We must be a nation of book lovers because there are at least three nationally-recognized book lovers’ days or months.
National Book Month is October (the others are in January and August), so I thought I would share a few of the healthcare books that I am currently reading or about to read.
If you’ve read my blog for long you know I’m an avid reader. I devour books about health, health policy, strange diseases, and medical oddities.
I firmly believe we can not only save money but lead healthier, happier lives if better understand how our bodies work, and how to navigate our less-than-ideal healthcare system.
So here is a short list of books I think are worth your time!
If, like me, you like reading about medical mysteries, pick up a copy of Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries by Lisa Sanders, MD. Dr. Sanders writes a medical column for the New York Times, and this book is a compilation of some of her most interesting cases.
(Her writings apparently inspired the TV show House, MD, which I hated, but I don’t hold that against her. 🙂 )
Diagnosis is also the basis for a new show on Netflix. It emphasizes how useful social media and medical crowd sourcing (I’m not sure what else to call it) can be when doctors are trying to figure out an unusual collection of symptoms or diagnose a rare disease.
More medical mystery books:
Sleep, sleep, sleep
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of good health. But although most of us can control what we eat and how much we exercise, sleep can be distressingly elusive.
I recently wrote a post about CBT-I, or cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia. CBT-I combats insomnia by treating the thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate sleepless nights, such as worrying too much about not sleeping, or going to bed earlier and earlier, or oversleeping on weekends.
I found Goodnight Mind: Turn Off Your Noisy Thoughts and Get a Good Night’s Sleep by sleep psychologists Colleen Carney, PhD, and Rachel Manber, PhD, to be the most easy-to-digest and useful book on this topic.
Other great sleep books:
Marty Makary, MD, is not only a surgeon, but also an advocate for healthcare reform, specifically “disruptive” innovation. He challenges politicians and healthcare leaders to find new ways to lower prices, improve health and safety, and eliminate the disparities that plague our current for-profit mess.
It’s no secret that Americans spend way more on healthcare than any other country, but have poorer overall health. Dr. Makary’s new book, The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care And How to Fix It, explains how we got here and how he thinks we can make it better—if we can put aside partisan politics and corporate greed, and work together as a nation.
Wishful thinking? I hope not.
Here are a few more books by physicians and journalists who I think have some great ideas to improve healthcare in this country:
End of life
It was only recently released, but I found out about it because the author, Caroline Wright, lives in my hometown, Seattle.
Two years ago she was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer, a glioblastoma. She was only 32, and had two young children, one just a few weeks old.
Given only about a year to live (she’s already beaten the odds, yay!), she and her husband struggled to find a way to explain death to their three-year-old son. And to settle on how her husband would handle the inevitable questions after her death.
The only books she found were either overtly religious, or metaphorical and too abstract for really young children.
So she decided to write her own: Lasting Love. The book is told though the point of view of a young boy whose mother is dying. His pain, confusion and grief are acknowledged, but no one tries to make him feel better or minimize his loss. Just let him know that what he’s feeling is okay and he’s not alone.
Wright believes kids need to be told the truth, although in a safe, loving and age-appropriate manner. Our local children’s hospital is now using it as a bereavement tool to help children cope with loss.
I also recommend these end-of-life books: