All posts filed under: December & January

Everything I Didn’t Know

I’ve never read a book like this before. Historically, the non-fiction books I’ve read have been about a person, places, a period of time. But this is the first time I’ve read such an in depth study of a particular policy. In case you missed it, “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care” by T.R. Reid is a examination of our health care system in contrast to others around the world. And it was fascinating. “Economic growth is not the sole aim of out society… The value of a human life must be decided without regard to… economic considerations. We must take into account the human and spiritual aspects involved.” The Hall Report, 1964 There are a few things I know for certain: our health care system is broken, there are too many Americans without access to health care, our country’s approach to health care is far too politically leaning when it should be a moral issue. But besides that, my knowledge was fairly limited. This book put …

December / January Book

It’s that time of year when your calendar starts to look really cluttered, your to do list grows longer, and you start to consider resolutions for the new year. Well, every year we resolve to read a book that teaches us something new. And something we all need to learn so much more about is our country’s healthcare system. So, the December/January book we’ve picked is T.R. Reid’s The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care. It’s a brief 250 pages with chapters like “Different Models, Common Principles,” “Too Big to Change,” and five separate chapters examining the systems of different countries (France, Germany, Japan, Canada, the UK). Also, there’s an afterword titled “‘Obamacare’ Explained,” which we all need to read. Anyone else feeling like our healthcare system is intimidating and confusing?! We feel like reading this is a step in the right direction. The author Reid is a career journalist who, for this book, visited over half a dozen different countries to examine their health care and use …

The Quick and the Dead

I will be honest – I was not looking forward to reading this book, but I have been on an unintentional hiatus and I just didn’t want it to last any longer. So here I was, holding my Kindle, Stiff on the screen, simply dreading reading a book about dead bodies when I so recently had to confront the reality of death in my life. That being said, here’s the good side. Roach’s writing is engaging, the topic is (admittedly) interesting, and I even found myself chuckling more than just a bit – she seems to have a delightfully dry, witty sense of humor and it comes across clearly in her writing. I truly do understand the value in using human cadavers to study most of the things Roach wrote about, and it really is fascinating what important information and learning can come from the science of the dead. Also, it was a fast read – just what I needed to break the hiatus. And here’s the bad side. Not really bad, I suppose. More like… …

Fast and Loose with Stiff

It took me longer than I’d expected to finish(ish) this one. I was excited to read this one, but it came at a busy time… the holidays, my brother’s wedding, the onset of winter illnesses for every member of my family. Ya know, the usual December/January stuff. So, I started off strong, but things kind of tapered off toward the end. I definitely enjoyed what I read, and learned a lot. There is a surprising amount to learn from cadaver “lives.” But I guess that’s what I liked most about this book, not only was it well written with a healthy lighten-the-mood sense of humor, but you could jump around with the chapters if needed. For example, I didn’t really have an interest in reading about plane crash cadavers. As a nervous flyer, I thought I’d do us all a favor by avoiding that one. But “Crimes of Anatomy,” “Holy Cadaver,” and “How to Know if You’re Dead” were my personal favorites. But, admittedly, there were a few more chapters at the end that I didn’t read. …

Stiff: An Interesting Case for Coping with Humor

  As a physician and, I guess more specifically, someone who has participated in a gross anatomy lab, I have a specific point of view about human cadavers.  I will start by saying this – the book provides some truly interesting history on the matter.  For that point alone, I would say Roach’s book is a worthy one. Albeit, it is not one for everyone. The subject is a bit – um – macabre.  If you didn’t know that from the cover, I’m not sure reading is for you. Now what I really took away from this book is that how we deal with things that make us uncomfortable is rather universal. I often wondered why I wasn’t more bothered by anatomy lab my first year of medical school. I didn’t particularly want to get physically sick or feel overwhelming guilt. But I also didn’t want to feel how I did – like it was normal. There was nothing normal about what I was doing. History may suggest otherwise. Personally, though, gross anatomy lab was …