As I Live & Breathe

img_4234Weisman, Jamie. As I Live and Breathe, notes of a patient-doctor. New York: North Point Press, 2002.

In honor of National Health Month I decided to read As I Live and Breathe. I always find memoirs interesting when the author is more than your average individual. Who doesn’t? Dr. Weisman also has a talent for words which makes her unique story all that more compelling.

Dr. Jamie Weisman is a unique woman. While living within the confines of her illness she chose to do something about it, she joined the medical profession. As she says in her memoir, “”Now that I’ve finished medical school, I know what all those names mean, what diseases they describe, but you cannot know what they are as an illness until you see them in a patient” (p 15). Not only is her condition (congenital autoimmune deficiency disorder) rare and confusing, but her duality of patient and doctor gives her an interesting perspective- from bedside manner of doctor to bedridden patient. Because she is able to really know what the patient is experiencing she can deliver the empathy necessary for individuals really suffering.
My only real disappointment was the organization of the chapters. Dr. Weisman jumps around, remembering patients and her own childhood at random. I would have prefered a more chronological accounting. The last two chapters of the book, “begotten” and “begetting” are warmer and more personal and as a result seem a departure from the more clinical previous chapters.

Favorite blurbs:
“Our diseases overwhelm us at the strangest times” (p 16).
“I knew no happy lawyers” (p 31).

BookLust Twist: From both Book Lust and More Book Lust. In Book Lust in the chapter called, “Physicians Writing More Than Prescriptions” (p 185), and in More Book Lust in the chapter called, “Other People’s Shoes (p 181).



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