YOU'VE GOT SOME NERVE The Battle Back From an Invisible Injury Derryen Plante Lioncrest Publishing (208 pp.) ISBN: 978-1-5445-0930-3
In this memoir, a woman conquers a broken system that nearly crushed her.
Plante’s book could have been entitled Twenty Seconds Changed My Life Forever, which is how the young former prison worker depicts a horrific beating by an inmate that left her invisibly, yet indelibly, scarred. Few people under the age of 30 have experienced enough to write their life stories, but the attack and its aftermath eclipse what most folks may encounter if they live to be 100. Her vivid descriptions are in a gripping you-are-there style (The inmates “started walking themselves to their rooms. They, too, were all too familiar with the drill. Click, click, click, the doors locked behind them. Except that last door never clicked”). The engrossing work reflects the author’s courage and persistence in a recovery process so demoralizing that she contemplated suicide as she battled with traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, PTSD, and partial loss of vision and balance. From childhood, she had dreamed of working for a law enforcement agency. She was offered two positions with state prisons and chose the juvenile facility because she wanted to help misguided youth. One Saturday night while she was working in the high-risk male unit, an inmate, without warning, mercilessly pummeled her. A staff member paired to work with her stood behind the inmate, merely waving his arms. His inaction—and even more so, his indifference—struck a nerve in Plante and seemed to inspire the title of this illuminating book, as did her handoff from one medical provider to another. No one seemed interested in helping her until she was assigned to a case manager named Donna. Infuriated to discover that the proper diagnostic tests had never been ordered, Donna forced the issue. A surgeon finally made the correct diagnosis and relieved the author’s searing migraine headaches by removing a nerve in her head. Plante emerged on the other side and found work as a state revenue agent. (She is now a principal revenue agent.) The author met with her attacker, accepted his apology, and forgave him. Three years after the assault, she wrote her chilling story to throw a solid lifeline to other trauma survivors and to educate their caregivers. This stirring, instructive memoir should especially appeal to readers interested in criminal justice and traumatic brain injuries.
A riveting account of an injured prison worker’s harrowing road to recovery.