Striking Back at Stroke: A Doctor-Patient Journal

Overview

At age 43, Cleo Hutton awoke to a frightening and completely unfamiliar world. In the prime of life, she experienced a devastating stroke. Suddenly unable to speak, understand, or even walk, Hutton found herself struggling first to survive and then to regain her physical skills and her independence.

Striking Back at Stroke is Hutton's personal journal during this trying time, detailing her hard-won success rebuilding a life in ruins and overcoming difficulties she never imagined...

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Overview

At age 43, Cleo Hutton awoke to a frightening and completely unfamiliar world. In the prime of life, she experienced a devastating stroke. Suddenly unable to speak, understand, or even walk, Hutton found herself struggling first to survive and then to regain her physical skills and her independence.

Striking Back at Stroke is Hutton's personal journal during this trying time, detailing her hard-won success rebuilding a life in ruins and overcoming difficulties she never imagined confronting. Using a tape recorder and a notebook by her bedside where family, friends, and hospital staff could write messages, Hutton kept a record of the day-to-day emotional, physical, and financial trauma of her condition. Hutton's account of her experiences is interwoven with medical and scientific commentary by Louis Caplan, M.D., who explains Hutton's case in terms of what scientists and doctors have come to know about strokes. He documents in a clear, concise manner what actually happens before, during, and after a stroke—as Hutton in turn lives and documents her experience. Caplan also focuses his observations on how the medical system served her, as well as on the shattering effects a stroke can have on the families of patients.

Both authors give valuable advice—about home care, emotional support, and physical recovery—from the frontlines of the battle against stroke. These two wise and experienced voices make Striking Back at Stroke a wrenching and inspiring personal story as well as an indispensable guide for anyone enduring the cataclysmic changes that a stroke can bring to a life, a family, and a sense of self.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Writing with Caplan, chief of Stroke Service at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Hutton, a journalist and former nurse, offers this self-help guide for stroke patients. Hutton writes from her own experience as a woman who suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 43. Having kept a journal throughout her life, Hutton was determined to continue after her stroke-but first she had to re-learn to speak and write. Combining Hutton's journal entries with Caplan's response to and explanations of them, the book presents a kind of dialogue-a format that nicely suits the material. In one diary entry, Hutton explains a sense of confusion that prompted her to go to an emergency room: "I have a sharp, constant pain behind my eyes, and I find it difficult to focus my vision. The left side of my body is heavy...." Caplan responds, "Strokes... seldom occur out of the blue without cause or warnings." He then advises how to communicate these symptoms to doctors, and explains the types of stroke. Both author and doctor write in ancompassionate tone and thoroughly explain each step of a stroke, from its causes to rehabilitation. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The third-leading killer as well as the leading cause of disability in the United States, stroke is not limited to older people; Hutton was a 43-year-old mother of three when she experienced her first severe stroke, leaving her disabled and unable to communicate. Although she had been a nurse, she didn't recognize the warning signs that had begun five years earlier. This book is a joint patient-doctor account in which Hutton and neurologist Caplan alternate voices, with Caplan contributing solid medical information and Hutton recounting her personal experiences before, during, and after her stroke. Caplan explains the two types of stroke and clearly describes how, depending on the location, they can affect the brain. He also explores the physical, mental, and personality changes that can occur. Hutton, meanwhile, powerfully conveys the emotional and financial impact that the stroke had on her family, revealing that her husband broke under the strain and ultimately requested a divorce. Families and caregivers of stroke patients should read this work for its medical expertise and coverage of the emotional issues. For most consumer health collections.-Janet M. Schneider, James A. Haley Veterans' Hosp., Tampa, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780972383011
  • Publisher: Dana Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Cleo Hutton, a licensed practical nurse, has published articles in the American Heat Association/ American Stoke Association's Stroke Connections and the National Stroke Association's Stroke Smart magazine, and she lectures around the country about stroke recovery and awareness to stroke survivors and their families. She is writing under a pseudonym to protect the privacy of her family and, as she says, because "I am only one of hundreds of thousands of stroke survivors every year."

Louis R. Caplan, M.D., is one of the nation's leading clinical researchers in the field of stroke and the author of the American Heat Association Family Guide to Stroke Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Ch. 1 Brain Attack 1
Ch. 2 Stroke: The Battleground 31
Ch. 3 The War of Rehabilitation 53
Ch. 4 Heart Surgery and Wrestling with Rehabilitation Again 99
Ch. 5 Homecoming 133
Ch. 6 On My Own 167
Ch. 7 Gaining More than the Stroke Had Taken 181
Afterword 193
Appendices 223
Index 235
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2006

    The Ultimate Survival Journal

    This author talks about strokes & rehab & is extremely informative. The best 240 pages I've read in my entirely life. I actually met her on Tuesday, July 8, 2003. Look up the word survivor in the dictionary & you'll see Cleo Hutton's photo! Superb book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2003

    Striking Back as a Team

    'Striking Back at Stroke' by Cleo Hutton and Louis R Caplan, MD is an unusual book about stroke. Most publications cover either the stroke survivor's story or a medical explanation of stroke. The book combines the two. The first part of each chapter is from Hutton's diary. Through it we are able to learn the survivor's perspective. The second section is Dr Caplan's medical explanation.   Hutton experienced an ischemic stroke in 1992. The book starts with the experience of TIA's, beginning five years before the stroke. Even though Hutton was a nurse the TIA's did not register as a danger signal. The book also covers the event, rehabilitation, and reflections on what she has gained. In addition to standard early rehabilitation techniques, and therapies Hutton devised, her recovery included surgery to correct a hole in her heart.   Caplan's chapter on diagnosing stroke damage and designing a treatment plan is particularly enlightening. He explains the tools of CT and MRI scans as well as the role of history, learning the patient's experience of the stroke and discerning what abilities the patient has lost. He states that physical abnormalities can develop after the strokes first occurring. He also describes other tools used to discern exactly what happened. These details can inform stroke survivors and their families.   Hutton shares the thought processes, which helped her cope. She documents what it is like to be a hospital patient. Stroke survivors will find themselves identifying. Medical personnel, families, and caregivers will benefit from her perspective.   The psychological effect of illness is covered. Of special interest is discussion of the role of other patients. It was very powerful to see others struggling to improve.   Hutton also explores the role of serious illness in forming a better person. She found herself learning to be a survivor. The key was looking to the future rather than the past. One key element was deciding to attend college. At first she saw it as a coping mechanism. It ended as a goal. She graduated and started a business.   The explanation of factors effecting stroke recovery is successful in showing how multifaceted stroke can be. Hutton's story is a success. She realized that when her official therapy ended she was not through with rehabilitation. Hutton found herself designing therapy.   Reflection on the stress stroke puts on families is included. Families do not receive training in how to relate to stroke survivors. Everyone must take the journey to look toward the future rather than the past.   Dr Caplan's medical observations are extremely helpful. He explains what is happening at each stage from a clinical perspective. Those who have experienced stroke will find answers to some questions.   The book concludes with advice from both authors. Hutton's focus is on what is needed for the survivor to recover to their fullest possible potential. Caplan's remarks focus on current stroke treatment and future trends. This book is highly recommended for everyone in the stroke family. Hutton and Caplan both share insights which all will find helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2003

    A travel from ashes to redemption

    ¿Striking Back at Stroke¿ is a wonderful journey from the abyss edge through rising and accomplishment. Cleo Hutton suffered several stroke events that took her liberty and independence. Soon, the sentence ¿Why me?¿ was replaced with an enormous willing to fight back and recover what a bad working heart had stolen from her. This book is not only a diary of Cleo¿s falling and rising. It is also a very detailed dialogue between the patient (Cleo) and the doctor (Caplan). Louis Caplan, a well-known neurologist, explains step by step all the mixed emotions and physical constrains Cleo felt during the healing process, from the first symptoms to all the long rehabilitation process. A long process of physical and psychological discomfort is described in front of our eyes, promptly commented by Caplan¿s important observations. This is an essential book for doctors, caregivers and patients. So that in the future we may have more stroke patients rebirthing from ashes to triumph. And more doctors following Caplan¿s example, that is, explaining in an accessible language every detail of the disease and recovery process. The format of this book would be an example to follow in many other clinical cases. (Paulo J. Oliveira, PhD. Post-Doc Fellow Researcher in the Center for Neurosciences and Cellular Biology of Coimbra, University of Coimbra, Portugal)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2003

    Utterly Fascinating

    I was privileged to read the pre-publication manuscript. Never has one person overcome such a crushing series of personal tragedies and bounced back to become a major player in rebuilding their life. Uncontrollable tears to rage to boistrous laughter will compel a cover-to-cover single sitting.

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