The author’s hard-won wisdom is well suited for anyone who ends up spending time in a waiting room, on an examination table...

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A PATIENT'S PERSPECTIVE

TIPS FOR YOUR DOCTOR VISITS AND MORE

First-time author Cyr draws from her years of experience as a patient with several chronic ailments in this useful collection of suggestions and advice for other patients.

With few exceptions, going to the doctor isn’t considered a fun time by most people. However, that doesn’t preclude taking steps to be educated and assertive in being your own best advocate, as this guide illustrates. While most readers may be fortunate enough to avoid long-term health care or chronic illnesses, many people, including the author, aren’t so fortunate. This book is a thorough guide to the multiple issues that patients can face and teaches readers how to address them with tact and determination to achieve the best outcomes. Cyr breaks down the material into several general groupings and illustrates her own experiences as a way to drive points home effectively. The wealth of experience Cyr has amassed as a patient and health care advocate shows in her no-nonsense, straightforward explanations and in the easy way concepts are introduced and broken down for readers new to both medical and insurance terminology. Stylistically, the prose is utilitarian but suited to the task at hand, and the chapters are organized logically to make progress between stages of the doctor-patient relationship simple and clean. The material occasionally shows signs of needing updates—some of the issues Cyr points out with prescriptions lacking basic information have been corrected; the information she posits as missing has been included by default with prescription medication for a few years. But, as an overall body of knowledge, Cyr’s work is both thorough and timely. For patients with chronic illnesses and their loved ones, this book can serve as an indispensable guide and helpful resource. For insight into the experiences and issues chronically ill patients face, Cyr’s book may have even greater value to health care providers of any stripe.

The author’s hard-won wisdom is well suited for anyone who ends up spending time in a waiting room, on an examination table or undergoing medical procedures.

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1463648800

Page Count: 254

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2012

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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