Sarah Nickerson lives in the affluent Boston suburb of Welmont where she leads an extremely busy and hectic life. Along with her husband Bob and their three children: Lucy, Charlie and Baby Linus, they don't have much time for family togetherness. Sarah is Vice-President of Human Resources at a large firm in Boston and Bob's job is facing many lay-offs and he's hoping he's not next. Without both their incomes they wouldn't be able to continue living in the affluent neighbourhood that they do now.
One day while driving to work, in a hurry as usual and about to be late for an important meeting, Sarah begins talking and texting on her phone and takes her eyes off the road for just a second too long. She rolls her SUV and crashes!
Sarah wakes up in the hospital and discovers she's already been there for eight days and the news about her injuries are not good. Sarah has a traumatic brain injury called Left Neglect which is also known as unilateral neglect and hemispatial neglect and is a REAL neurological syndrome that occurs due to damage to the right hemisphere of the brain. People with Left Neglect aren't blind but their brains ignore information on the left side of the world, often including the left side of their own bodies. Sarah has to learn to re-walk, feed herself, read, and do all the activities of daily living that we take for granted.
Although the story is fictional, the Left Neglect is REAL!! There are more people than you and I know that have been afflicted with this particular brain injury. Could you imagine waking up every morning and not being aware that you have a left hand, a left arm, a left leg, that there are words on the left side of the page you can't see or your brain doesn't register? Can you imagine, for one moment, how frustrating that would be?
As the story continues, Sarah spends a few weeks in rehab and is then sent home where her mother comes from Cape Cod to help her with her continuing therapy. Sarah and her mother had not spoken in many years after her young brother, Nate, died when they were young children. Sarah's mother huddled in her bedroom and was never a mother to Sarah after Nate's death and Sarah regrets her showing up now after all these years. However, through rehabilitation for her brain injury there is also another type of rehabilitation taking place between Sarah and her Mom, but they don't quite see it yet.
This was an outstanding novel and one which kept me reading late into the night. I'm so fascinated by this Left Neglect that I'm going to look it up on the internet and learn more about it. This is a story for everyone!
January 21, 2011