Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Traumatic Brain Injury: Her Personal Story

"Your brain has never been in more danger than it is right now," warns the author as she begins a true literary journey to hell and back.

Why am I featuring a book whose contents have no bearing on UFOs in this blog? Well, first of all, I volunteered to edit the book, Brain Jolt: A Life Renewed After Traumatic Brain Injury for Jo Ann Jarvis, RN, DHM, a medical professional whose knowledge extends far beyond that of many others in her field.

Aside from that, I also want to mention this book because it's a little different, timely beyond disturbing, and Jo Ann lays out a story that nobody should have to live. Unfortunately, she did, and her descent into a depressing world of horror began the day she experienced what some would call a minor auto accident. Trouble is, it wasn't minor at all. As the driver behind plowed into her car at low speed, the effect nevertheless caused an instant, traumatic jolt to her brain that changed her mental abilities and transformed her into a different person, unable to comprehend even the simple things with which she had been accustomed throughout her life.

Jarvis's resultant problems, to say the least, involved apprehension and mental torment caused by attempts to deal with her health insurance company, with state officials and with the very medical system for which she had served long and honorably. She became a stranger to her own family, spent hours alone in her bedroom for months and even lost her best friend during her ongoing ordeal.

Eventually, only because Jo Ann finally encountered medical personnel who understood the effects of brain trauma and its potential invisibility to conventional testing, she slowly lifted herself back to a real life -- changed forever, but able to cope once again and to return to providing health care to others. She also claims more than a little help in recovery from a source the reader may find surprising, a source encompassing the spiritual realm and something beyond that.

Jo Ann Jarvis's story is not only remarkable, but told just as thousands of U.S. military personnel return with severe injuries, including a high number with traumatic brain symptomatology. Aware of this, she cautions us that the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries can hide from conventional testing while intimately affecting the victim and everybody around them. Trauma does not require a "direct hit" to the head from an object. A nearby explosion or any event sending a strong concussion wave through the air may produce substantial injuries.

Through her story, the reader acquires an entirely new respect for the human brain's magnificence, as well as its penchant for emotional disaster when tragedy strikes deep inside where modern medicine might not discover the damage via modern means.

This is the second edition, tightened up and expanded from the first released several months ago, now with a homeopathic index added for those working in the field.

While this is definitely not a book instructing the reader to abandon current physicians and care, it is intended to inform those affected with or by traumatic brain injury what to expect and how to manage the resultant social, emotional and internal struggles, which can indeed be quite scary and overwhelming. The quagmire of obstacles hiding out as rules and regulations, set forth by insurance companies, workman's comp and the medical industry itself can appear extremely intimidating to both patient and family, as Jo Ann Jarvis learned under the worst of circumstances.

I wouldn't have helped edit Brain Jolt if I didn't think the author had something to say, and were she not writing from personal experience. Of course, as editor I can't properly review it because I'm obviously highly prejudiced. However, because I have no financial stakes at risk here, I think I can say in all fairness that this should be a most welcome book for those families, other laymen and medical professionals who wrestle with the horrors and frustration of traumatic brain injuries. May it provide comfort for those afflicted, and an education to those charged with providing therapy and guidance to brain trauma individuals.

Brain Jolt may be ordered from several sources, but might be easiest to order through lulu.com, the publisher. I believe the price is $23.96 for this expanded edition.