The Defiant Mind #Thursday Book Feature

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke

by Ron Smith

Copyright 2016.


In this memoir, Canadian author and publisher Ron Smith describes what it was like for him to have and recover from a stroke. He starts by describing, in great detail, the day he had his stroke in November of 2012. He then discusses his hospitalization and recovery: how he re-learned to eat, walk, and perform other personal care tasks and how he developed friendships with his roommates and other patients in the hospital.

Because of his determination and by some miraculous twist of fate, he was able to go home for Christmas that year. He describes the period After that when he went through several more months of outpatient rehabilitation, then tried other treatments such as acupuncture and massage therapy.

Throughout the book, he describes the love and support from his wife and other family and friends he received during his recovery. He explains how not being able to eat right after the stroke triggered memories of a trip to Europe fifty years earlier when he nearly starved to death. He shares other memories brought on by his experiences after the stroke. He quotes other sources of information about strokes and provides a bibliography at the end of the book.

Having been a caregiver to my late husband Bill, who suffered two strokes, I agree with many of the points made in this book, including the fact that the system often gives up on stroke victims too soon. In Mr. Smith’s case, he only had about six months of rehabilitation before he was left to fend for himself. With Bill, therapists claimed he’d reached a plateau two months after his first stroke. When I brought him home, we tried two outpatient facilities. They both gave up on him after a few months. I don’t know about Canada, but part of the problem here in the U.S. is that Medicare and other insurance programs don’t cover therapy if progress isn’t being shown. There’s no coverage for therapy to maintain the strength you have once you reach a plateau. So, unless you can afford $70.00 or more per session, you’re out of luck.

I wish Ron Smith’s book had been around when Bill was alive. Maybe if Bill had read it, he would have been inspired to write about his own experiences, with my help, of course. I’d suggested it to him, but he hadn’t been interested. So, after he passed, I wrote My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, which is available from Smashwords free until the end of the month. I hope those who read both books will be encouraged, if they’ve suffered a stroke, or if they haven’t,  be persuaded to do all they can to prevent one. As Bill once said, strokes are no fun.


My Books


New: The Red Dress: A Novel

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.


My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to purchase My Ideal Partner from Smashwords absolutely free!

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Sunday Best: Garage Door Update

In a post earlier this week, I explained how a truck crashed into my garage door. On Tuesday afternoon after that post went live, I finally received a call from the insurance adjuster for the truck’s driver. He asked me to email him photos of the damaged garage door and an estimate.

On Wednesday morning, my friend Christine Valentine, who did the cover and profile pictures for my poetry collection, That’s Life, came and took the desired photos, one of which is below. While she was doing that, the owner of the day care center next door came out and apologized for the accident. She said she sent a notice to all parents, saying they are not to park in my driveway while dropping off or picking up their children. She told me that if I spotted any more cars in my driveway, I was to let her know. Chris suggested getting a NO TRESSPASSING sign and offered to pick one up for me at Home Depot the next time she was there.

This looked a lot worse after the accident happened, but the driver and the policeman straightened it as best they could.

Miracle of miracles, later that morning, I received the estimate from Roll N Rite, a company that installs and repairs garage doors. A contractor had come the day before and told me I would need to replace the garage door. I emailed his estimate, along with Chris’s photos, to the insurance adjuster. When I spoke to him on the phone the day before, he told me to wait 48 hours afterward.

On Friday afternoon, when I hadn’t heard back from the insurance adjuster, I called the company and was told they hadn’t received my email message. The gal who answered the phone suggested putting only the claim number in the subject line and sending the photos and attachment in separate messages, since their server could only handle so many megabytes of data per message. Why hadn’t the guy I’d talked to a few days earlier told me this, I wondered. Oh well, there was nothing to do but send everything again, this time in two separate messages. Friday night, another insurance agent called and told me I would be issued a check for the full amount of the estimate.

What’s the best thing that happened to you this past week? Please tell me about it in the comment field. I hope something good happens to you next week, and maybe by then, my new garage door will be on its way.


Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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