cover image Am I Dying?! A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms—and What to Do Next

Am I Dying?! A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms—and What to Do Next

Christopher Kelly and Marc Eisenberg. Morrow, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-284760-7

This lively, reader-friendly, and useful guide addresses a question that Kelly and Eisenberg, both Columbia University Medical Center cardiologists, are commonly asked by patients: namely, “Am I dying?” The book is divided into eight main parts—“Head and Neck,” “Chest and Back,” “Belly,” “Lady Parts,” “Gentleman Parts,” “Bathroom Trouble,” “Arms and Legs,” and “Skin and Hair”—with each individual chapter including three subsections, “Take a Chill Pill,” “Make an Appointment,” and “Get to the E.R.,” to help one decide “whether to pour yourself a cocktail, pick up the phone to make an appointment, or hightail it to the emergency room.” Despite the authors’ penchant for jocularity, they issue stern warnings when required, such as that “even minor head injuries can have devastating consequences.” Each section considers the benign as well as the more serious scenarios: for example, a sore throat may be the result of having “raged at a football game last night” or a severe bacterial infection that urgently requires antibiotics. Readers will feel reassured by the authors’ medical expertise (and that some chapters are edited by additional physicians specializing in the topic at hand) and appreciative of the clear instructions and reassuring, amicable tone. (Jan.)