Nonfiction Book Award Status: Gold
When an occupational therapist suffers a massive stroke while attending a wedding in her native England, she can’t believe it. Janet Douglas emerges from coma weeks later in a hospital in Chicago where she had worked as Director of Occupational Therapy. Her left side is totally paralyzed, her eyesight impaired, her memory and identity lost. Trapped in the present she finds herself speaking German, a language she had barely spoken since high school. With no understanding of the severity of her condition, she resists therapy, believing that she doesn’t need it. Despite all odds, she returns to her high-powered job only to find herself cast adrift by a corporate reorganization. With time on her hands she carries out her own research to find out how damage to one specific part of the brain affects behavior. From the perspective of therapist and patient Douglas explains with clarity and humor, the impact of stroke, how it makes the simplest tasks difficult and how the visible disabilities it causers are just the tip of the iceberg. Join Douglas on her decade long quest to recover and forge a new identity where she can enjoy family, work and travel.
An occupational therapist specialized in the treatment of hand injuries at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London, Douglas worked for the World Health Organization before moving to the United States of America. She was Director of Occupational Therapy education at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago before earning a master’s degree in public health. She then joined the world’s largest human resources and risk management firm where she served as principal, managing director and global practice leader. Douglas has written three text books. This is her first memoir. She and her husband live in Riverwoods, Illinois where they enjoy the company of their children, grandchildren and pets.