My inspiration for writing “Highs, Lows, and Plateaus”!

The brain is amazing and the strength and resilience of the human psyche is equally as amazing.  In writing this book, I hoped to provide a framework for understanding the stages and process of recovery to inspire stroke survivors and their families to move along the path of recovery. There will be highs, lows and plateaus.  It is a long path, but the resilience of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me.

It is not at all uncommon to hear a doctor or other health care provider tell families that most recovery takes place in the first six months.  That is true, but most of the swelling and irritation of the brain decreases allowing the brain to recover some function.  Also, in the first few months, patients tend to have the most intensive rehab.

Unfortunately, too many survivors are told that they have reached a “plateau” in their recovery. Often it sounds like a bad word – like something terrible has happened. Nobody wants to hear that they have “plateaued”!

This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy: “Since improvement is not expected, let’s not work toward more improvement.”

To this I say, BUNK!!  Our knowledge base has increased, the tools available for rehabilitation have proliferated, and our society has come to expect more.

A plateau is not a bad thing. A plateau is a point in the recovery when the nervous system has reached a stable state.  The nervous system is consolidating its’ learning and preparing for the next stage of recovery.

This book summarizes a series of lectures that I have presented for many years to health care professionals.  I have found that they listen with great intent but then do not share the information with the people who need it the most – stroke survivors and their families.  So, with in writing this book, I wanted to help people to understand the process of recovery and to provide them with resources to direct their own recovery. I wanted to engage the reader in a conversation, to empower them with information, and to provide hope and inspiration.

2 thoughts on “My inspiration for writing “Highs, Lows, and Plateaus”!

  1. It should be noted that there is another source of tools that is available to a stroke survivor that is frequently overlooked. This source, is the often talented and creative group of caregivers, family and friends, and in some cases even the stroke survivor him/herself. I have designed and built many items for my wife to use in her recovery. These range from standing frames, arm exercisers, vision exercisers and biofeedback systems. I am not unique, as there are many who can and will do these things too. Look around you, you might have someone close by.

    We live in a technological age, where not only professionals, but hobbyists too are engaging in designing and making useful things with the ready availability of motion sensors, software, virtual reality headsets, 3D games, the WII, Leap and Kinect, and common woodworking tools.

    There are lots of research papers available on PubMed that describe the use of these items in therapy. Your own therapist is another good source. There are also websites that are devoted to do-it-y urself projects. One might find something that they can adapt.

    It is very helpful to find a therapy professional or forum that you can bounce ideas off of. It might also keep you from attemping something inappropriate.

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