Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Books to consider -- IV

I end my series of possible gifts more topical than those mentioned below with two books about which I have written before. I hesitate to say that I have saved the best for last, but these two are truly excellent, moving, and inspirational. (And I would say that even if the authors were not friends and if they hadn't blessed me by allowing me to write prefaces for both!)

e-Patient Dave deBronkart's Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig is a great story about his experience with kidney cancer and his journey to patient empowerment and collaboration with his doctors.

Monique Doyle Spencer's The Courage Muscle, A Chicken's Guide to Living with Breast Cancer is an often humorous account of things to expect and how to prepare for this disease.

Both books are perfect for friends or family members going through all types of cancer (not only kidney or breast cancer), and also for their caregivers.


Amy said...

From Facebook:

I don't think I can count the copies of The Courage Muscle I have given over the last few years. Laughter is great medicine.

Anonymous said...

I finally manage to catch up with you on Part IV: have and highly recommend "Laugh, Sing", and Santa is going to bring me "The Courage Muscle" and "How can I Help?" also by Monique Spencer. Or at least Santa better bring them if he knows what's good for him.


Unknown said...

A superb list! But let me add one more, Siddhartha Mukherjee's spectacularly ambitious "Biography of Cancer," The Emperor of All Maladies. One of the best books I've read in a decade!

Brian Klepper

Brenda L. Barnes, MM, JD said...

I was asked to post my experience as an author of a patient and family centered book - Esther Has a Living Will and Other Fairy Tales for Adults: The Essential Health Care Guide for Children of Aging Parents.

Although it has gotten excellent feedback from nurses, social workers, patient advocates, and others who work with bewildered adult children trying to understand the health care delivery system,feedback has been unanimous: excellent information, user-friendly presentation, but people don't want to know this stuff!!!

"This stuff" is patient autonomy, consent, safety, privacy, palliative care as part of treatment, discharge planning, and how to act as a health care proxy. It is not end-of-life information; it is information that any patient should have regarding their rights, resources, and who to ask for help.

I find this shocking. Ignorance is not bliss in the health care delivery system and my experience as a bioethicist is that hospital staff are often unaware of what ancillary treatment and services offered within their institutions.

My wish for 2011 is that all health care workers encourage their patients to become knowledgeable about health care delivery. A referral to the patient information section of the hospital website gives patient general information and specific contacts for inquiries.