Sometimes you stumble upon a book that grabs your attention right away and you feel the need to highlight ever single sentence. They're hard to come by but once they do, I find them irresistible. As many of you know, I'm studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist and would love to work in acute care in a hospital at some point in my career. Well if you are at all interested in doing some kind of medical work or you already do some kind of medical work, READ THIS BOOK. I mean, I think everyone can find something special from this book but what really spoke to me was how Dr. Kalanithi spoke about mortality and being faced with others mortality every day as a health care worker, or in his case, a neurosurgeon.
But Dr. Kalanithi was not only a neurosurgeon. He was a complete renaissance man and his writing is poetic and beautiful. He talks about going from doctor to patient when diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at the age of 36 and how so much of what he preached day in and day out was now being preached back to him.
If you follow the popular lifestyle blog, Cup of Jo, you know that Dr. Kalanithi is her brother-in-law. It broke my heart when we heard of his diagnosis and how her sister and her husband were coping and then when he passed away. I'm glad he decided to write about his experience as a doctor especially after being faced with such a devastating prognosis.
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
Before operating on a patient’s brain, I realized, I must first understand his mind: his identity, his values, what makes his life worth living, and what devastation makes it reasonable to let that life end. The cost of my dedication to succeed was high, and the ineluctable failures brought me nearly unbearable guilt. Those burdens are what make medicine holy and wholly impossible: in taking up another’s cross, one must sometimes get crushed by the weight.
And then there are a few quotes that perfectly sum up how I want to be as a clinician.
I had met her in a place where she was a person and not a problem to be solved.
Here we are together, and here we are through-I promise to guide you, as best as I can to the other side.
So? Did I convince you?