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Crossed Signals
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Crossed SignalsCrossed   Signals
Caroline   Courey
  2001, 193 pages
Order   Info:CC Books; ISBN: 0968563317
  $13.95 American
  Reviewed by
Cheryl   Johnston M.S.W., R.S.W

Free   Preview: Chapter 19

This   novel begins with a citation that prepares the reader for a journey into uncharted   territory. With a diagnosis of MS hastily and coldly delivered by telephone,   the Lambert family departs on a chaotic ride through shock, anger, fear, and   confusion. The author, a single mother who has lived with MS since 1992 and   developed the Personal Power workshop in Montreal, convincingly depicts the   tremendous impact of such a diagnosis on the patient and family. Familiar themes   emerge-withdrawal of the spouse into work, family secrets kept from young children   in an effort to protect them, resurfacing of past hurts under the strain of   chronic illness. The teenage daughter, by default, attempts to maintain the   family while her parents struggle to adjust to their new reality. Although her   strength as she proactively seeks out information on MS seems a bit overblown,   professionals will recognize the adolescent's desperate need to understand   as well as the burden often insidiously accumulated by children. While following   the story of this family's journey towards acceptance and a new sense   of control, through relapses and inevitable crises, the reader is educated about   the unpredictable course of MS. The danger arising from failure to communicate   about emotional and spiritual issues is graphically portrayed.

  This book, with its thought-provoking and often inspirational quotations beginning   each chapter, is written in an engaging, readable style with accurate descriptions   of the symptoms and challenges of MS. The information presented is candid although   there is little reference to possible cognitive changes with MS. While the author   alludes to the issue of progressive disease, the story clearly is about living   with relapsing-remitting (here called relapse-remission) MS. Learning to live   well with MS, Ms. Courey illustrates, becomes easier with counseling and peer   support.

  This short, soft-cover novel is a welcome addition to the sparse literature   available on MS, which is likely to appeal to teenagers. This reviewer believes   that it will be a valuable tool for professionals to use in facilitating clear,   honest communications within families around the many challenging issues of   living with MS. Students and healthcare professionals could benefit from the   reminder of the necessity for compassionate communication and support. Ms. Courey   challenges all to recognize the power of hope as well as the tremendous strengths   of our MS patients and families.

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About   the Reviewer:
  Cheryl Johnston M.S.W., R.S.W.
  Optimus Program- Foothills Medical Centre-Calgary Health Region
  Social Worker

Bio: Cheryl Johnston   M.S.W., R.S.W, has spent 15 years as a Medical Social Worker in hospitals in   Calgary.

She devoted 16   years parenting her 2 daughters and community volunteering, before returning   to the field of social work.

For the past 4   years, she has engaged in the provision of social work services to MS outpatients,   their partners and children, while working with the interdisciplinary MS Rehabilitation   Team allied with the MS Clinic in Calgary.

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