Does it bite and sting?

by Christina on December 29, 2010

“I think we ought to only read the books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” ~Kafka

Most books don’t bite and sting me enough (one reason why I start so many books and never finish them). But I recently started a book (thanks to my dad’s recommendation) that bites and stings and I cannot put down:

Anatomy of an Illness, by Norman Cousins:

A couple highlights:

A hospital is no place for a person who is seriously ill. The surprising lack of respect for basic sanitation; the rapidity with which staphylococci and other pathogenic organisms can run through an entire hospital; the extensive and sometimes promiscuous use of X-ray equipment; the seemingly indiscriminate administration of tranquilizers and powerful painkillers, sometimes more for the convenience of the hospital staff in managing patients than for therapeutic needs; and the regularity with which hospital routine takes precedence over the rest requirements of the patient (slumber, when it comes for an ill person, is an uncommon blessing and is not to be wantonly interrupted)…”

“Perhaps the hospital’s most serious failure was in the area of nutrition. It was not just that the meals were poorly balanced; what seemed inexcusable to me was the profusion of processed foods, some of which contained preservatives or harmful dyes… No wonder the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health made the melancholy observation that a great failure of medical schools is that they pay so little attention to the science of nutrition.”

That was written over 40 years ago and yet medical schools still fail in the area of nutrition! Does anyone have any ideas on what we can do about this?!

Does your doctor talk with you about your food and diet? If not, where do you go to get that information?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly Palmer December 30, 2010 at 3:44 am

I agree! After giving birth I was so shocked by 1) how we were woken up every 2 hours or so all night long while completely exhausted for seemingly stupid reasons such as receiving painkillers and having blood pressure checked (if I am asleep then surely I do not need a painkiller?) And the food was utterly inedible!


Claudia December 30, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Hmm.. totally! I completely agree, books have to do it for me, they have to sting, yes good word! I think it was Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women who Run with the Wolves) that said that good writing should leave a bit of a bruise both in the writer and the reader…

The book sounds interesting too… I like it when you do reviews and highlights. Happy new year Christina

By the way, on the first topic “hospital no place for the ill”, It is so true, I am so scared of hospitals, I am counting on you and this generation of ashtangi/doctors to change things around! 🙂


Chris Palmer December 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm

It is an inexcusable outrage that hospitals serve junk food to their patients. Everyone complains about it, but hospitals keep failing badly in this area.


Sara Mays December 31, 2010 at 6:56 pm

As a patient who spent 2 weeks in hospital very ill…I can vouch for the bad food. Farm to hospital programs would work wonders for the sick.

I hear you about nutrition in health education. My chiropractic program has 3 nutrition classes and pathology is heavily nutrition based. Despite the education bas here, there are still rampant vending machines with chips, soda, and even energy drinks. What’s worse is that many students blatantly survive on junk.

Better patient care and health certainly starts with their doctors being good role models. Way to be one Christina!


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