At 52, Stern, a well-known foodie-she and her husband, Michael, have coauthored some 20 books on American culture and food, including Roadfood-found herself profoundly depressed. Holed up in the couple's Connecticut home, she'd lost interest in doing much of anything. Phobias (bus riding, air travel, claustrophobia, etc.) made her isolation worse. One day, on a whim, she responded to the "volunteers wanted" notice at the local firehouse and signed up for EMT training. No one teaching "boot camp"-style classes would have tolerated a queasy (much less depressed or phobic) recruit, so she had to tough it out. Humor definitely helped. As Stern remarks, after a few classes covering major trauma, "I am no longer clinically depressed but instead am dying of everything simultaneously." Some of her class notes are funny, like her list of EMT no-nos: don't replace organs hanging from bodies, don't give CPR to a severed head, don't attempt to revive someone in a "state of advanced decomposition" and if "you have a patient whose leg or arm is partially amputated, do not pull it off to make things `neat.' " After training and certification, the real work started, and while initially it did the trick-"in helping others I learned to help myself"-the ultimate truth, that she couldn't save everyone, brought back her depression. Stern's memoir is a quirky mix of humor, self-doubt and courage.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In broad terms, this is a familiar story: a woman is dissatisfied with her lot, embarks upon a life-altering, seemingly ill-advised adventure that fills her with hope and happiness. But fill in the details, and you find a very unusual story, indeed. Stern wasn't just any workaday person; she was a writer, a popular author of more than 20 books, a magazine editor, and a radio commentator. Her dissatisfaction wasn't your typical midlife angst, but a deep and paralyzing depression that, by the time she was in her early 50s, had rendered her unable to travel or appear in public. And her life-altering adventure was, of all things, becoming an emergency medical technician, a volunteer job that literally put other people's lives in her hands. Making the switch from author of such books as The Encyclopedia of Pop Culture to EMT put a bit of a strain on both Stern and her husband, but it enriched her in ways that readers will find both touching and surprising. A remarkable variation on a time-honored theme. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An honest look into the EMT world. Anyone who is interested should get this book. You won't be disappointedPublished 8 months ago by Melissa Ross
The book is well written and a joy to read. For the first time in the past few years I was actually laughing out loud. Read morePublished 13 months ago by polly eaton
Not only does the book give a thoughtful glimpse into the preamble and day to day of EMTing, it also goes quite a long way to support the position that substantial volunteer... Read morePublished 19 months ago by extra
I thought this was a good book! I thought it was going to be boring but I really got into it! Go job to Jane Stern!Published 22 months ago by Julia Pacheco
There's no doubt the author can write. She's witty and entertaining. But I found the book far too graphic for general audiences, even in the realm of medical stories. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Cat
I really didn't know much about Jane Stern other than her work with ex-husband Michael Stern about American food & pop culture. Read morePublished on July 9, 2013 by Barbara Rice