“Heart surgeon” and 5 books about doctors, patients and their struggle

Svetlana Shchelokova, which is almost 10 years of struggling with two rare blood disorders, talks about his favorite books about doctors and those struggling with serious illnesses.


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  • Russian doctor from Guatemala: I can’t stand to see how people are treated because of poverty

When I realized that to communicate with the doctors going for a long time, one of the first objectives was to understand them. The visible side of their work rather prosaic and simple: calls, appointments, recommendations, help-statement.

But effective communication is not enough simple understanding that among doctors a lot of random people, some busy craft, and other work with a sense of mission. It was necessary to understand how they live, what they have hard fact is that you can’t see. Something I honestly asked the doctors, who turned out to chat. But the most interesting found in the books.

1. Fyodor Corners, “the Heart surgeon”

Near one of the buildings of the First medical University is a monument to Fyodor Uglovo; there is the allegory of the medical labor – upload from the romantic attack. Imagining God knows what – “Savior, virtue, God surgery!” I opened up his memories.

And there… nothing divine. Autobiography of the famous surgeon General can be reduced to the phrase: “Sleight of hand, no fraud”. That is, in a sense, this is a story about a man who all his life has trained the body and mind, hands and will.

In a more complex scan Angles fanatic from medicine, surgical steel soldiers, adept unceasing development and people highly responsible.

Not bragging, but aren’t shy about making, Corners tells, were throwing yourself challenges, leaving the big city in the Outback, studied foreign literature, and wrote scientific works, operated, operated, operated, is moved, in General, surgical edifice of the Soviet Union; and all this he done, drowned, burned, but survived and world fame. But who would but him told me, what is the work of a good doctor, how terrible it is before every new step is as important with respect to patient and never stop. Loyalty to the profession, will power, calls itself is beautiful.

2. Henry Marsh “do No harm”

One day, I went to the bookstore and cover some new items for me looked the older man in the air blue robe and cap. I do not know how looked up from the portrait, but somehow come off, and then still bought it.

Henry Marsh – man of the new time, they reflect native Englishman, surgeon, wielding their hands not only in the operating room, an elderly curmudgeon. Unlike Uglova, March allows a more lengthy digressions about feelings, and it very has brought us closer – so much so that by closing read the book, I was very upset.

But I know now: the secret power of the doctor – the ability to admit mistakes and to tell the patient the truth. Marsh acknowledged his mistakes and I was able to forgive those doctors, which I did.

3. Alex Motors, “Young nurse Parovozov”

But it’s sometimes even funny book. So ridiculous that, according to the best traditions of Russian literature, I want to cry. But it is much more real than autobiography, Uglova and March.

Motors not so much talking about himself, how many draws pictures of hospital life – sharp, colorful pictures of the work of resuscitation, which are sometimes up to the landmark paintings of life in the city and country. He is young, this Locomotives, silly in places, but it’s sometimes nice to know of Sergei Dovlatov.

Youth and punctures – not a problem; the important thing is that it is told with wit and kindness. And more importantly, all the joys and sorrows of the mournful work of nurse Parovozov lucidly pointed me to the complexity of the hospital world. I got the information that I needed in order to justify what is happening in my hospital life, and in order to shift attention from the dramatic manner of some doctors to the difficulties of the world of medicine.

The school of compassion: books about those who live with serious illnesses

In March I disconnected the Internet on the phone, took off a week at work and helplessly lay on the sofa. It is unclear how to live, if I feel so bad. But the memory helped me to get up off the couch to walk to the bookshelf and take Islavskoe biography of Anton Chekhov.

In March 1887, Chekhov was hospitalized – intensified TB processes. And after this the disease began to dictate his conditions: that is to say he can’t, then the force does not, and then have to go to live in another region. I knew about the house in Yalta – well, they do not know; but I had no idea that Chekov murmured and complained, wrote to friends about how hard it is to be in the Crimea, when Moscow bubbling and rushing inspired cultural life.

So I say: hard to sit at home without power, when you do not have time to make decisions to abandon cultural goods. When you were put on without your knowledge.

To change life at the behest of Providence is universal, of course, experience. But serious illness is not something that is event present perfect, lump sum and with the result. Disease is a process. Unpleasant process. The obvious reduction process of life.

Biography of Chekhov is not the only book about the heroic boleznennostew what I read. I know three compelling, accurate, strong books about it, which should rather be read than not, because they teach compassion, and help to make the fact that under the adoption is not suitable.

1. Irina Yasina, “the History of the disease. In trying to be happy”

This book looked at me from the shelf in the atmospheric brick and mortar book store and we went outside together.

“History of disease” – only it responded to me, but enough. If a woman writes about how she tries to be happy, with limitations – it does the same as me. And in this sense it does not matter that she had multiple sclerosis, and I have a morbid blood.

Irina honest, tireless, strong, smart, even when sitting in a wheelchair. The energy of her pain she turns into the creative force of help, and that I will support and example. Well, in fact more, that she is a journalist and human rights activist 24 hours a day regardless of health.

2. Natalia Kantonistova, “everybody dies?”

A book with a disturbing yellow light: very tragic and very literary treated history of the disease (leukemia) and dying of a young girl, written by her mother.

About this book, I wrote extensively for AdVita Fund; the same Fund was doing a project with the participation of famous Actresses, journalists and public figures (“the Book about Zhenechka”), as with this story fifteen years ago, began the work of the Foundation.

Reading it, I was rolling on a sled with a steep hill, wasn’t feeling well from the excitement; but if not try to imagine yourself in the place of the heroines, how to learn compassion and to increase the range of feelings required for acceptance?


3. Yulia Kuznetsova, “Fictional Bug”

The book is for children and adolescents, given to me by friend and fellow children’s writer. “Well, since you now only about the hospital read, then here you go,” and handed me a small book “stories about hospital life.”

The main character almost from birth installed the shunt in the heart, and it means that her life depends on this device; that every few years according to plan she goes to the hospital, but if that is not so urgently. Moreover, the Department of neurosurgery where treated including children with cancers of the brain.

So in the stories of the hospital life of two teenage girls, who think about health, time and death is not what their peers, and the neurosurgeon for them is no less important than mom and dad.

I found this book more than I looked for; not only the experience of hospital life is other people, but to paint attitude yourself disease then adults and teenagers are remarkably similar. I like these girls, though much older, and they — me: we are scary and not scary simultaneously, because the disease behaves as he wants, but close to us — family, friends and doctors who make life happier.

A heart beneath a white robe. Books about those treats

The school of compassion: books about those who live with serious illnesses

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