You Can Stop Humming Now: A Doctor’s Stories of Life, Death, and In Between

Daniela J. Lamas. Little, Brown, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-39317-1
In this ruminative account of treating patients, Lamas, a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, analyzes how the critically ill manage life during and after treatment. She meets people who are neither bitter nor sorrowful about their conditions, but are constantly aware of their precarious states. Among her patients are Van, a grandfather tethered to a battery-operated heart device, which, when fully charged, allows him to camp or fish with his grandson, and Meghan, a young woman who outlives her cystic fibrosis prognosis and attends college, continuing her physical therapy in her dorm room. When Lamas visits Ben, a young man with brain damage, she witnesses a mother revelling in Ben’s small victories, such as when he attempts to make a sandwich. Through these visits and others, Lamas weaves a thoughtful and beautiful narrative: “I wanted to know how they would learn to adapt to new realities and whether they would regret the decisions they had made.” The author wonderfully captures the lives of those who’ve completed treatment and adjusted to a new existence. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/15/2018
Release date: 03/27/2018
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-316-39319-5
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