February and March have been really slow in terms of reading. I realise now that I’ve partially abandoned the things that makes me happy. I’ve stopped running, doing yoga and only managed to read two books (and a half).
So February and March read includes:
1. It’s All in Your Head
I would thoroughly recommend this book to medics out there. It made me rethink how I perceive those with medically unexplained symptoms. In paeds, I would see girls (it almost always are girls) coming in with suddenly unable to walk or ‘pseudoseizures’. There are also plenty of symptoms that we couldnt find a cause to – chronic abdominal pain or headache or lethargy. We do various tests and even when we’ve done it all and it came back negative, parents want more. There must be something wrong. For medicolegal reasons and also often to appease parents, we carry on investigating. Some of the more experienced, old school consultants will be more firm, enough is enough. There is no organic cause to the symptoms. I get it, the symptoms are distressing, your child is not your child anymore. How do we communicate better though? Without judgement, inwardly eye rolling and to give the same compassion and respect to all patients. Sure, they might seem dramatic but they’re experiencing the pain right? Pain is pain, whether we think it is real or not. One thing I’ve learnt from this book is once we have made peace that we’ve done all the investigations and found no cause to it, we need to communicate well to patients and parents quickly on how to go forwards. It also means truly acknowledging that to them, these symptoms are real. They do feel the pain. They do feel tired. Just because there’s no real medical cause to it, it doesnt mean they dont feel it.
The author has summarised that the more delayed we confirm to patients of it being functional or psychological, the more we medicalize, the more difficult it would be to treat it. The author recommends involving psychiatrist or psychologist early on. Due to the long waiting list of CAMHS and clinical psychologists, perhaps this is not a bad idea after all.
If illness seems to be helping solve the problem of loneliness, then treat the loneliness and the illness will disappear. Or find out where the gain lies and address that. Or if the problem lies in maladaptive responses to the messages the body sends, that can be relearned.
Picture of book
When we encounter somebody who is severely disabled with purely medically unexplained symptoms we should treat that person with the same respect that we would give to anybody else with any other diagnosis.
2. The Nakano Thrift Shop
Bought this before we boarded flight to Japan. Terminal 2 Heathrow is so nice btw.
Anyway, it starts out slow and the flow of the book is halting. I think it’s supposed to be in Japanese and then translated to English, maybe thats why it has the halting flow of speech. Language is also bit formal, but maybe its just how Japanese people speak? I wouldnt know I guess unless I really learn Japanese.
The story line turned out to be interesting and you grow to adore each main characters. The ending though made me feel like “Huh?? That’s it ??!!” You know … when there is a happy ending but not quite an ending, you kinda just have to imagine what happened next. Boring! This time, I want a hollywood ending please.
3. We are all completely beside ourselves
This is a bit of weird one. Just couldnt relate to it but totally didnt expect the story to pan out like how it did. Haven’t finished it … Incouldnt quite bring myself to finish it. Kinda forcing myself to keep reading.
Shall I just carry on reading even if it doesnt bring me happiness? Perhaps I will learn something new or at least know how the story ends? Or do I say C’est la vie, life is too short to read books I dont like?
I hate not finishing a book though.
Books to read:
- The Night Circus
- Good Immigrant
Over and out,
Hopefully more books in April!
Total books read in 2018 so far = 9