To say that the practice of palliative care comes to vivid life in Sunita Puri’s pages may seem like a bad choice of words. But her memoir about tending to seriously, often incurably, sick people pulls off that feat ... Visceral and lyrical ... In a high-tech world, [Puri’s] specialty is not cures, but questions—about pain, about fraught prospects, about what ‘miracle’ might really mean. Her tool is language, verbal and physical. Wielding carefully measured words, can she guide but not presume to dictate? Heeding the body’s signals, not just beeping monitors, can she distinguish between a fixable malady and impending death? Puri the doctor knows that masterful control isn’t the point. For Puri the writer, her prose proves that it is.
Puri's writing shines when it's most personal; considering the intersection between spirituality and science, and seeing people turn to or away from faith in times of illness ... An affecting read about the limits of medicine and embracing that which is beyond one's control. The stories of Puri's patients and their families will resonate with readers.
This thoughtful treatise on life, death, and medicine should make readers feel more grateful for every day they have because, as Puri and her colleagues come to realize, no one knows what’s coming, or when, to their loved ones or themselves.
There are moments of grace and humor (she cries with a grieving daughter; plays along with an ailing man who jokes that his swollen belly is a pregnancy). In talking with families and patients, Puri comes to realize the vital importance of discussing difficult topics before a crisis arises, and making decisions based upon what best serves the patient’s dignity and quality of life. Communication, she concludes, is the basis of the doctor-patient relationship, perhaps especially so in the final days of life. This is a powerful memoir, which Puri narrates with honesty, poise, and empathy.
Puri hits the ground running with an impressive debut ... Using often heart-rending examples, the author emphasizes that the best treatment of advanced cancer may not be more toxic chemotherapy ... A profound meditation on a problem many of us will face; worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal (2014).