Saturday, April 26, 2014

Now I See You (2014)

June 24, 2014
At nineteen years old, Nicole C. Kear's biggest concern is choosing a major--until she walks into a doctor’s office in midtown Manhattan and gets a life-changing diagnosis. She is going blind, courtesy of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and has only a decade or so before Lights Out. Instead of making preparations as the doctor suggests, Kear decides to carpe diem and make the most of the vision she has left. She joins circus school, tears through boyfriends, travels the world, and through all these hi-jinks, she keeps her vision loss a secret.

When Kear becomes a mother, just a few years shy of her vision’s expiration date, she amends her carpe diem strategy, giving up recklessness in order to relish every moment with her kids. Her secret, though, is harder to surrender - and as her vision deteriorates, harder to keep hidden. As her world grows blurred, one thing becomes clear: no matter how hard she fights, she won’t win the battle against blindness. But if she comes clean with her secret, and comes to terms with the loss, she can still win her happy ending.        

Told with humor and irreverence, Now I See You is an uplifting story about refusing to cower at life’s curveballs, about the power of love to triumph over fear. But, at its core, it’s a story about acceptance: facing the truths that just won't go away, and facing yourself, broken parts and all. 
I have not read this book yet.(DJE)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Last Best Cure

by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Recently, a good friend recommended “The Last Best Cure” (LBC) to me. I was a bit skeptical of books that might prove to be “fluff.”  As I read it, however, I was impressed how relevant it is to the lives of so many of my patients who are chronically ill.

One of the book’s key themes is that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) play an important role in determining our health as adults.  LBC is Donna Nakazawa’s personal story.  She is a talented science journalist who brings a technical background to the subject while, at the same time, infuses the story with memorable personal anecdotes.

The subject of ACEs is an important one.  An early investigator was Vincent Filetti whose work explored the impact of ACEs on the health of adults who were patients at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.  A more accessible place to read about ACEs is Paul Tough’s New Yorker article, “The Poverty Clinic.”

Here is an interview with Ms. Jackson that appeared in PBS’s online magazine.  Her journey back to health began with meeting a remarkable Hopkin’s physician, Anastasia Rowland Seymour, director of Johns Hopkins University's Program in Integrative Medicine.

If you are a health care provider, a patient, or a family member of someone with a chronic illness, LBC will be a helpful, well-written and welcome guide.

Virginia Tanji, the head librarian at John A. Burns School of Medicine, recommended this book to me.  She writes: "I read this book and recommended it to both the book clubs I belong too.  It resonated with both groups. I think we were inspired by how the author achieved "health" via meditation, yoga, and acupuncture...and the insight provided by the ACE connection to her chronic conditions.  I could definitely relate and personally, I always say what keeps me sane and healthy is writing a journal and qigong and tai chi!, which for me is the equivalent of meditation and yoga. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

God's Hotel by Victoria Sweet (2012)

GOD’S HOTEL: A Doctor, a Hospital and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine.

In her brilliant book review, Abigail Zuger writes, “It is probably pointless to suggest that all the individuals presently shaping our health care future spend a quiet weekend with “God’s Hotel,” Dr. Victoria Sweet’s transcendent testament to health care past. Who interrupts cowboys in the midst of a stampede?

But if you’re one of the millions of doctors and patients out there choking on their dust, this is the book for you. Its compulsively readable chapters go down like restorative sips of cool water, and its hard-core subversion cheers like a shot of gin.”