If you’ve lived long enough, you know what it’s like to experience hardships. But perhaps none greater than a severe physical impairment, like from a stroke. Whether you’ve experienced it yourself or you’re caring for a loved one praying all hours of the night for their recovery, its physical, emotional and cognitive effects can be devastating for the sufferer as well as their loved ones, who are tirelessly doing everything in their power to nurse them back to health.
More than one-third of stroke survivors know the agony of post-stroke depression. If there’s anyone who truly empathizes with this psychic pain, it’s David M. Hinds. Hinds — a former stress management consultant and a two-time stroke survivor who has also lived through two divorces — has a message for patients and caregivers touched by the soul-sucking, paralyzing torture that manifests from a stroke: “Everyone can overcome and see improvement, no matter what age you are.”
He writes this in his new book, “After Stroke,” a follow up to his acclaimed self-help book, “Beat Depression.” Though it may feel like you’re alone, you’re in good company. This hopeful book is a step-by-step guide to getting better for all survivors of this terrible disease that affects 15 million people every year.
In the same fashion as any kind of recovery from an illness or injury – it’s a process. Hinds outlines patience, perseverance and positivity as the three P’s to getting well. Depending on the severity of the stroke, partial recovery, in the least, is possible, if not a full recovery.
Despite the emotional roller coaster experienced by the patient — anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness — “the struggle to get better is well worth it,” he urges. This coming from a man whose stroke more than 20 years ago paralyzed one side of his body forcing him to wipe the drool from his mouth after he had temporarily lost control of his lips.
In this upbeat book with succinct chapters, Hinds provides sufferers and caregivers with an inside look into the science behind a stroke’s affect on brain cells as well as recovery tips for patients that include proper sleep positions, lifestyle changes, various holistic therapies such as aromatherapy, massage, meditation, relaxation techniques (think a mental exercise involving a beach paradise) and plenty of laughter.
Apart from using his own epic story as a prime example for recovery, Hinds also cites the case of actress Patricia Neal – whose stroke in 1965 from a brain aneurysm severely impaired her mobility and speech – shocked the media when, three years later, she proudly walked onstage at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
Hinds’ words of wisdom that he attained from hardship coupled with his caring narration will make readers smile with every turn of the page. The reader will also learn useful tips on what Hinds hopes will be a long, productive, character-building road to a complete recovery. The stroke patient is, after all, “not a victim of the disease, but a survivor.”
A seasoned journalist and editor, I've written for the weekly division of the North Jersey Media Group covering municipal government to arts and entertainment. Currently, I serve as the editor of DiningOut New Jersey Magazine and a correspondent with TAPinto.net.