Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blood Feud (2011)

by Kathleen Sharp.
Book Review on Center for Medical Consumers web site.
While this is a recurring theme, Blood Feud tells a story we all need to be reminded of. Big PhRMA is about profit not patient good. The point is: caveat emptor. The public is at risk when drug companies fight for market share.

An African proverb holds that "when elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers." This is underscored by the struggles of PhRMA giants Amgen and Ortho-Johnson and Johnson to capture the market share of Epogen and Procrit.

Blood Feud is a sobering story. A similar tale was told in "Pain Killer: A Wonder Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death" (2003) by Barry Meier that deals with Oxycontin.

This book is a thorough expose of many of the dirty tricks played by PhRMA as it pursues is goals of profit over patients' well-being. No one is allowed to stand in PhRMA's way..

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dignifying Dementia (2011)

Elizabeth Tierney’s (E.T.’s) new book, “Dignifying Dementia” is an important addition to the literature of Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders. It is the chronicle of a patient, Jim Tierney, as told by his wife, E.T. The book recounts Jim’s slow, steady decline from being a vibrant productive teacher and administrator to a totally dependent patient with Lewy Body Disease. Memorably, it addresses the many disconnects between the patient and his family and the health care community. No segment of the latter is untarnished. E.T.’s struggles to identify health care providers for her husband are frustrating and sad.

“The psychologist offered us chairs but never smiled… I couldn’t believe how unfriendly he seemed.” A neuropsychiatrist, when asked by E.T., “What should I do?” responded, “Don’t buy a boat of a 10,000 square foot house.”

Eventually, after much effort, E.T. assembles a caring team that treats Jim with dignity and, indeed, love. Most people would not have had E.T.’s persistence and moxie. Perhaps, that is one reason why so many dementia patients wind up in nursing homes.

Illness narratives fall into three categories: quest, restitution, chaos. Chaos is the least commonly written and the hardest to read. It may also be the most important, the truest type of pathography. Dignifying Dementia is mostly a chaos story, with an admixture of restitution made possible by the team of carers that formed around Jim. It is a memorable book that will help all of us who will be called to care for vulnerable individuals suffering from the varied forms of dementia. Order from Amazon. Kindle is only $3.99

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Grieving the Death of a Pet (2003)

by Betty J. Carmack
From Publisher's Weekly: ""Rocky's loss taught me how deeply we grieve for our loved animals, the intensity of pain and the length of time it can last," writes Betty Carmack, a nurse and professional pet loss counselor. In Grieving the Death of a Pet, Carmack draws from her experience of counseling more than two thousand people who have lost a beloved pet, as well as the loss of her Rocky and other furry friends. She offers the book as a kind of pet-loss support group to counter "a world that reminds us repeatedly that grief for an animal doesn't count as much as grief for a person." It's poignant and sometimes heartrending, filled with personal stories of love and loss as well as Scripture and thoughts on faith"