Saturday, August 30, 2014

100 Book Project: Book #65 - Wonderful Indeed (Angels in the ER by Robert D. Lesslie, MD)

Angels in the ER by Robert D. Lesslie, MD

Hello, My Name is Melissa and I’m a bookaholic.

Even though I haven’t finished over 40 of the 138 books my students assigned me before this semester, I still succumbed to the insanity of my addiction and asked this semester’s students for more books. 

I planned to spend today writing up a list of all the new books I’d been assigned but I couldn’t, because I had to cancel classes the day two of my classes were bringing me books. 

I never wanted to be the professor who cancels class the first week but  this is what happened. 

 Last Sunday I woke up unable to move my right hand. I thought I slept on it funny, so I rubbed it, stretched it, and ignored it.  Monday it got worse. Tuesday, worse – so bad, in fact, I walked in to my new class and dropped my half-full diet coke right in the doorway because my hand was too weak to hold it. 

Probably my awesomest first impression ever, besides the year that my shirt zipper broke before the first day of class so my only option was to turn my shirt backwards and wear it to class. (Top that.)

On Thursday I go to my doctor. We look at all sorts of blood tests I need for scary diseases that could be causing this sudden onset of pain when she points at the cast on my left foot.

How did you hurt your foot?
Walking the dog.

She nods. I nod.

I remember, right then, holding fast to my dog’s collar when she suddenly leapt into the air and tried to fly into a tree after a squirrel.

She nods at my story and then asks how long I’ve had “this dog” because it seems like she’s putting quite a beating on me. 

I shrug the question off and ask what to do next. She sends me to another doctor, and that one does more squeezing and pulling and squinting at x-rays then puts my hand in a splint with orders to keep it immobilized for two weeks (except for typing, right? I didn't ask, but that’s OK, right?) and here we are.

I can’t yet give you the list of all the books my students are assigning me for this 150+ book project, but I did already finish one: Angels in the ER by Robert D. Lesslie, MD.

 I’m not sure that I haven’t read this book before, the stories seem familiar, or maybe it’s the format of meditative vignettes that feels like a deeper “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” 

Before I started the book I marched it into Zoe’s room and waved it in front of her, trying to distract her from three pages of algebra sprawled across her lap and bed, highlighted green yellow pink and orange with evidence of her concentration.

Looky! An ER book!

She pulled a headphone out, nodded at me and said; “Thanks, leave it right there” pointed at the foot of her bed and went back to solving polynomials and their friends. 

I hug it to myself and leave the room. She follows me and spots a book called Uglies, which I’m pretty sure she finished before lunchtime the next day.

I read Angels in the ER over the course of a morning and afternoon, although I could have finished it faster. It’s the kind of book that keeps good company, speaking in sentences, pages, chapters or hours, whichever you need.  

Written by a physician who is also a talented storyteller and devout Christian, each of these stories take the reader to the edges of the human experience – grief, mercy, patience, violence, faith, addiction, deceit – then brings them back, concluding each lesson with the spiritual fruits that come from walking with each other through our darkest days.

I really enjoyed this book (although I did find out it takes two hands to hold a diet coke and a book at the same time, which is one more hand than I have), because the author is a man who didn’t take a singular path in life: he could’ve decided to call himself a “doctor” and let that direct his identity. Instead, he chose the harder path of  finding all of his talents and using them to light the path for others. Wonderful indeed.

After typing this up for you but before reading the final proof, and putting the splint back on my hand (you saw nothing, got that?) I reach into my bag of books pick book #66, a slim white covered book with the head-scratching confusing title, “Nice Girls Finish Last.” I’m a nice girl (I think) and have no idea what that title means or this book could be about, so I decide to read it before the FSU game tonight.