who can or will check in with you or has endless time to consult with you? So why does yet another phrase get repeated endlessly: check with your doctor (about every little thing? Seriously, that's not going to happen for most of us.
That's why we want a book like this. So we don't have to check in with the doctors about every little thing. And your doctor may not have heard of some of this stuff.
So get the book if you need some help. Get some good people in your life if you can. And buckle in. It's going to be a bumpy ride. (For the people around you too, if you're lucky enough to have that!)