The Soul of Care

The Soul of Care

8.9 out of 5 stars






Page count:272


Content Summary

A moving memoir and an extraordinary love story that shows how an expert physician became a family caregiver and learned why care is so central to all our lives and yet is at risk in today’s world. When Dr. Arthur Kleinman, an eminent Harvard psychiatrist and social anthropologist, began caring for his wife, Joan, after she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, he found just how far the act of caregiving extended beyond the boundaries of medicine. In The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor, Kleinman delivers a deeply humane and inspiring story of his life in medicine and his marriage to Joan, and he describes the practical, emotional and moral aspects of caretaking. He also writes about the problems our society faces as medical technology advances and the cost of health care soars but caring for patients no longer seems important. Caregiving is long, hard, unglamorous work–at moments joyous, more often tedious, sometimes agonizing, but it is always rich in meaning. In the face of our current political indifference and the challenge to the health care system, he emphasizes how we must ask uncomfortable questions of ourselves, and of our doctors. To give care, to be “present” for someone who needs us, and to feel and show kindness are deep emotional and moral experiences, enactments of our core values. The practice of caregiving teaches us what is most important in life, and reveals the very heart of what it is to be human. “This is the story that may offer instruction and comfort to the 40 million family caregivers in the United States, and inspiration to clinicians struggling to go beyond diagnosis and treatment—to provide care.” —The Washington Post “The Soul of Care is important. Its significance goes beyond medicine.” —New York Journal of Books “Kleinman sensitively weaves the story of his late wife Joan’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease with frank commentary on the decay of personalized patient care in this clear-eyed memoir…. Kleinman’s accessible discussion of patient care should appeal to a broad range of readers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) “[Kleinman] reminds us of the moral responsibility to provide care and describes care as the “human glue” which binds together families and communities. Beyond this connection, he contends that individual caregivers can discover purpose, revelation, and gratification in tending to others. Much more than a sad story about suffering, loss, and an inevitably downhill disease, Kleinman’s graceful narrative provides the sort of tonic that society sorely needs.” —Booklist (starred review) “The Soul of Care will leave you shakenbut instructed, with an ethical imperativeand hopeful lessons regarding howbest to cultivate one’s humanity overthe course of a lifetime.” —Paul Farmer, MD “An astute, affecting memoir, candid and prescriptive in equal measure.” —Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author “What was at stake for Arthur in his caring for Joan was nothing short of his humanity. Read this book and prepare to be both humbled and inspired.” —Jim Yong Kim, Former President of the World Bank


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Original Summary

[" “还有一位说西班牙语的农场工人,他跟我抱怨他的脊椎痛。他说,他在地里干活儿的时候,只有一把非常短的锄头,所以根本没法儿直着腰干活儿。为了减轻疼痛,他只能整日弓着腰。他来医院,想开点儿止痛药,而且得是他能买得起的。可当时的我却愚蠢得很,我让翻译帮我问问他,他为什么不辞职,然后另找份工作呢?翻译盯着我的眼睛,一句话也不说,直到无尽的沉默让我不得不道歉。” () —— 引自章节:第二章 成为医生 "," 许多同这位女士一样的患者教会了我一个很关键的道理,那就是:不管患者对于医生来讲有多么难搞、多么麻烦,患者的痛苦也永远要比你自己的痛苦更加重要。当人们处于巨大的痛苦中时——无论是那个浑身烧伤的小女孩经受的肉体痛苦,还是这个罹患边缘型人格障碍的女患者经受的精神痛苦,你都可以坐在他们身边,陪伴他们,熬过这些糟糕的时刻。而你的“在场”本身就可以成为一种照护,充满力量。而另一方面,当他们的创伤与需要让这种关系有了不得不继续下去的理由时,你也必须认识到你自己的创伤与需要,并学会掌控它们。你能够——也必须——学会控制自己的愤怒与沮丧。而且,不管实际情况中有多少冲突,你也要学会去承受患者的举止给你带来的压力。你得凭借自己的意志力接纳他们的敌意与憎恨。当然,在照护过程中,终究是那种道义互惠关系(reciprocity)最为重要,所以你的这些回应可以看作是你在努力维系这种关系。 () —— 引自章节:第五章 点燃照护的火光 "]