A useful and illuminating guide that encourages a greater awareness of a crippling syndrome affecting legions of patients.




A physician shares his trials with chronic pain in this debut medical memoir.

The author, ironically and pseudonymously named Moody, is an anesthesiologist struggling with chronic pain. In his insightful and informational book, he chronicles his life journey at the mercy of debilitating discomfort: “The rare type that never goes away. Pain that uproots life, forces disability and ends relationships.” He divides his ordeal into three sections that intimately detail the first episodes of chronic pain, how his carefully mapped treatment plans progressed, and finally the aftermath of his malady and what the future holds. Moody intricately and incrementally describes his long tenure with chronic back pain, from the first twinges of discomfort after a particularly strenuous and competitive game of tennis to the years of disproportionate neuropathic pain and multiple spinal fusions that had a negative effect on his life and depleted his longevity as a professional medical provider. In addition to describing his own personal clinical journey in and out of the throes of the chronic pain syndrome spectrum of disorders, Moody walks readers through important facets like the selection of a primary care physician, the ambiguity of a diagnosis, and the various methods of illness detection, from MRIs to ultrasound procedures and laparoscopy. The author discusses the four stages of chronic pain. He categorizes pain through varying levels of severity and its initial origin. Terms such as “pain proneness” and “referred pain” will be new to nonclinical readers, though they put a name to a very real, complex (and commonplace) affliction. A section on pain treatment addresses alternative treatments and temporary fixes, from a subcutaneous lidocaine injection to more extreme measures like a spinal cord epidural and the dreaded “pain-opioid downhill spiral” of prescription drug therapy, abuse, dependency, and withdrawal. Several chapters creatively explore the intriguing philosophical side of human pain and how the unconscious mind can be activated by something as innocuous as a smell or sound, triggering aches in the conscious physical body. For those dealing with chronic pain while reading Moody’s astute, candid, and thoughtful guide—packed with helpful charts and uncredited black-and-white illustrations—there is nothing superfluous in these pages. Using a conversational tone and keeping his text readable and easily digestible by a general audience, the author articulates and compassionately relates to the seemingly endless struggle to overcome physical pain and carry on with daily life. While some chapters offer valuable information, medical guidance, and hopeful, reassuring advice, others are more practical and directly address the frank reality and discouraging aspects of living with chronic pain. Some readers may ponder what Moody really means when he admits to remaining in pain but accepting it and no longer suffering from it. But his “pain willingness” process explains this epiphany in the book’s conclusion as Moody’s management protocol becomes increasingly and effectively “routine and commonplace.”

A useful and illuminating guide that encourages a greater awareness of a crippling syndrome affecting legions of patients.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-981611-32-4

Page Count: 198

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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