Flowers and Brain Injury – Ruth Ann Bartels Finds Hope and Beauty Again

“A mother’s worst nightmare.”

Those are the words so often used to express a mother’s greatest fear that her child will die or be seriously injured. For Ruth Ann Bartels whose child survived a severe brain injury, she lived with this nightmare as she sat by her daughter’s bedside fearing her death. Then came the questions of what her life would be like if she survived.

Ruth Ann Bartels knows what it is to have a child seriously injured.

Ruth Ann Bartels knows what it is to have a child seriously injured.

Her book is aptly titled, Honey I Smell the Flowers. She explains that these were the last words she spoke to her husband as they were traveling to warmer climates for their winter vacation. That was just before she got the phone call that her daughter Michelle had been badly injured in a car crash and was in an ambulance. The following days, weeks and months brought emergency trauma care, hospitalization, grueling rehabilitation, and endless appointments with specialists and therapists.

A mother’s journey through brain injury

The title chosen by Bartels reflects the journey of this mother – and so many other families – to find hope and beauty again after witnessing the devastation that brain trauma can cause. Not only is there the physical trauma, but there is the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and social changes that can be so bewildering and frightening that many families question, “Who is this person now? What will her life be like – and our lives?”

Bartels has retraced her journey – and that of her daughter and her family – by going back over the many notes, questions, comments and journals that she kept during that time of medical treatment. Drawing on her personal experience with the emotional trauma of brain injury as a parent and her background as a medical technologist, she has written a book that is designed to inform, guide and support families through this difficult journey of brain injury. Written in an informative and engaging style, she packs it with practical tips such as “Things I wish I had known” as well as an appendix decoding medical terms.

This book is simply a terrific resource for families, hospitals, and libraries. Nurses and therapists will also learn from this book and be prompted to examine how they can better communicate and support families.

Honey I Smell the Flowers is available on Amazon. Buy Now

3 responses to “Flowers and Brain Injury – Ruth Ann Bartels Finds Hope and Beauty Again”

  1. Tracy Johnson says:

    BTW I AM THE SURVIVOR OF AN MVA 1990 @ AGE 20 GLASCOW SCORE OF 3 LIFEFLIGHTED FROM FAYETTE CO TO GA BAPTIST HOSP (NOW ATL MED.CTR) SPENT 5.5 WEEKS IN A COMA, 12 DR.’S, BROKEN L.HIP, TWO BROKEN KNEES (SEVERAL PLACES/EACH), LACERATED LIVER, BUSTED SPLEEN, BLEEDING BRAIN, LOST OVER 37 PINTS OF BLOOD AND STILL COUNTING LOST COUNT, BROKEN PELVIS, FEMUR HEAD, FEMUR BONE THRU LEG LONG RIP IN SKIN BONE THRU LEFT LEG, TEETH KNOCKED OUT AND MAJOR HEAD TRAUMA!

  2. Tracy Johnson says:

    I am spologetic if that was harsh friend. I just mean You are only ONE experience and I do Not mean to diminish your Survivor story by no means at all. I just know there are so many millions of other Survivors that have such similar and facinating information to share as well that I feel you are Not SPEAKING AND INCLUDING FOR EVERYONE. YOU CAN NOT TELL EVERY TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY SURVIVOR’S STORY. IT IS TOO COMPLEX. IT IS EXPERIENCED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS ONLY. YOU ONLY CAN BY BOOKS AND KNOWLEDGE ALREADY OUT THERE.

  3. Tracy Johnson says:

    I have not yet read this. I am very interested, indeed. I too share in this Survivor story myself. We share the experience and the miracleous recovery as well. I do have ONE question before i go ANY further. How can YOU SPEAK FOR ANY ONE SURVIVOR OR DETERMINE WHAT IS SET OR A STANDARD FOR A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY? THIS CAN NOT BE MEASURED ON ANY SCALE AS OF YET. YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS ONLY LIMITED AND THE REFERENCE MATERIAL YOU HAVE AVAILABLE IS LIMITED TO THIS DATE. I am only trying to suggest to you that you are only educated and experienced to your own experienced level of injury.

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