Saturday, 8 October 2016
MAKING SENSE OF HIS OWN EXISTENCE
David picked this book up from the Library for me yesterday. I read a review on the book some time ago, took myself off to the Library and ordered it in. There were twelve people ahead of me waiting to borrow it. Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox and David went and collected it for me. I finished reading it last night before I went to sleep.
From the flyleaf:
"Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He held degrees in English Literature, human biology, and history and philosophy of science and medicine from Stanford and Cambridge universities before graduating from Yale School of Medicine. He also received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery's highest award for research."
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
This book was written during his illness, before and after his daughter was born. Here's a 'taste'.
"...I had learned something, something not found in Hippocrates, Maimonides, or Osler: the physician's duty is not to stave off death or return patients to their old lives, but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they can stand back up and face, and make sense of, their own existence."
And for his daughter to whom the book is dedicated:
"...When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man's days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satsified. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing..."