In her inspiring and powerful debut, In Shock, Dr Rana Awdish gifts us with a raw and honest account of her passage through death.
Seven months into her pregnancy and at the cusp of completing her fellowship as a pulmonary intensive care unit physician, Awdish finds herself crossing the line from being an ICU physician to becoming the severely ill. With gallons of blood loss, Awdish takes us with her through the “Triad of Death”, a medical term describing the suicidal downward spiraling of the blood. Along with the ride, readers are plunged into her intimate recall of the vulnerability endured by both patients and physicians alike.
In Shock lays bare medicine’s failure in not seeing patients as people, but as pathology to be diagnosed; disease to be treated. “Can you show me where you see that?” An obstetrical resident asks Awdish to show him her own baby’s pulseless fetal heart on the ultrasound. “She is trying to die on us”, or “Are you sure your pain is an 8? I just gave you morphine.” This myriad of seemingly benign questions from her treating medical teams repeatedly drive sharp insults into her fresh wounds. From these conversations, she realizes with a great pang, that perhaps her previous healthy self has also harbored similar sentiments.
While bearing witness from the receiving end of healthcare, Awdish’s unmistaken love and compassion took a 180-degree turn. She reflects back on the vulnerability healthcare providers face while dealing with day-to-day fatigue, burn out, and failures. In fact, she gives us an insight that most physicians who have ever disappointed a patient can relate: “I built a tower in honor of my patient inside of me, stacking failure upon shame onto blocks of grief and blame. A tower bound to topple.” Awdish cuts through the struggles among health-care professionals in her profoundly insightful, exquisitely genuine memoir.
Through her haunting narrative, this painful ordeal transforms into a love story. In Shock is by all account, a tender and loving recall of Awdish and her loved ones eventual recovery and trimph over illness. It is an unforgettable phoenix resurrection where honesty and compassion are born from ashes. It is a must read for every human being. Get it in kindle, hardcover, or as MP3CD.