Delores Beecham, a Californian in her sixties, wrote Brain Surgery and Recovery From a Patient’s Point of View to share what she learned after undergoing two surgeries after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. While there are many typographical and grammatical errors in her story, Beecham’s writing style is colloquial and endearingly guileless.
The book is organized into twelve short chapters of insights and advice that mostly state the obvious; Beecham offers very little useful information that can’t be found on a prescription bottle or hospital handout. For example, in the chapter on medication, Beecham writes, “You will probably be prescribed medications, at least one. The directions will be on the container or vile [sic] follow the directions precisely.” And in the chapter written for family and friends of the patient, she writes, “Be sure to wear something comfortable because your wait is going to be very long and tiring.”
She also includes pockets of good advice that, though common and straightforward, bear repeating, and does an exemplary job of sharing these priceless tidbits. In the emotionally packed time around a brain surgery, both the patient and their loved ones may overlook something as simple as bringing a book or knitting to the waiting room, or forget that a hug and smile are often all that is necessary when visiting a patient after surgery. Beecham includes dozens of these observations that redeem the shortcomings of the book to some degree and make it a potentially helpful gift.
The final chapter, which contains Beecham’s dramatic and minutiae-packed account of her own ordeal, from first headache through full recovery, is the most interesting section of the book. Her story is fascinating because it is so normal. One can easily imagine oneself coping with the experience as Beecham did, from the agony of waiting for test results to the frustrating details of juggling insurance, work leave, and family visits.
The book sports a light-blue cover with an eye-catching illustration of the brain; unfortunately, the white type on the blue background is a bit difficult to read, especially on the back cover.
Brain Surgery and Recovery From a Patient’s Point of View is a sincere if poorly executed addition to the medical self-help shelf.