Stroke Victor: How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor, by Bob Mandell. Creative Projects International. 256 pages. Trade paperback $16.95.
This marvelous self-help book is likely to save or extend a lot of lives. However, its central focus is enhancing the quality of life for those who have undergone life-changing illnesses or injuries. While the information and advice is primarily for stroke victims, Bob Mandell’s guidance can be applied to many different situations in which recovery from a disability is sought.
The author’s personal story is the engaging and inspiring trunk and branches of the book. On these branches Bob Mandell has hung the fruits of what he has learned.
For me, his most widely applicable piece of advice is the need to take responsibility, to question, to be an aggressive patient who challenges medical personal and especially conventional wisdom. Passive people are likely to be buried by their insecurities, by medical care bureaucracy, and by accepting what’s immediately available or convenient rather than what is best for their recovery and rehabilitation.
You have to fight to discover the best information, the best hospital, rehab facility, and medical expertise for your needs. You must be willing to take educated risks.
However, Bob Mandell also knows that you can’t let an aggressive stance turn into adversarial relationships with those whose help and experience you are seeking. Make friends on this journey to well-being. Don’t turn people off.
Another crucial piece of advice is the mantra “one step at a time.” People whose expectations are too ambitious (unrealistic?) are likely to be disappointed and fall into despair. They will lose heart and may never make progress. Set attainable goals and work hard to achieve each. With others, develop a plan that is consistent with your condition at the starting line so that you can reach the finish line of restored vitality and functionality.
Forty-four brief, zesty and often humorous chapters (plus four appendixes) help create the feeling of “step-by-step” conquest over the stroke or other debilitating condition from which you need to rebound. You need to make and keep your commitment to practical interim goal-setting.
Bob Mandell writes in an almost breathless style, underscoring his points via strong section headings, outline technique, boldface emphasis, and a kind of question and answer dialogue. Most important is his use of italicized passages that reveal what Bob was thinking at different stages of his own recovery and rehabilitation. He admits to and shares his doubts and dilemmas along the way. No one should think that anything less than tough-mindedness and hard work will bring the results you desire. No one should think there won’t be setbacks. . . .
To read this book in its entirety, as it appears in the July 15, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and in the July 16 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Stroke Victor