- Copertina flessibile: 110 pagine
- Editore: Iuniverse Inc (10 agosto 2004)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0595318827
- ISBN-13: 978-0595318827
- Peso di spedizione: 136 g
The Gift Of Life (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 10 ago 2004
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Author Jean Lynch, a registered nurse with over 40 years experience, enjoys country living in Montpelier, Virginia. Lynch is currently writing a fiction novel that relates to her days in nurses training.
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There is hope, however, if physicians catch the disease early. Drugs are always an option, and a lung transplant can help prolong life significantly if the body does not reject the new organ. Sadly, Linda failed to respond to either drugs or a transplant. Doctors, ever the ruthless pragmatists, decided not to perform another transplant when the first one failed. Enter "The Gift of Life," a book that captures perfectly the hope, the indecision, the guilt, the agony, and the other thousand or so emotions inherent in dealing with a sick loved one. Compounding the tragedy contained within these pages is the fact that we have a mother struggling to save her eldest child, a mother who worked as a registered nurse with terminal patients for decades. The experience gained from years of watching others slip away provides little relief when dealing with your own flesh and blood, and Lynch's account contains all the frustrations and angers that arise when dealing with the byzantine structure known as the American medical establishment; a medical establishment that won't give a woman another lung transplant when the first one failed to take. A medical establishment that shunts patients off to hospice care when a chance for recovery could still exist. A medical establishment that allows interns to tell patients they probably won't receive further treatment because they won't live.
Jean Lynch's chronicle of her late daughter's illness rocked me to the core because I'm currently watching a loved one struggle with terminal lung and bone cancer. Like Jean and Linda, I've sat in hospital rooms for hours on end praying for the time that we could take our family member home. I've listened to four different doctors--or more, there are always more doctors--give four or more different opinions on why my relative is in the hospital again. I've heard a doctor hand down a death sentence with more finality than a prisoner guilty of capital murder ever heard from a judge, only to learn a few weeks later that the latest, last hope treatment appears to be working. I've seen a loved in one in so much pain that she could only lie in bed and shake with agony and fear. I've seen family members trying to cope with the impending tragedy and ever present uncertainty in ways good and bad. It is difficult, if not impossible, to go through what Jean and Linda did without feeling anger at those around you. At the same time, the anger is often irrational when placed into the larger context of the tragedy. But that sort of reflection comes much later, apparently, and not in the midst of visits to the doctor, painful treatments, and all the other nastiness that comes with a terminal illness.
The book concludes with protracted and agonizing descriptions of Linda's final days at her mother's home. Jean and her other daughter Sandra cared for their relative right up to the last moment with only minimal assistance from hospice nurses. I'm surprised that Linda stayed with her mother and not in a hospice ward. My ill relative has made it abundantly clear that she wishes to spend her last days in a facility where she can receive around the clock care, primarily to save us from the agony of watching her expire at home. These discussions on hospice care highlight a situation that is assuming great importance in the medical field. As the American population ages millions will soon have to make a decision about where and how they wish to spend their final hours. How will people afford this treatment? Will the government provide assistance? How will hospice change to meet the growing demands placed upon it by society? Jean Lynch brings to light another important aspect of this seldom discussed treatment, namely who decides which patients go into hospice and when. Lynch expresses anger that the doctors wrote her daughter off as a lost cause when options still existed to extend her life. These are problems most of us will face far too soon.
I won't say I enjoyed "The Gift of Life" because it is not the type of book one reads for pleasure. What it does do is provide a record of a personal tragedy extraordinarily close to when it unfolded. Lynch's narrative is almost stream of consciousness in that the reader gets the sense the author threw everything down on the page before she had a chance to work it out in her own mind. Since I am going through a slightly similar situation right now, trust me when I say that many of her thoughts and feelings are totally authentic. "The Gift of Life" is a tough, demanding read that will hopefully find a wider audience.
Jean Lynch is sometimes critical of some of the medical professionals who treated her daughter. Obviously, this book served in some measure to purge some of the helpless anger she still feels. Some would say she is overcritical and maybe even lashing out at others from the depths of her own pain and feeling of helplessness. I won't criticize her for this. Whether she is right or wrong in some of her criticisms (some of them seem valid to me, but I only know the one side of the story), what else should she write in these pages other than the truth of her feelings? She would fail in her goal of trying to help other families in the future deal with the critical illness of a loved if she was not completely honest about her own ordeal. She describes a number of things she did not know about transplant recovery and Hospice - and if a registered nurse was unfamiliar with these things, the odds are the reader is, as well. Writing The Gift of Life must have been incredibly painful for the author, but I think she has done readers a great service. It is important to note that she goes out of her way in the preface to praise those in the care-giving profession and to apologize to anyone, including transplant patients, who might be offended or discouraged by what she writes here in her memoir. Transplantation is a very risky medical procedure, and the complications that may result can be agonizing. You don't just get your new organ and go merrily on your way, and Lynch clearly demonstrates this.
The true audience of this book is probably Jean Lynch's family, but I found the book to be a rewarding read. It's so personal that you begin to see yourself there around Linda's bed, admiring her courage and praying for her life to be spared - and you hurt when she loses the battle. The Gift of Life has certainly educated one person about a disease few have ever heard of, and the facts of the illness and the likelihood of misdiagnosis early in life could conceivably help someone out there find treatment earlier on in life. Most of all, though, the book does reinforce the importance of appreciating every day of your life and making sure that those around you know how important you are to them.
Loss of a loved one, especially an offspring, is surely one of the most difficult trials to endure. Couple that with the fact that the gene causing the death was transmitted to the child by the mother compounds the agony with guilt and being a part of the 'healing arts profession', knowing first hand that there are no absolutes in the art of medicine, makes this particular memoir understandably a rage not unlike that described by Dylan Thomas.
Jean Lynch acknowledges all of these facts in the preface to the book and bravely proceeds to publish this purge intact, knowing and now understanding her anger. Her stated purposes in writing THE GIFT OF LIFE are 1) to acquaint the public with the rare disorder of Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (a genetically inherited inability to produce a substance that protects the lungs from the ill effects of white blood cells against the microanatomy of lung tissue, resulting in the slow deterioration of the lungs and an entity that could be easily diagnosed if only physicians tested for it early on in patients with pulmonary problems); 2) to encourage her readers to sign up as organ donors for transplants; 3) to bring discussion about the Hospice Program that is little known, understood, and at times misused.
The book details the special quality of Lynch's daughter, her life and strength of character in facing a terminal illness, the delayed diagnosis, the coldness of the medical profession, the trauma (and some praise) for the organ transplant program (lung transplants remain rather infrequent), and the gradual dying process and the fears and terror associated with the responses and responsibilities of Hospice nurses, physicians, and family. The closure conflicts that accompany death provide the final chapter of this straightforward document and Lynch does indeed accomplish the missions of her original intentions.
There is a fine line between sharing personal experiences as a purge for a writer and creating a written work that is more universal in perspective, one that becomes less a diatribe of unique issues and more a common ground that allows the reader to identify and personalize in order go beyond reportage. Perhaps allowing more time to elapse before putting a memoir such as this into publication would have given more perspective to being more healing in nature instead of the rage, which while no one could deny the validity of such response especially from an RN, seems just a bit too external rather than internalized philosophy. This book is definitely informative and to that end it deserves reader attention. The more that is said and written about the full cycle of life, whether natural or interrupted, the better the understanding for each of us as to the gift that truly is life. Grady Harp, January 2005
Ms. Lynch tells her story with raw emotion and deep conviction. She takes us into the life of Linda, at times a young child, at others a mom and still at other times a loving daughter. The author impresses upon our hearts and minds that Linda was a person, with a husband, children and a purpose in life.
We are taken with Linda through her illness, her lung transplant and the failure of that endeavor. We walk with her through her final days and we share with Ms. Lynch the sorrow of losing her.
This work is a mom's tribute to her daughter and to a soul that could have been here longer had things been handled differently.
A heartwarming story of family, love and loyalty and one that brings the awareness of a disease that those with lung problems should be tested for.
Thank you Ms. Lynch, my heart and prayers are with you.
You never know .intil It happends to you.Much love to you Jean lynch and her family . I wish yall the best of luck,and lets only hope more people get to be lucky enough
to read this great book,like i was.