Can they really publish a picture book in less than a year???

I came back from my retreat this weekend to find the cover of My Grandpa had a Stroke (yes, they changed the title from When Grandpa had a Stroke to My Grandpa had a Stroke…but that’s okay. In fact, I think My Grandpa had a Stroke sounds better. WHEN Grandpa…implies that everything is all better now, which it isn’t…so, thank God for creative editors and marketing people who can come up with better titles than I can!).

I needed help from my husband and son to convert an e-mailed pdf file into something I could post here (how do some people just KNOW this stuff???), but here it is:

I like it! I like the color scheme…I like the style…I like the little glasses that are way down on Grandpa’s nose (which you probably can’t see on this image).

The only thing I wasn’t sure about is the placement of Grandpa’s left arm. That arm is paralyzed from the stroke…just like my dad’s. But my dad’s arm is really tight (this one looks pretty relaxed). It’s bent at the elbow and stuck against his chest in this weird contortion that most people wouldn’t be able to physically duplicate even if they wanted to. But it’s been seven years since my dad’s stroke. I don’t remember whether his arm got that way over time or if it was always like that. I don’t need this book to mirror my father’s experience (a lot of it doesn’t), but I’m checking with a physical therapist to make sure the illustration wouldn’t be inaccurate.

By the way, my father has been taking part in an experimental therapy — hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This is the preferred treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning, but it’s pretty new for stroke patients. The literature is really positive, though. My father has had pretty poor quality of life…he’s in a nursing home with very little hope of ever returning home. But he’s seen some improvement with this therapy. He can now take his right hand and move his left arm — he can even set it in his lap (like in the cover picture of this book) and it’ll stay there. He hasn’t been able to do that in seven years. The last time I spoke with him on the phone he said he felt like he could almost move that arm by itself. That was the best phone conversation I’ve had with him in a long time — most of our conversations consist of me babbling at him and him MAYBE grunting at me in response, but maybe not, for about five minutes until he cuts me off with a “thanks for calling,” and then drops the phone.

11 thoughts on “Can they really publish a picture book in less than a year???

  1. I think the arm in the cover image looks too normal. People I’ve known who’ve had strokes resulting in paralysis either have the contorted arm you mentioned, or it kind of hangs there and the person lists to the side.

    The other thing I’ve noticed is that the affected hand often is closed, like in a fist, often very tightly. Sometimes you’ll see that person holding onto a wad of gauze or a rubber ball. The point is that person can’t let go.

  2. Jennifer is somewhat right. A person does have a tendency to lean to one side but you mentioned in your book that they had worked on balance and sitting so if he regained his sitting balance then this picture is accurate. Also for someone who has a flaccid arm from hemiplegia, it would most likely be in an arm rest which attaches to the side of the wheelchair and is inclined upwards with a place where the hand can be spread out and rest. The “holding onto a gauze or a rubber ball” is for someone that has increase tone or spasticity, as this is not your case with grandpa given the description of the type of stroke that you provided in your story.

  3. What I forgot to say in my mutterings about what stroke victims look like is that this cover image is lovely — I like how the artist has captured the relationship between grandfather and grandson, and you can see that even though grandfather is now in a wheelchair, that they can still do things together they once enjoyed, like fishing; it just takes more work.

    Does that sum up what the book is about, Dori?

    P.S. The colors are also beautiful.

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