Sunday, February 14, 2010

Look Up For Yes (1997)

by Julia Tavalaro and Richard Tyson

from Google Books:
One woman's passionate and articulate testament to the world that she is, indisputably, alive!

More than thirty years ago, Julia Tavalaro woke up from a coma to find herself almost completely paralyzed by two strokes that had also left her unable to speak. Suddenly, just thirty-two years old, she was a prisoner in her own body and a victim of the ignorant and cruel treatment of hospital workers who neither noticed nor cared that the "vegetable" they changed and fed every day was actually a bright and emotional woman. In this powerful memoir, painstakingly written with the help of poet Richard Tayson, Tavalaro details the hellish life she endured as a defenseless patient, angry and desperate to die, and the liberating actions of two therapists who took the time to realize that she was not incognitive but rather brimming with intelligence and life.

At last, Tavalaro managed to break through the isolation that imprisoned her. Slowly, methodically, she regained her ability to communicate -- aided by technological and therapeutic developments -- and began to compose poems that drew on the memories of her life before her stroke. Beautifully written and achingly heartrending, Look Up for Yes is a testament to a passionate and articulate woman who is ready and able to let the world know she is, indisputably, alive.

DJE: Similar to "The Butterfly and the Diving Bell" but darker and more powerful. This is the story of an ordinary woman who by luck was SAVED (after a fashion). Worth reading for neurologists, people who work in rehab, and anyone interested in the triumph of the individual over amazing odds.