In this memoir, author Nancy Bucceri describes traveling for a new job, only to receive a call while waiting at the airport that changed her life: Her husband Bob had had a stroke while on a business trip of his own. In the series of blog posts that compose the book, Bucceri details the winding path from survival to recovery and beyond.
Bucceri covers a lot of territory in this slender book, from the initial emotional shock she and her family faced to the daily, sometimes hourly, adjustments she made as Bob’s situation changed. Her struggles with her insurance company are especially notable. Despite having a section of his skull removed and being placed in a medically-induced coma, Bob regains consciousness and is meeting or exceeding all benchmarks for recovery. Yet the family struggles to get insurance approval for therapies that would help him heal faster. Instead, he’s placed in a nursing home where he falls while getting out of bed, an event that could easily have killed him had he merely bumped his head.
In spite of this and other frustrations, the family remains positive and focused. Bucceri often signs off her blog posts with “Semper Avanti,” a slogan a friend shared with her that means “always forward.” To that end, Bob is given a “stretch goal” of speaking at a business conference in the fall. An epilogue marking the one-year anniversary of his stroke reports that he’s not just speaking at events but coaching Little League and tackling many other challenges. The book closes with a list of strategies Bucceri used to cope with Bob’s injury— tips that any caregiver will find useful.
Bucceri’s writing is unobtrusive, which serves the story well, and the narrative is breezy, funny, warm and family centered. Despite the subject matter, Semper Avanti is an entertaining read, one that offers insight and comfort to anyone who has been in Bucceri’s shoes or might one day end up there.
Also available as an ebook.