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Book Review: Unthinkable: Tips for Surviving a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury by Dixie Fremont-Smith Coskie

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Following her own child’s harrowing traumatic brain injury Dixie Fremont-Smith Coskie wrote a highly acclaimed book which emotionally and passionately documented her nightmarish journey as mother and caregiver. In that book, Book Review: Unthinkable: A Mother’s Tragedy, Terror and Triumph Through a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury, published in 2010, each chapter, written with deep emotion, is concluded with tips for coping and participating throughout the process. It was these rational tips that offset the unbridled emotion in that first book.

In the Introduction of her new, follow-up book, Unthinkable: Tips for Surviving a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury, the author has excerpted these tips to create a concise yet thorough caregiver’s companion. Coskie’s priceless experience makes this book a valuable resource for dealing with an unthinkable, life-changing event for which none of us is ever prepared.

Coskie presents her tips in ten sections. The first group of tips addresses the steps and components of preparedness. The advice offered in this section is not unlike that which is generally recommended for any medical emergency. But the reader is cautioned not to assume that brain trauma events are like other medical events. Section Two, “Traumatic Event,” will abruptly and jarringly dismantle that false assumption. And from that point forward, the reader will be riveted by information that might make some readers simply give up and set the book aside.

But read on we must if we, our child and our other family members are to have any chance at all of surviving one of the most horrific and unthinkable occurrences that can befall us. Not only should primary and secondary caregivers and other family members read this book, so should doctors and medical services providers involved in the process.

Each section of tips following Section One continually startled me with relentless “slaps in the face” of reality. But I feel blessed for having had the opportunity to read the book and I am grateful that Dixie Fremont-Smith Coskie had the strength and passion to share her experience and lessons learned. Otherwise, who would have known?

(Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views.)


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  • I come from the other side of the fence Dixie. I too had a traumatic brain injury, and can’t imagine what my loved ones, friends, and family were thinking! Of course, it’s sad and you feel bad for the survivor, but I don’t think survivors really know how our support group feels. Just like our support group doesn’t know how being the survivor feels! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying one is worse or harder to get through that the other. Hang tough, be there for your child! Also, remember that TBI at a younger age (under 13) is “more survivable” than at an older age, cuz the brain is still semi-plastic and more apt to deal with sudden changes.

  • One thing is certain—traumatic brain injury changes lives. Thanks for your words of hope and hoping all the best for YOU and your loved ones.

  • Katrin

    I’ve read this book and it’s amazing on so many levels. It truly is heart wrenching–I cried multiple times– and yet it’s filled with hope and determination that lifts your heart. Thank you Dixie, for sharing this unbelievable journey and helping others not feel so alone.

  • Katrin, traumatic brain injury is heart wrenching on so many levels…but never, ever, give up. I came to appreciate the simplest of things—when my son was able to blink his eyelids, lift his finger, utter a word — you are not alone… I’m here cheering for you along your journey as well!

  • James J Cupero

    awesome blog, thank you and keep the informative posts up!