Second Lives: The Journey of Brain-Injury Survivors and Their Healers (Paperback)

Second Lives: The Journey of Brain-Injury Survivors and Their Healers By Ralph B. Lilly, M.D., Diane F. Kramer, Joyce Stamp Lilly Cover Image

Second Lives: The Journey of Brain-Injury Survivors and Their Healers (Paperback)


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“Discharged from a hospital just means you’re not dead.” These words of Ralph B. Lilly, M.D., describe his early struggle to recover from a traumatic brain injury. Lilly was a forty-four-year-old practicing neurologist sitting on his motorcycle at a red light when a drunk driver rear-ended him in 1980. In the ICU, after regaining consciousness and being told what happened, he asked, “What’s a hospital? What’s a motorcycle?” This tragic experience transformed his life and his approach to his neurology practice: doctors treat those with brain injury; but loved ones heal them.

Second Lives: The Journey of Brain Injury Survivors and Their Healers is written by Dr. Lilly and Diane F. Kramer. After his death in 2021, Kramer completed the book with the assistance of Lilly’s wife Joyce Stamp Lilly. This memoir weaves together Ralph Lilly’s experience with a collage of stories about his patients and their healers. After his recovery, Lilly retrained in the emerging field of behavioral neurology, which focuses on behavior, memory, cognition, and emotion after brain injury.

His clinical skills and expert witness testimony were sought by physicians, survivors, families, and attorneys to secure the best “second life” for survivors. His many patients marveled at his uniquely compassionate approach: “What doctor gives you his cell number and says call any time?” Lilly’s pioneering career spanned forty years from Brown University’s Butler Psychiatric Hospital in Rhode Island to Nexus Health System and private practice in Houston, Texas. He treated ER and hospital inpatients whose loved ones were in acute quandary, as well as outpatients who’d long given up finding a doctor who knew how to help. Lilly’s memoir is full of heart, not science, and will provide insight to general readers, family, and friends of patients with brain injury, as well as those who treat them.

His narration is unintentionally poignant, often punctuated by wry humor. He generously incorporates the words of his patients and their families in telling their stories. Their gratitude for his care is profound. As one former patient said, “Without Dr. Lilly, I’d be dead or in jail.”

A neurologist for over half a century, Ralph B. Lilly, MD, suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1980 that led him to study how brain injury affects behavior. He was a clinical assistant professor with Brown University and the University of Texas and a behavioral neurologist with the Neurobehavioral Institute in The Woodlands, Texas. He focused his life’s work on treating brain-injury victims and counseling their families. Until his death in 2021, he lived in Washington, Texas, with his wife,Joyce, three dogs, six cats, and two horses.

Diane Kramer retired from the counseling and psychology departments of Austin Community College in 2008 and began writing essays, family histories, and fiction. As a volunteer with the Brenham Animal Shelter, she wrote a weekly column on animal welfare for The Brenham Banner Press. Her writing has also appeared in Alamo Bay Press anthologies and blogs Peace through Pie and Drash Pit. She currently writes website copy and press releases for Brenham Lifetime Learning and the Read of Washington County. She lives with her husband and their rescue dog and cat in rural Texas.

Product Details ISBN: 9798986407852
Publisher: Stoney Creek Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2023
Language: English

“These are remarkable stories of both disaster and courage. They are told in people’s own words and the story of Dr. Lilly’s recovery from his own brain injury is riveting. I urge you to read this valuable, extraordinary book.”—Paulette Jiles, News of the World