What makes this second book different from the first?
Well, every brain injury is unique, depending on the specific circumstances and severity of the injury, and the need for immediate and long-term medical care, rehabilitation services, and the individual patient and family’s situation, so each TBI patient and family may experience similarities in the healing process, but ultimately, they will have their own journey, recovery, and experiences through TBI. My first book chronicles “our” story of hope and survival throughout the first year of recovery after our son sustained a TBI. What is special about my second book, in Unthinkable: Tips for Surviving a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury is that it is just the tips chapters from my first book which have been extracted and are now in a format all their own without my emotional story attached; but with the lessons learned on how to survive a child’s traumatic brain injury from a mother who has been there. Unthinkable: Tips for Surviving a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury is universal in its message to help guide another parent/caregiver through a child’s TBI and is a quick, easy read in a bulleted format geared for someone in the midst of tragedy, sharing a mother’s knowledge and experience from surviving this tragedy. There are also blank pages at the end of the book so readers can begin to write their own notes, their own story of survival and perseverance.
Will you give us an example of a couple of the kinds of tips in the book?
Well, I offer tips on how to navigate through the new terrain of an injured child. What friends should or should not do. How to transition successfully from the ICU to the rehab hospital. How to manage the move from the rehabilitation hospital to home. How to reintegrate a disabled child back into school and the community. How to sustain the rest of the family. How to ultimately cope and survive through the never ending care giving and care giving. Also, because TBI is such a heavy topic, one of my favorite tips is…try to do at least one thing for yourself everyday and to include humor in your life; watch old sitcoms (e.g. “I Love Lucy” reruns) or other silly shows.
Dixie, I understand you also received an honorable mention for one of your books in an awards contest. Will you tell us more about the contest?
After I decided to write Unthinkable, I needed to research everything I could about writing and publishing a memoir and ended up attending the Harvard Medical School’s Continuing Medical Education Course titled, “Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Nonfiction.” This course was life-changing for me. The knowledge, networking, and resources I gained from this course gave me the tools and confidence to write and submit the book proposal for Unthinkable, entering it into the trade category book proposal contest held in conjunction with Harvard Medical School’s Continuing Medical Education Course titled, “Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Nonfiction.” Most of the many applicants who submitted book proposals were nurses, doctors, or working in the medical world—I was ecstatic and honored to have been selected to receive an honorable mention for my book proposal and thus…I did go on to write Unthinkable: A Mother’s Tragedy, Terror and Triumph through a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury. And ultimately, Unthinkable: Tips for Surviving a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury.