Bedside Manners: One Doctor's Reflections on the Oddly Intimate Encounters Between Patient and Healer Reprint Edition
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“Watts can compress humor, pathos, and bewitching ambiguity into a few pages. Acting like a doctor, as he counsels himself, carries the risk of arrogance. Being a doctor demands a profound and grateful openness to the unknown.” —Steven Winn, arts and culture critic, San Francisco Chronicle
“These encounters with his patients by a wise, kind doctor are finely wrought in language that is always clear and compassionate. They are a welcome addition to the growing body of literature from the experience of medicine.” —Richard Selzer, surgeon and author of The Whistler’s Room
“Even the most routine checkup will never be quite the same. Watts’s sympathy for both physicians and their patients subtly changes our understanding of what it means to heal and be healed, and to put our trust in the hands of a practitioner who is just as complex, flawed—and human—as we are.” —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine
“Always sensitive, sometimes hilarious.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Candid, poetic prose . . . You’ll wish your doctor were half as attentive.” —Newsweek
About the Author
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1400080525
- ISBN-13 : 978-1400080526
- Dimensions : 5.17 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Crown; Reprint edition (February 28, 2006)
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,765,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What i do think is that a book which is such an alloy of insight, humor, entertainment and nourishment for the soul is a rare treat.
What can i say? I laughed, i cried, i can't wait to read it again.
And it washed clean away the divide that can seep into our hearts and slightly blur our outlook, subtly separating us from others. A gentle reminder of how much we share.
In story after story, you get a taste of the life's richness -- from the joy of learning a self-diagnosis is not nearly as dire as the actual problem to the tragedy of a beautiful young girl who keeps coming back to the hospital because her boyfriend refuses to admit he's got a STD, from the gripping story of a patient reliving his WWII experience coming upon a concentration camp before it was widely known such camps existed to the mystery of a medical student injuring herself essentially for the attention.
You see it all this richness through the eyes of a doctor who has a poet's sensitivity and fluency with language. Here's an example of the beautiful prose throughout this book: "My stethoscope glides over the surface of the abdomen like a stone skipping over a flexible sheen of water, listening first, not to disturb the delicate organs huddled and hiding below."
The doctor also has a great sense of humor. Here's what happens when the father of one of his hopital staff nurses arrives at this office:
We've got a problem, my reception says.
Yes, I say. He wasn't suppoed to come today.
Not that, she says. He's HMO.
HMO. HMO. Poor bastard. Sick with restrictions.
(I typed out those lines pretty much as they are appear in the book -- the good doctor leaves out lots of the typical punctuation that accompanies dialog, which sometimes makes you wonder who's speaking. But surprisingly the light punctuation style works well overall by helping to seemlessly blend the interior and spoken dialog.)
Doctors face life and death everyday, a vantage point few of us have in our too-busy-to-slow-down lives. And while this book is not a didactic or prescriptive "here's how you should think about life" book, its stories naturally make you think about your own outlook and approach towards living.
The jacket cover says Dr. Watts is a regular commentator on NPR and indeed some of these stories are based on his NPR contributions. Reading them definitely makes me want to search the NPR archives as well as tune in for his next broadcasts.