Transformed in a Stroke

A Memoir of Brain Hemorrhage and Recovery in the United States and Japan


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About the Book

In 2013, while visiting her sister in the United States, Laurel Kamada collapsed. Far from her husband, son, career, and home in Japan, she spent the next few weeks in a coma from a stroke that left a hole the size of a baseball in the center of her brain. In this multicultural memoir, Kamada writes about her years of recovery with a profound sense of grace, still seeing the beauty in her life while not shying away from its many struggles.

This five-part memoir addresses the basics of strokes; an East-West (Japan, U.S.) comparison of stroke, advice and help for the primary caregivers and families of stroke survivors, and lessons on how to improve systems of care and rehabilitation. Kamada also introduces networking means and advice to help stroke survivors, their families and friends, and professionals working in long-term care facilities, such as nursing and rehabilitation staff.

About the Author(s)

Laurel Kamada is a recently retired professor from Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on gender; bilingualism and biculturalism in Japan; race and ethnicity; (feminist) poststructuralist discourse analysis, and comparisons between Western societies and Japan. She lives in rural Japan.



Bibliographic Details

Laurel Kamada
Foreword by Edward Nudelman

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, appendices, glossary, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8604-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4382-3
Imprint: Toplight

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by the Author’s Brother, Edward Nudelman 1
Introduction 5
1. An Overview: “You are very lucky!” 7
2. My Stroke: Issues and Challenges 10
3. How Many Hours Does It Take? 18
4. Types of Strokes 24
5. A Stroke of Endurance: Double Survivor 26
6. A Stroke of Disruption: ­Near-Perfect Health Before the Stroke 39
7. A Stroke of Wonder: The Day I Went into a Coma, Entering a Parallel World 43
8. A Stroke of Grace: Waking Up After an “­Out-of-Body Experience” 48
9. A Stroke of Discordance: Challenges Regarding Institutional Meals 53
10. A Stroke of Cognizance: Differing Practices and Beliefs of Wellness and Healing 68
11. Physical Therapy in the United States: Pain Is Gain (A Stroke of Awe) 84
12. Physical Therapy in Japan 94
13. Some Specific Aids in Walking for Paralyzed Limbs 102
14. A Stroke of Disorientation: ­Post-Coma Illusionary Ideations … “I am not crazy!” 110
15. A Stroke of Dread: Horrible Travel Back to Japan and Nearly Being Incarcerated 118
16. Rebirth: I’m Back Party 124
17. A Stroke of Gratitude: Japan’s Care Manager System and My Recent Adjustments 128
18. A Stroke of Relief: Back HOME After One Year 132
19. A Stroke of Disempowerment: Through the Lens of Gender and Racism in Japan 138
20. A Stroke of Balance: Taking the Best of All Worlds 146
21. The Japan Model 149
22. Independent Accessible Rooms and Public Toilets 152
23. Conditions Conducive to Stroke Recovery 161
24. Smell the Roses 164
25. Conditions of Stress in Stroke 165
26. Current Status: Moving Forward 170
Final Words 176
Haiku of Completion 179
I. Good Practices in the United States (Harborview) 181
II. Good Practices in Japan 183
III. Safe Aids in Mobility—the Harness Walker 184
IV. Information and Networking Websites for Survivors 185
V. For Gardening Lovers 187
VI. Other Special Needs Equipment 188
VII. Facilities for ­Re-Walking (Project Walk) 190
VIII. Strategies to Walking Recovery 192
IX. Robotics Rehabilitation: ­Ekso-Skeleton Suits in the United States 195
X. My Personal Best of Walking (Distance and Speed) 204
XI. Poetry, by Laurel Kamada: A Calendar of Poetry and Haiku 205
XII. Messages from Others Around Me for Stroke Survivors 208
XIII. Selected Glossary 210
Bibliography 213
Index 215