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review 2017-03-21 01:44
Being Mortal
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End - Atul Gawande,Robert Petkoff



Atul Gawande takes on the uncomfortable topics of old age and terminal illness, discussing ways in which medical approaches to these areas have resulted in less-than-optimal experiences for people facing them.  In the case of care of the aged, nursing homes grew out of the basic hospital setting, and out of that has grown a culture of safety and institutional routine take precedence over quality of life and preferences of residents.  With end-of-life, there is always something more that can be done--treatments, procedures--but the outcomes and trade-offs for the patients might be untenable.


Gawande explores alternatives that take into account retaining quality of life and helping the elderly and dying identify what matters the most to them and to design the best approaches to their living situations and care.  His examples include interactions with patients, friends, and his own father.  In his process, he recounts learning better ways to communicate with patients, especially in the difficult conversations no one wants to have but that can make all the difference.

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review 2017-03-18 13:29
Dr. Potter's Medicine Show - Eric Scott Fischl

Very dark story about evil alchemists roaming 19th century America. Side shows the hard way. Well written, but not for everyone.

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text 2017-02-20 01:16
Medicine Walk - authentic, complex, brutal in it's truth


Franklin Starlight never knew his mother and the few encounters he's had with his alcoholic father left him hurt and disappointed.


He's been raised on a small ranch in northern British Columbia by "the old man", who's taught him everything he knows about ranching and wilderness survival. He's also taught him about integrity, self-esteem and the qualities of good character.


At sixteen, Franklin's more a man then most.


When he gets a call from his father he's tempted to ignore it, but this time it's different. His father is dying of liver disease and wants Frank to help him travel to remote ridge forty miles out in the wilderness. Once there he wants "a warrior's death", buried sitting upright in the ground facing east "so he can follow the rising sun across the sky to the Happy Hunting Grounds."


As it's his father's dying wish, Frank feels duty-bound to oblige him. Besides, he's longing to know more about his family history including how he came to be brought up by the "the old man".


So begins the journey, from a small mill town into the wilderness, Frank walking and leading a horse his father rides because he is too weak to walk.


As each mile passes Franklin begins to know his father as the man slowly divulges his personal history, Franklin's history.


In Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese has created a story that resonates on many levels. There's the portrayal of a Spartan way of life defined by hard manual labour, loyalty and integrity as conveyed in the characters of Franklin and "the old man".


Then there's the life Franklin's father has lived - one of never facing up to your demons and using alcohol to keep them at bay.


It's a story of the extremes of human nature - of doing the right thing no matter how tough and painful it is, and doing everything to avoid it.


Wagamese' dialogue is authentic, his characters complex, and his story is brutal in it's truth.





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review 2017-02-08 21:46
Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry - Nicholas Dodman DVM
Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry - Nicholas Dodman DVM

I don’t understand why anyone is reluctant to acknowledge that animals share some characteristics, behaviors, and susceptibilities, across species lines. Of course, one of the local colleges has recently started a huge cross-species cancer effort, working to save dogs and also maybe humans.  Library copy.

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review 2017-01-10 01:20
All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition - Louise L. Hay,Mona Lisa Schulz

My main gripe as regards this book is that it does not seem to have been written by Louise Hay, which obviously I was expecting, because of her name on the cover. (I know she is getting on in age, but still.) If I had known it had been written by Mona Lisa Schultz, apparently alone, I would not have ordered it. The only visible contribution by Louise is her usual affirmations for the various complaints and information about their emotional causes, as we´ve seen in Louise´s previous books. All these are good, of course, but not really new.


Louise does write a “welcome”, where she tells us that she loves and adores her co-author, but this was obviously not enough.


The various chapters are built around the “seven emotional centers” and the illness and complaints pertaining to these. Most interesting were the sections entitled “From the clinic files” where real case histories are described.


There´s too much about medicine, Mona Lisa being a doctor. We are regaled with the names of all sorts of medicines – Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, morphine, codeine, Dilaudid, Demerol, heroin, Oxycodone, Benadryl, Clarinex, Atarax, Allegra ad infinitum. However, the clients whose clinic files are revealed to us generally drop their medicines at some point and are healed by changing their lives around by adopting new positive behaviours, intake of vitamins and other natural healthful preparations.


To sum up, this is a well-written, informative book, imparting much wisdom about the emotional causes of disease, the appropriate affirmations to use for each malady, and so on. However, I was disappointed that the book apparently wasn´t written by Louise Hay, and exasperated by all the references to traditional, harmful medicine.

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