Sunday, October 13, 2013

Until Tuesday: A Wouned Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him ~ Review

“Until Tuesday,” is the story of Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, who served in the Army for seventeen years and who was deployed in Iraq during that time.  The way he expresses his thoughts about life, the military, Iraq, being wounded, survival and recovery are honest and truly compelling.  His sheer determination to live a meaningful life is remarkable.  Learning how to navigate this some times crazy world with a Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ain’t no easy task.  Luis is a survivor and a remarkable human being.  And his relationship with Tuesday, who gave him back his heart, is awesome.

“Until Tuesday,” should be required reading for anyone who works with people with a TBI or PTSD.  This book would be a great comfort to anyone who is struggling with their own recovery and it would help those who love and care for them as well. I think anyone with a heart or even a broken heart would be glad they picked this book up and read it.  I didn’t want to put the book down.  And I didn’t want to read it too fast either because I didn’t want it to end.  I highly recommend, “Until Tuesday.” 

Amazon Book Link for Until Tuesday

I really enjoyed reading this book because it was well written and honest.  And I also enjoyed it because so many of my own experiences were mirrored in what Luis shared.  Though my TBI and PTSD were caused by a serious head on car crash and not the battlefield; still, the anxieties, fears and endless compensations and avoidances were the same. It was easy for me to attribute my difficulty being a passenger in a car, especially the passenger front seat position, to PTSD.  But what I realized was that in my case, symptoms crept in whenever and wherever I felt vulnerable.  Often having nothing to do with being in or even near a car.  The scars that were left by the people who were supposed to be looking out for me when I was at my most vulnerable, who took advantage of my inability to think is what damaged me the most.  

And to understand that some times the scars that are the deepest have nothing to do with the ones that can be seen was a realization that really hit me when I was reading, "Until Tuesday."  I found a tremendous comfort in this.  In the way Luis shared this.  And I realized, I'm not alone.

I was talking with my sister about this and explained PTSD like this, before the accident, before the terror of seeing a car coming around the bend, speeding and hitting us head on in a couple of seconds, I could assess life.  I was alert but not alarmed.  Thinking clearly but not protectively.  Protectively being different than paranoid.  Since the accident I am more at a state of alertness going straight to alarm.  An actual threat does not have to be happening, just the possibility of a threat needs to be on the horizon and my heart is racing.  I find it more challenging to process what is happening around me.  I often decide to change my direction and do something different because talking myself through what I perceive to be a potential threat takes too much talking! 

I am most productive in the quiet of my own home and prefer not to interact with people, unless I know them and feel safe with them.  Then I'm fine.  I had two Akitas before Coco, my service dog and I felt safe at home.  But leaving the house was a real problem.  Even to empty the garbage or check the mailbox I did at times of the day when I wouldn't see anybody.  Unless I needed to go to the grocery store or there was something I needed to buy I didn't like to leave the house.  And it got even worse after my second Akita died.  With Coco we go anywhere and I'm okay.  And the added bonus that I never considered was how friendly people are.  Most of the time I stop and if they want to pet her I release Coco to greet them and we have a nice visit.  I have met so many nice people that I never would have talked with had it not been for Coco.  It was this part of Luis's story that also intrigued me.  Reading about how his relationship with Tuesday developed was really beautiful.
So yeah, I really enjoyed this book.  But you don't have to have a brain injury to like this book.  It is a beautiful story of dedication, commitment and love that will touch anyone's heart.  It just happened to touch mine in a very personal way and I'm really grateful for that.

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