Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Good Doctor

Last night the Little Shelford annual bookclub meeting was held at the Olde Post Office. We rang the bell (like Pooh does outside Owl's), and sat down in a circle beside the authoress of A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: A Family's Journey of Love and Loss in Nepal. The book had circled the members last year while I was in hospital, and one of the lovely ladies had mentioned that perhaps Mum might find it difficult to read at the time, so it had simply passed us by.

Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth is charming and self-effacing, the kind of doctor a patient is fortunate to encounter. She is author of several books in different genres, but this, her autobiographical work, delves into the heart of a painful dilemma - to submit to the admonitions and gloomy prognostications of her fellow Cambridge doctors, or abandon the Western view and offer her son David a cheerful and dignified chance at life.  Here is an excerpt in Dr Jane's words... 
The one sympathetic hospital doctor in Cambridge had advised us to treat David normally and we took this as a licence to take him on his first trek; at the age of four months, we packed up David’s heart medicines and tubes and headed up over precipitous drops and wobbly rope bridges to explore drippy forests and medieval hill-forts. The mountains were spectacular and healing. Strangely David’s heart disease protected him from the effects of high altitude. Our arrival in each mountain village was heralded by choruses of, ‘Children have come!’ We’d be surrounded and David taken from his carrying basket to be handed around for all to cuddle. He glowed in all this attention. He smiled and burbled appreciatively at all his admirers. Nepalis helped us see David’s qualities and talent for laughter.
It was interesting as you can imagine, thinking about my long journeys down the very same corridors of this very Cambridge hospital. I told Dr Jane that I don't write about my experiences with doctors (well, except the blue-eyed surgeon of course). She wondered why not. Perhaps I might, now. Particularly the good doctors. They deserve to be honoured, as human beings more than anything else.

6 comments:

Ruth said...

How happy this story makes me! To follow her heart and give her son this chance, and for his disease to be the blessing he needed to protect him . . . how immensely gratifying.

I will read anything you write, Shaista, because of who you are. But in addition, the doctor stories would be interesting, and I do hope you'll share what you can and wish.

Susan Erickson said...

These stories of yours always make me so poignantly aware of our fragility and the beauty of our lives...there to savor...not to ever neglect....

Jeanne-ming said...

Like Ruth, I will read anything you write. yeah....Why not?

Cinquefoil said...

I just found your blog, and being a fellow 'lupie' I find your writing encouraging and so full of peace. There were chills running down my spine just reading this. I will be coming back for more, and I wish you strength and love.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

What a beautiful moving passage you quote from the book. Like Ruth, I am sure anything you wish to share in the way of doctor stories would make for engaging and rewarding reading, Shaista.

Bee's Blog said...

Yes you chose a beautiful passage which sent me to the links. Thank you so much for sharing this moving piece.

it would be nice if you wrote about your doctors - but only if you're comfortable with it.

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