Yucca / Skyhorse Publishing
Published February 17, 2015
Hardcover, 200 pages
Brainstorm is a first-person narrative of incidents leading up to, through and after a cerebral aneurysm and hemorrhage in the immediate family. The action includes the dramatic process ongoing in trauma centers designed to process sudden occurrence of aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage and morbidity. The American Medical Association estimates that 3% of all populations have aneurysm that may or may not leak—about 3½ million people in the U.S.
While the procedures and protocol for sudden onslaught are rote and fundamentally unchanged over the ages, hygienic and technological advances have reduced hazards. Death and debilitation statistics are still daunting, and Brainstorm factors a new component into the procedural mix, whereby a conscientious and healthy husband and wife seek participation in the process, to no avail.
But it's not just about a couple who is suddenly faced with a life-threatening situation. It's about the difficulty they encountered with the medical community that functions without dialogue in treatment, especially when it comes to understanding a patient's belief system, a fundamental step that should be, but is not recognized, as both a part of the treatment and the healing process. In other words, they decide what is best for you, without your consent, based on medical stats, the legal system and their experience.
I get it. Highly trained medical staff work hard to save lives, so thank goodness for brain, heart and orthopedic surgeons that can patch you together should you suffer a major car crash. But when it comes to giving a patient alternatives for treatment, the medical system is not trained to do this. It's only when persons like the Wintners speak up and refuse conventional treatment unless their questions are first answered and they fully understand what the treatment will do that the medical staff takes notice. But in the process they are labeled paranoid, uncooperative and ungrateful.
Robert and Rachel did not have support, and they fought to be heard. The memoir is written from Robert, or the husband's point of view, and his account is raw and honest. His writing is both poetic, cynical, humorous and above-all candid. He openly acknowledges his sense of helplessness, his pain in seeing his wife suffer, and the inappropriate actions brought on by his mental anguish and rebelliousness. I could only feel compassion and heartfelt understanding as I raced through this book, living these difficult moments with them.
I'm a staunch advocate of holistic and alternative medicine, my family having used homeopathy for years now rather than allopathic medicine. So I cheered this couple who practiced non-invasive treatments to fight illness, even cancer. I greatly admire the ground-breaking work of neurologist Norman Doidge, Barbara Arrowsmith Young and Dr. Gabor Maté, who have restored my belief in the power of the mind and body connection after I suffered from post-partum depression. Their work helped me find my way back to health and happiness without conventional drugs.
For all out there who are interested in bettering the medical community, who seek to be inspired to take control of their health or who are faced with a medical situation that requires significant medical intervention, this personal story will be eye-opening and touching. It took guts for the author to lay out a time in his life when he almost lost his wife. If the telling of his story can help others to take a better and a more courageous approach in shaking the medical community so that they listen, really listen to the patient, then it was a worthwhile endeavor for him, not just in the beauty of writing it but in the tour-de-force message it conveys.
Note: This book is rated PG-13 + M for a mature audience. There are some f-words, religious profanity and some crude language. Some real life scenes and death potentials.
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Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.