In beautifully crafted vignettes, physician and NPR commentator David Watts explores the world of modern-day medicine and reveals the emotional truths and practical realities at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship. Bedside Manners is an engaging, often surprising investigation into what happens when we sit down and talk openly about vital issues of health and mortality.
Combining the grace and precision of a poet with the down-to-earth, compassionate manner of a doctor who deals with the problems of real people every day, Watts describes situations both odd and touching: the patient who stays awake during an endoscopy to ward off demons; the woman who recites poetry to get through a frightening treatment; the man who arrives at Watts’s office bearing Internet research on syndromes that have little to do with his own condition; and the seventy-four-year-old architect who faces a tough cancer diagnosis with dignity and courage.
Readers will come away from these tales of difficult diagnoses, irreverent colleagues, brave survivors, and examining-room poseurs sharing Watts’s own sense of humbled astonishment. As he tells each story, Watts closes for the reader the protective distance many doctors employ, and touches all of us who have felt vulnerable in the position of patient. Refreshing, wry, and reassuring, Bedside Manners holds important lessons for both healers and those who seek their help.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Bedside Manners|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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Chapter OneWhite Rabbits
Frank is in my waiting room, which means I'm going to be spending a lot of time chasing rabbits-little questions he brings on small crumples of paper that skitter around on my desk, issues he's researched on the Internet and gotten emotional about that usually don't have anything to do with his own circumstance. What's worse, he's about to have an operation, which means he's really going to be worked up.
I'm remembering that he's the guy with too many colonoscopies. "Well, something might have gone wrong since the last one," he'll say. True, but mostly not true. Still, you can resist that argument only so long and then you find yourself torquing another scope through the colon.
And it's not a trivial deal. He goes vagal in the mid-transverse colon, drops his blood pressure, looks like the life force is beating it out of town on the lam. We haven't killed him yet, but we may have come pretty close. And it probably doesn't do a lot of good for his oxygen-starved brain cells that his blood turns to molasses like that. Besides, watching him go shocky sends my coronaries into spasm.
I made him sign a release before the last one. That was after the cardiologist told him no more colonoscopies until he got his carotid arteries fixed. Even the S word, stroke, couldn't deter Frank.
I'm not going to have a stroke, he said.
It struck me that he has one set of evaluators for a real disease that could do real harm and another set for the harmless imaginary one.
He wrote a long letter releasing everyone this side of Kansas from any kind of liability connected with colonoscopy. This is a...