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How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

by

Abbie Johnson Taylor

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson Taylor
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In January of 2006, Abbie Johnson Taylor’s husband suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side. After months of therapy in a nursing facility, he returned home in September of that year. Although he still had little use of his left arm and leg, it was hoped that through outpatient therapy, he would eventually walk again. In January of 2007, he suffered a second stroke that wasn't’t as severe, but it was enough to impact his recovery. In August of that year, his therapy was discontinued because he showed no progress. He has never walked since.

The first five poems tell the story of how Taylor found her husband when he suffered his first stroke, detail events in the first few months afterward, and describe Taylor and her husband’s reactions. The rest of the poems in the first part were inspired by Taylor’s experiences while caring for her husband. Covering such topics as dressing, feeding, toileting, their relationship, and his computer, they often provide a humorous outlook. Some poems are from the husband’s point of view. Poems in the next two parts cover childhood memories and other topics. The last section of poems was inspired by Taylor’s fifteen years of experience as a registered music therapist in a nursing home before marrying her husband.

The Day My Husband Had a Stroke

It’s about a quarter to twelve on Saturday, January 28th, 2006.
I’m walking downtown where I’ll meet a friend for lunch.
Afterward, I’ll come home, finish laundry,
read a book, anticipate the spaghetti dinner he’ll fix later.
At four o’clock, I’ll listen to “A Prairie Home Companion.”
At six, I’ll meet others in my singing group at the Eagles Club
where we’ll perform for a wine tasting.
At seven, I’ll come home, expect to find supper on the table—
instead, he’ll be lying on the floor.
Our lives won’t be the same.

To read more poems from the book,
visit Abbie’s Corner of the World.

Book Trailer

 

Transcript of Trailer

One night will change two people’s lives forever.
(Visuals of an animated statue’s head crumbling to the left - this symbolizes the stroke and it’s damaging effect)
A happy couple will be transformed.
(Elderly couple sitting on the bench, we see their backs, the old man kisses the lady on the cheek)
In January of 2006, tragedy strikes
(Old man in pain, head down, about to have a stroke)
when Abbie Johnson Taylor’s husband suffers a debilitating stroke.
(MRI computer scans of the brain and skull as would be done post stroke)
Through pain and perseverance,
(Close up of hospital patient’s hand being held)
Abbie cares for her beloved,
nurturing and supporting him
(Picture of Abbie and her beloved husband)
during the ups and downs of recovery
(Elderly man being pushed in wheelchair)
and the aftermath of a crippling condition.
(Close up of elderly man being hugged and kissed on the cheek – we only see his nose and mouth so it doesn’t look like a different man)
Discover the heartbreak and the triumph in this very human story
(Close up of the couple holding hands – hands only)

Articles and Reviews

Casper Star Tribune-Sheridan woman finds strength in writing while caring for her husband

The US Review of Books

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