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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars suspenseful page-turner, September 2, 2002
This review is from: One Hundred Days: My Unexpected Journey from Doctor to Patient (Paperback)
Biro is a writer and a dermatologist (not sure which order he'd put those in himself), and he's written a gripping account of surviving a life threatening disease. From the earliest stages, through the difficult decision to proceed with a bone marrow transplant, and the agonizing months of treatment and recovery that follow, he takes the reader by the hand through an emotionally and physically harrowing ordeal. Through it all, his life hangs in the balance, and he's written his story so well that you have to keep reminding yourself that he's had to survive the experience to write the book you're reading.
This is not to say that you don't step back now and then and realize that you're not reading the story of a typical patient. Biro clearly has all sorts of advantages by being a doctor, with numerous personal connections in medicine, including a father who is a doctor. Biro gets privileged treatment all along the way, including the advice of two specialists whom he's actually able to get together in the same room to discuss his case from their differing points of view.
In retrospect, you also realize that Biro has glossed over a remarkable stroke of good fortune -- his younger sister's being a perfect match as a bone marrow donor. While he praises his family for their tireless support at his bedside throughout his time as a patient, you feel that he also takes a great deal of this attentiveness for granted, especially the very painful procedure that his sister undergoes to be his lifesaver.
But in spite of these misgivings, a reader is likely to feel thoroughly absorbed by Biro's story. He does, after all, have to endure weeks of physical pain and discomfort, all the while knowing that he might not survive at all. It's OK for him to be more self-centered than maybe we'd prefer.
This is an excellent book for anyone in the healthcare professions, as it depicts graphically the experience of being a patient and having to endure treatment that is as life threatening as the disease being treated. As a companion to this book, I'd recommend the play "Wit," about a dying cancer patient, by Margaret Edson, also made into an HBO film by Mike Nichols, starring Emma Thompson.
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