Book Review

 

Helpless, Not Hopeless

HANDIRhAP

By Kit Morrison

 

Reviewed by Lin Wisman

 

 

StrokeNetwork member Kit Morrison has written two books. The first, “Helpless, Not Hopeless,” was copyrighted in 1994. The second, ”HANDIRhAP,” was copyrighted in 2000. I mention the dates because Kit suffered his stroke in 1985. As a long term Stroke Survivor, he has much to offer.

 

The first book tells the story of his strokes and early recovery. The strokes were the result of brain tumor surgery. He thought he was going into the hospital for the beginning of a month long journey to remove a tumor and return to his life. The lemon size tumor was removed, but soon he suffered 2 brain stem hemorrhages. Rather than returning to his life he had to create a new one.

 

The books tell the story of learning to live again. “Helpless, Not Hopeless” includes excerpts from his wife’s diary. There are many events that Kit does not actually remember. The struggle of building a new life was in front of him. He relied on his own planning ability as well as a strong family and set of friends.

 

Included is the story of transitioning to new employment. The tale of learning to work again with his disabilities is a heartening one and shows the complexity of learning to fit in, not only physically but also as a significant part of a work team.

 

He describes his first airplane trip after the stroke – a visit to Washington DC. The trip included visiting his brother, sightseeing and a chance to meet President Reagan.

In the book he explains well the experience of limitations and the planning necessary to participate in events.

 

“HANDIRhAP” tells of story of learning independence again.

 

In this book he explains his childhood and how it was preparation for his stroke. In particular a fall from a tree, which put him in traction and a long slow recovery, was his first experience of having a physical event change his life.

 

In February of 1995 his family moved from Seattle to a nearby island. They were able to build a home, which directly addresses his needs. He finds that his independence has increased.  For example, he finds it easier to use public transportation.

 

His decision to continue with activities, which further improve his condition, is inspiring. As with many stroke survivors there came a time when the medical system gave up, that was in the form of refusing additional therapy. Kit on the other hand did not.

 

Included in this book is a testimony to the added independence a computer offers. Although handwriting was difficult, the computer offered a way to expand communication. He includes a chapter where he talks about his decision to volunteer and the rewards it has brought.

 

The books can be summarized in his included poem.

 

Life

Life is different,

After a stroke.

So, I learned,

Once I awoke.

 

Hard work & therapy,

Helped me the most.

The progress made,

Was reason to toast.

 

Disabled…with wheelchair,

The rest of my life.

But, quality of living,

Thanks to my wife.

 

I viewed to get better,

It became an obsession.

Can I eliminate these strokes,

With a simple golf lesson?

 

If you have questions or comments or would like to order the books, contact the author, Kit Morrison, at Bookskit@cs.com.

 

The books are available direct from the author. Separately the cost is $10.00 each plus $3 shipping and handling. Or order both for $15.00 plus $5 shipping and handling. The snail mail address is 16307-115th SW, Vashon Island, WA  98070.

 

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