My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope

By Rana Awdish

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nichole mckay
A non-fiction book that compels like a novel. The best book I've read about the patient experience. More than other physician-turned-patient narratives Dr Awdish offers a perspective on both roles that is part advocacy, part empathy and part spiritual inspiration. A must read for both health care professionals and patients (which means all of us).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Absolutely amazing, provocative and necessary read that takes us to Hell and back with grace and compassion. Health professionals (and all humans) must read, and will forever more change their language and interactions with their patients and the world. Dr Awdish is articulate, raw, and brilliant!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
la v
Learning what a doctor can go through even though she’s a part of the medical field. I just don’t understand why she couldn’t have contributed more to her care? For instance when she knew that if she was given lasix her kidneys could be damaged. She seemed cold when talking about her dead baby. Maybe she was just trying to survive at the time. Some of the wording didn’t seem to fit what she was trying to convey
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★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
david jenkins
The most important section of this book is not the memoir itself, but the section appended to the memoir concerning actual tasks for physicians and patients to enable a maximized beneficial interchange of facts and treatment.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
s ach
The title of the book suggests that this is a memoir about the author's illness and recovery. It is that, but it is so much more. Its real subject is the communication between doctors and patients. Its message is that so many physicians, either because they haven't been trained, or out of simple arrogance, weariness, absence of empathy, often fail their patients and do real harm by the things they say, or don't say (or their failure to make any effort to connect.) The author recounts her horrendous experience as a patient with repeated severe problems, the loss of a pregnancy and the near loss of a second pregnancy. She narrates the things that were said to her along the way -- or the things that were said by doctors who mistakenly assumed she could not hear what they were saying. One physician who prescribed Lasix even though it was a poor choice, one that he himself questioned, answered her questions by saying only "It wasn't my call." One said, near her bedside "She's circling the drain." Another said, after she had been through unspeakable trauma and loss "At least you didn't die." These and other gems ofd thoughtlessness, insolence, ignorance, are re-listed in italics near the end of the book as a kind of rounding-up summary of so many of the terrible encounters she had with physicians when she herself became a patient. But she also narrates some good stories, accounts of a hand held that made all the difference. She tells the story of a physician who said the things he had been told to say in her own training program: "I won't leave until you are better and can breathe on your own." She recounts that when she became a patient and heard those words, but also knew that they were sincere, that it made so much difference to her. She also tells about all the grief and misery that physicians hold inside -- the remorse because a patient died, whether or not it was their fault or anything could possibly have saved them. She tells one particularly harrowing story about the father of a patient who, learning from a doctor who used the wrong words, that his daughter was past saving, went home and committed suicide. These physicians have been trained to work as hard as possible to push back against death, but they have not been trained to stand side by side with the patient to face death, inevitability, and pain. Only now are physicians starting to get the training they need to develop empathy and strategies for finding the right words and gestures to communicate. The author is in the forefront of developing curriculum for this training.

I was totally absorbed by this book. But it was a difficult experience to read. However, it gave me insight into some of the experiences that I know my daughter-in-law physician must have gone through. I have seen how she suffered when a patient died, but this book gave me a fuller understanding of the depth and texture of those feelings of failure, helplessness, sorrow.

I have read many books by author physicians (Atul Gawande, Abraham Verghese, Sherwin Nuland, and many others) but I have never encountered anything as harrowing to read as this book -- not because of the blood-and-guts (though there is much of that here too) but because of the depth of the grief depicted. The book narrates many of the harms done to patients, but some of the greatest sorrows were those of their doctors. Beautifully and thoughtfully written.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
emily ayers
This is the story of Dr. Rana Awdish, seven months pregnant, who was treated for a catastrophic illness at the age of thirty-three in the same hospital in which she worked.This experience made her aware of all the many ways patients are discounted, demeaned, and even occasionally bullied at a time when they are most vulnerable.

When Dr. Awdish sticks with the narrative, the story is riveting. Unfortunately she has a tendency to ramble and dilute her account with excessive explanation, arguing back and forth with herself about the subtleties of compassion and communication. Too bad, because she really has a lot of interesting thoughts to share. Many of these thoughts get drowned in a tsunami of words. A more powerful book covering some of the same issues is BLUE WATER, WHITE WATER by Robert C. Samuels.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
t dunham
This is the haunting and moving story of Dr. Rana Awdish's horrifying struggles with a series of unimaginably severe medical emergencies. Her journey as an acutely ill patient started with the heartbreaking loss of her 7 month old unborn child in the first of a long series of catastrophes, excruciating symptoms, challenging treatments, and frustrating experiences with the medical profession. What I so appreciate about this book is that we hear the patient's view and the physician's view, offered by the same person. Dr. Awdish openly discusse the way she was trained as a medical yo deal with the suffering of patients; the problems that produces for the patients; ways she was touched and reassured by those who didn't follow those guidelines;her own ihardearned nsights about a better, more human approach, and her efforts to teach that sensitivity and empathy to doctors today. Through her own endless stream of harrowing experiences, she created something so valuable and so badly needed. As readers, we get to share in her insights as both physician and patient.

I so valued this book recently as I sat by the side of a friend facing a very serious illness, and a specialist came in and spoke to me about the hopelessness of her case as if she weren't in the room, couldn't hear, or perhaps had dementia and didn't understand. Dr. Awdish's work would have saved my friend theburning frustration, indignation, and anguish she felt in those moments. this book has much to teach. Most highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The medical profession is lucky to have professionals such as Rana Awdish, who take their own experiences as patients and turn them into learning opportunities. Here, Awdish, when pregnant, suffers a complex variety of medical problems, some of which are compounded by actions taken or not taken by those responsible for treating her (at her own hospital, to boot!). In the book, she details her medical journey, which involved multiple hospitalizations, some quite lengthy, over a two year period. Her suffering is anguishing to read about, but illustrative nonetheless, as to how we all have to remain vigilant and mentally involved in our own care, to the extent we are able. What is so impressive, is how Awdish repurposed her own travails into ways to teach her colleagues and others how to avoid compounding patients' problems with errors, insensitivity, and lack of empathy.

In the tradition of Jerome Groopman's How Doctors Think, a class by an orthopedic doctor turned patient, In Shock should be read by every medical practitioner and indeed, by anyone who is or may become a patient. We will all be better off if this is done.

One postscript: It seems to me that much of the traditional medical orthodoxy which teachers doctors to remain objective, unemotional and uninvolved in their patients' lives, is a result of the fact that males made the original traditional rules. Thus it does not surprise me in the least that this book by Adwish, a female, advocates a kinder, gentler more empathic approach to medicine with greater regard for the patients' input, views and feelings (both mental and physical). Interestingly, Adwish never, not once, mentioned gender in relationship to the paradigm she seeks to change. And maybe the origins of the status quo are irrelevant at this point, so why go there and cast blame and get people defensive. Makes sense to me, but I can't help but observe that if women had been represented in the world of doctors in the numbers they now occupy, when protocols were first developed for patient care, I suspect the protocols would have been more patient friendly from the get go. Wonder if any other readers thought about the impact of gender on the issues discussed in this book?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mary fetcho
I think we've all been waiting and hoping for a message like this - from a doctor, about doctors. Dr. Awdish has had the usual education in medical school, with the admonishment to separate herself from her patients' suffering. She's told to hold herself apart, in order to be ready to take care of all her patients. If she becomes bogged down with her emotions with one patient, she will not be effective in treating others. Well, I guess that explains why it seems to be difficult to find a doctor who sincerely cares for our concerns and has the time to listen to them.

Dr. Awdish's epiphany comes when she becomes the patient in her own exceedingly excellent hospital. Here, she has serious complications of a pregnancy, losing a baby, and experiencing extreme pain from, for a time, unknown causes. When unconscious, or on the fringe, she overhears personnel saying, "she's going down the drain" - "we're losing her" and worse. After she loses the baby and moves on to diagnostic tests, she is asked, "did you have a boy or girl?". When she asks for pain medication to be increased, they treat her like a drug addict.

Fortunate for Dr. Awdish, is her faithful, attorney husband, who stays at her side as she questions every shot she is getting (and discovers that some are not appropriate for her condition), every treatment and procedure. What she endures in the process of discovering what her true problem is, is painful for the reader as well.

It's satisfying to know that, now well, Dr. Awdish is called upon to speak to medical groups about her experience. She has received great positive response to her message - that it is still possible to be a good, efficient physician while showing an empathetic heart. Good news for all of us!

Well worth reading - and a page turner as we wait for the solution to Dr. Awdish's predicament. Well-written.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cyborg 6
Dr. Rana Awdish went through the looking glass. And came back, here to share the experience and what can be learned from it.
After her body fails, literally and figuratively going down the drain, the physician finds herself on the receiving end of care. She shares the extreme nature of the struggles her body endured.
But there are reasons for everything, and it would appear that a large part of the reason why she is here on the planet, despite the odds, is to teach.
She is uniquely qualified to remind those that are in any ranking of caregiver, of the overlooked but infinitely valuable concept of listening.
We all need to be thankful to any voice that conveys these ideas.
She has been up against it all, as every human being that has ever been hospitalized with complex issues has been. It's enough to scare the hell out of you, and rightly so. One can't help but think while reading this book, if it can happen to a physician, imagine how it happens to simple folk that don't know how to ask the right questions. Or to those that can't speak for themselves.
To be at the mercy of arrogance, ignorance, fatigue, and agenda...all while your life is slipping away.
Imagine someone calling a code blue, and that someone is the patient?
In telling her story, we also learn how to be more sensitive to those that are suffering. Words that we might think are comforting, often have the opposite effect. The author shares experiences where people have said the right thing, or the wrong thing. I found all of them to be spot-on.
It was also encouraging and empowering to learn how she found her voice when faced with a know-it-all physician that knew nothing about her history.
At some point in nearly every person's life, is the need to have a medical advocate, or be a medical advocate.
Thankfully, on more than one occasion, the author was able to advocate for herself.
Thankfully, she now advocates for others.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The old adage about fiction being harder to write than non-fiction because it has to be believable certainly fits In Shock. Reading the unrelenting horrors of Rana Awdish's medical problems extending well over a year takes one's breath away. From a pregnancy that ends in the death of her firstborn and "dying" in the aftermath, the author moves into a nightmare reality of repeated surgeries, hospitalizations, tests, and pain, pain, pain. Through it all, her medical training gives her both an understanding of some of what is happening in her deteriorating body and a knowledge of the potentially dire results of each situation.

The way that various medical staff members treat her as a patient only makes many of the situations worse. The good that comes out of this is her resolve to never again say the things to patients that she hears over and over, to begin listening to her patients more than the monitors, and to begin to share her new insights as a patient to others beginning their medical careers.

Through all of the trauma, Awdish is impressive in the way she continues to return to work even when in terrible pain herself, and that makes In Shock all the more readable. Even better is the "happy ending" and her efforts to help all of medicine by bringing back a focus on the patient that is too often missing in modern medicine.

Perhaps not for the squeamish, this is still something that anyone who may be a patient should read. More, it is a definite must-read for those thinking of going into a medical field and for those already there. "First do no harm," that wonderful Hypocratic Oath line, includes avoiding treating patients as the invisible person in the room.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
annie fogleman
If every intern, doctor and nurse were required to read this book as part of their medical training it would change the face of medicine forever. I have been thru surgeries and lots of serious medical issues in my life. If those who were treating me were more aware and had learned to deal with patients like Dr. Awdish recommends it would have made such a better and healing environment.
I highly recommend this book for everyone.
Even yet if you know your doctor well enough but him or her a copy too.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ayman abu kalila
This is quite a book. A young pregnant woman, who’s well along on her training to become a doctor is stricken with a rare ailment that costs the life of her baby and nearly her own as well. She recounts the initial emergency experience as well as subsequent hospital stay and in that, reviews, how it feels like to be a patient, in the very hospital she worked. Mind you, it has always been my assumption that doctors take better care of doctors, but if this is the case, the missteps are appalling.

In coming in, since she was clearly pregnant their assumption was to push this to the obstetrical floor, assuming that all that goes wrong with a pregnant woman, centers around the baby. That critical error nearly cost her, her life.

While in the hospital, she commented to an intern, while looking at an ultrasound, that her babies heart is not beating. The resident in response to that, rather than expressing empathy, knowing she knows more than he does in how to read an ultrasound, asks her where this is visible? He was oblivious to the fact, she was facing the death of her infant. While reading the book though, it struck me that her reaction to her baby dying, felt emotionless. She is appalled that he showed so little empathy, but except for cases where it is handled badly, she does not address the personal side of this tragedy. Maybe that is why the rude woman that wanted her to hold her dead baby was so persistent. She seemed like she was trying to be just factual. I get that, she was in survival mode herself and maybe did not dare, let that negativity weaken her.

From poor choices by the doctors; Lasix trying to force her overtaxed kidneys to work harder, to laying her down in a CT scanner when her lungs were filling with liquid, as a physician who knew the implications of each choice, she feared for her life. She was constantly worried that a poor choice would kill her.

As a person that accompanied my elderly mother into each of her emergency visits and hospital stays, I can say that I have stopped a few poor choices by the hospital staff. So often, they wanted to take my elderly mother with dementia and leave her outside a rushed and busy X-ray department unaccompanied. My Mom was often not compliant with requests to remain on the gurney. That could end badly. She did not know she could not walk. I had to argue to go with her. They asked her to sign consent for procedures (she thought she was 17 and living home with her Mom and was legally blind). This was informed consent? And in a few cases, wanted to give her medication that was at odds with a medical procedure she just had. Another time a heart doctor spent 10 minutes telling me she was a better candidate for a catheterization through her wrist due to her poor leg circulation, only to 10 minutes later, ask if she could be part of an experiment where they randomized the choice of Leg or Wrist puncture to study outcome. Needless to say, I said “No”. So there are issues out there and we as patients, must be outspoken when our care is less than optimal and humane. We are not just lab rats or statistics.

This wonderful young woman has taken her experiences and not only has written a book but has worked with her local hospital to work with physicians, to teach a greater level of empathy and identification with patients. I felt she was eloquent in describing behaviors that I’m sure we all have seen.

Sadly Doctors, not unlike soldiers, are trained to depersonalize a patient in order to be objective and keep their distance. This serves the patient as badly as it does the doctor. Young doctors in losing a patient are critiqued for emotions around bad outcomes and have no real outlet, as this frowned upon. This book wonderfully describes why this is a problem and shows just how prevalent this experience is, when a doctor, who is a patient, at her own place of employment gets treated so poorly.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin parkinson
As you read this magnificent writing from Dr. Awdish, you will soon discover that your personal identity and independence are more fragile than you could ever imagine. Being treated as an inanimate object is an insult. Moreover, being striped of your dignity while having your spirit shattered and your heart broken is unthinkable. Yet, some of the best caregivers from all walks of life can easily let their patients and loved ones fall into a vacuum of nothingness. When the dependent becomes invisible to the caregiver, darkness appears. Who will hold their hand? Will anyone see their tears? Most people can learn a valuable skill from reading this book and then apply that skill into their own personal situation. This book should be read by everyone and then... Read it again. It is a true story and one you will not and should never forget. Thank you!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In Shock reads like a novel; impossible to put down. Awdish writes in beautiful prose the feelings we all feel under the surface. To see our practice through the patient's eyes is a reminder that the routines of our days are not routines to the people we serve, that our patients deserve dignity and respect in every encounter.
Awdish speaks of the authentic presence found in every nursing theory and is a call to action to every healthcare worker to truly be present with our patients. It is only through that connectedness, through genuine connection with our patients will we ever find joy and purpose in our work.
It is time to discard the old ways of our training that tells us we can never experience emotions with our patients, that we have to create distance and we cannot walk alongside them. Her book is a beautiful reminder of the importance of our humanity in our work.
This book should be required reading for every healthcare worker.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marin rose
What an incredible book! Rana's story was compelling, scary, honest, brutal, heartwreching, gutwrenching, heartwarming, hopeful, and so much more, all at the same time. I teared up in multiple parts of her story and read it in two sittings over the course of one day. It was so compelling that I just couldn't put it down. Doctors and patients alike (let's face it, that's everyone, because we will all be a patient someday) need to read this book. Doctors so they know how to treat patients better. Patients so they know how to advocate for themselves better. This book is part memoir, part cautionary tale, part instruction manual. I can't recommend reading it enough - Rana has such a way with words and writes in an almost poetic fashion. I wish Rana, her husband, and their son many years of health, wellness, and happiness and am hoping she makes a huge impact on the medical community.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bobbe batterton
What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing your journey with us Dr. Awdish. This book should be required reading of every single person in the health care field. My mother passed away suddenly in 2017 (seems like yesterday) after 3 weeks in the ICU and I felt like I was gearing up for battle every time the Doctors rounded. The nurses were amazing, however, maybe two out of the many Doctors that we dealt with seemed to have an ounce of compassion. I hope this changes by sharing your experience and continued teaching (I, too, live in Michigan). You are a walking miracle. Happy New Year Dr. Awdish and wishing you many, many years of great health and success.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lee t
I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Awdish at RL Palooza 2018 and then read her book in a half a day. It's one of those books that you just cannot put down; a very well written and easy to follow book.

The book delves into the health crisis that Dr. Awdish experiences and the ensuing interactions with healthcare providers; both positive and negative experiences. In addition to the patient experience, the book explores the mindset of the physicians as second victims in medical errors and events.

I'm in the healthcare field and have had the misfortune of having medical mistakes made to both family members and personal experience; so I can really relate, both as an RN caring for a patient and from the patient's perspective. I would strongly recommend this book for anyone who is pursuing a career in the medical field or is in the medical profession already.

This is powerful story that leaves you thinking about how you communicate both in a professional setting and in your personal life as active listening requires skill and patience. Sometimes someone may be saying one thing but you must dig beneath surface to truly understand what a person may be trying to convey to you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It is hard to believe that this incredible and intensely moving story actually happened. When thirty-three year old Dr. Rana Awdish was seven months pregnant, she became critically ill. Her symptoms were excruciating pain, disorientation, vomiting, and profuse bleeding. What followed was a protracted ordeal that would continue on and off for years. Awdish's survival is nothing short of a miracle. Her poignant memoir, "In Shock," tracks her debilitating illness and long road to recovery. She eloquently expresses what it was like to undergo major surgery and face an uncertain future: "When we are sick, we are humbled by our dependency on others, the loss of control, [and] the uncertainty of the ending."

Awdish believes that too many physicians have not mastered the art of communicating with their patients. Overworked doctors and nurses are fatigued, under great stress, and are sometimes encouraged to distance themselves emotionally. The author would like health practitioners to actively listen to their patients; convey information clearly and sensitively; remember that people who are very sick tend to feel helpless, isolated, and frightened; avoid alarming patients unnecessarily; and to tell them—at the right time--what they need to know.

Rana Adwish regularly lectures medical professionals about techniques for improving their interactions with patients. She writes from the heart, since she knows from experience how devastating a serious illness can be. The passages that describe Awdish's suffering are harrowing. Adding to her pain were the thoughtless comments that doctors and nurses made in her presence. For example, when she took her first halting steps in the hospital hallway, she met a colleague who blurted out, "I thought you were dead."

Dr. Adwish believes that physicians and nurses would be more effective caregivers if they looked beyond the pathology to the human being in the hospital gown. She would like practitioners to offer the same compassionate healing to their patients that, in similar circumstances, they would want for themselves and their loved ones.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mary schmitt
The following quotes are excerpts from the book. They speak for themselves. The book is officially intended for physicians, but could really be read by anybody who has ever been a helper, caregiver, or indeed, human. This book is written by Dr. Rana Awdish. It is about her experience as physician and patient, and how being a patient informed her experience of being a physician. It's also about ravaging loss, the experience of shame, and how to go from darkness to light.

1. "Do you know what you're doing?" she asked. I thought I did know, but sensed she didn't want an answer.

"You," she began, pausing to lock each of us in her gaze, "are behaving in a way I would characterize as immature and reckless. If you allowed yourself to get close enough to this child that you need to mourn his death, which, by the way, if you knew anything about medicine, you would know was a complete inevitability...if you feel close enough to mourn him then you are irresponsible. Period. How do you expect to care for the other children in your charge?" She paused, and again I understood she did not expect an answer.

"Right. You can't. Make no mistake, you have chosen to put every other child in this unit at risk with your own stupidity."

I caught my friend's eyes and looked away with embarrassment. I struggled to take in what the attending had told us. We were irresponsible and reckless. We were stupid and immature. We lacked judgment and we were making a terrible mistake. Our mistake had horrific consequences. I believed her. I was so sad I couldn't focus on the next patient's needs, except if I viewed them as a distraction from my sadness. So it seemed there could be some truth to her suggestion that our sadness could endanger our other patients. Some truth to the possibility that if we felt our feelings we would kill the people we were supposed to help protect.


We created illusory selves. We internalized their archaic rules and collectively attempted to forge new respective identities. We took their instructions and wrapped ourselves in them like bandages, leaving our true selves to suffocate beneath. This covering was destined by its own contingency to be unsustainable. For the most part, we'd each find a means of unearthing ourselves later. Our feelings would surface, like bubbles of gas in a liquid. Some of our classmates found reencountering their feelings unbearably difficult and instead attempted to re-drown them in alcohol and addiction. Some left medicine for alternate careers. Some committed suicide.

Because shame and guilt and sorrow always float. (p. 167-169)

2. "Who we are when everything is stripped away, in our barest moments, is something we don't routinely examine. When a horrific loss uproots us, we leave pieces of ourselves behind in the soil, the structure on which we built our identity reduced to nothing more than an absent appendage, left behind to rot. We define ourselves, our very identity, by our relationships, and when we lose someone, in the exchange we lose a noun that defined who we once were. We return to our lives as truncated versions of ourselves. We cease being wives, mothers or daughters as we accrue losses. We become the next version. I was not able to be the physician I had been, and I was no longer an expectant mother. I would always be a patient. In the ruined, rotting parts of who I had once been, I found dignity and beauty in the decay (p. 178)."

3. "I sighed and shook my head. What could I say? That trying to do good can sometimes hurt so much that you break inside and you don't know if you can go on doing good anymore? That we see terrible, awful, bloody things and it hurts? And we don't feel we have a right to hurt, because we are in the outer circles of the diagram and everyone around us is right in the center of it and it hurts so much more for them. So feeling anything that resembles sadness or grief feels terribly selfish and entitled. That thought we don't feel sorry for ourselves, because we know it's not our sadness, it sometimes just feels as if we are seeing all the sadness in the world at once and we just need a second to breathe, but we haven't built in a mechanism to allow us to breathe, or pause, or feel all the feelings. that when we feel them it guts us, and we hate it, so we joke or we drink or we run or we harden. And that it worried me that that was all any of us knew how to do, to joke or drink, or run, or harden. That I wanted to learn how we could truly be there for everyone's hurt but not to have it transfer onto us like some sort of prickly dark matter. That sometimes I felt I got a glimpse of what that could look like, to heal and not to be haunted (p. 229)."

4. "As physicians we so often feel we aren't enough. We've seen too much. We know the disease is stronger than the cure, we feel the deck is stacked and that we can't possibly win. We frame our losses and successes in terms of the disease, which is a mistake. The language alone implies a battle and a clear outcome, a victor and a loser. If we are honest and allow ourselves to see death for what it is, an inescapable inevitability, then our story can change. In that light we can accept that our greatest gift is not in fact healing, because all healing is transient. Our greatest gift is, in fact, our ability to be absolutely present with suffering. To allow it to transform us, and, by holding the suffering of others, transform it for them as well.

"As young physicians, we had each imagined ourselves as barriers perched at the top of a steep cliff, our patients hurling themselves toward the abyss below. We were, in this version, the catchers, and when successful, we were the saviors, the heroes. We didn't talk about the inevitability of the fall. Our back was always to the void. And this orientation suited us just fine; we didn't want to face the gaping hole that swallowed each of our losses. We would stand and catch our patients and throw them back a few feet, and not let them look down. We didn't want them to see what we had seen. We didn't want them to see the magnitude of our capacity to fail.

"If we instead had faith in the meaning of our presence, we could turn and stand at the edge of the chasm and face it together. We could acknowledge its vastness and darkness. We could speak openly about our fears. We could offer insights of what we'd witnessed when others faced this same darkness. Our orientation would change. We could look in the same direction. We could have faith that our presence was meaningful, that in many ways it was everything (p.231-232)."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a beautifully written memoir written by a doctor who suffered from a serious, almost fatal illness. The book is about her experience as a patient surrounded by her fellow physicians and medical personnel who were at times seemingly abrupt, uncaring and insensitive. Dr. Awdish recovered and is a doctor in ICU at Henry Ford Hospital. She wrote this book for her fellow physicians but it is fascinating reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristen lionberg
Good memoir of when the doctor becomes the patient. Very honest and powerful. I really enjoyed this book and have recommended it to others. Kudos to the author. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
A young doctor learns that delivering medical services is not necessarily the same as providing good care. The doctor details her training and how things changed when she became a patient. treated with the same institutional coldness as other patients provided her with a different perspective. granted functioning as a medical professional does require some degree of detachment. but dehumanizing frightened patients is neither necessary or helpful to anyone involved.

This is a well written book, essentially a passionate call for action for the medical profession and patients. It is a compelling story that presents solutions for a broken system. It is a crucial read for providers and patients alike.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Riveting. I was a nurse for thirty years. In retrospect I realize that it took a long time to develop empathy and good listening skills. I’m sure that I am guilty of many of the insensitive remarks noted in the book. It took time and experience. This book should be required reading in med schools..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
fayroze abdel aleem
This is a book I wish physicians in training were given to read and to discuss. Awdish's tragedy- the loss of her child- is a teaching point for other physicians even as she is trying to process what has happened. Her illness and recovery are amazing; be aware that she does not spare us details of what are sometimes difficult medical and personal issues. If you've ever thought that doctors have it better when they are hospitalized or treated, this book will make you think again. The language is not poetic- it's straightforward and at times seems almost emotionless but at the same time, you always feel Awdish's beating heart. Her struggles and her relationship with her husband are documented in a way I've not read before in this type of memoir. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Try this one if you are interested in well written memoirs, the state of health care, and as the title states- hope.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah hendrick
This is an excellent book. I'm not an MD but I think they could all benefit by reading it. Dr. Awdish's story is the story of a woman that survives a horrible medical crisis and gains a patients perspective which has a profound effect on her career and life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
behnoosh e
I have been an oncology nurse for 42 years and i felt this could have been the best medical book I have ever read. It taught me so much about the burden physicians carry. It described so clearly the terror of being really sick. I loved it and am going to go back and journal about all the things I underlined. Just life changing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mockingbird girl x
I am so thankful to have read this book. It's rare to read about the patient experience - with a physician's insight - in remarkable literary prose. I was moved to tears, inspired, and challenged by this book. I have brought it up in conversation many times.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
will napier
This story is an engaging and emotional tale of a life altering event told in a way that causes the reader to think differently about the medical system and their own perspective on life. I strongly recommend!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lisa dachuk
This is a true account of a critical care doctor that needs critical care herself. It's riveting to read of her trauma during her first pregnancy. To be trained as a doctor and be a patient , must have its good and bad points. My brother was an RN that suffered with cancer. This book reminded me of him. The author realizes as a patient, that care and the words you use are so important with patients. Doctors used to be trained to not get emotionally involved. Thankfully things are changing and this book explains why it's needed. The book overall is interesting, but the author tends to get a little "wordy" which becomes tiresome. It could've been edited down.
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