A History of the Present Illness: Stories

A History of the Present Illness: Stories

by Louise Aronson


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A History of the Present Illness takes readers into overlooked lives in the neighborhoods, hospitals, and nursing homes of San Francisco, offering a deeply humane and incisive portrait of health and illness in America today. An elderly Chinese immigrant sacrifices his demented wife's well-being to his son's authority. A busy Latina physician's eldest daughter's need for more attention has disastrous consequences. A young veteran's injuries become a metaphor for the rest of his life. A gay doctor learns very different lessons about family from his life and his work. And a psychiatrist who advocates for the underserved may herself be crazy. Together, these honest and compassionate stories introduce a striking new literary voice and provide a view of what it means to be a doctor and a patient unlike anything we've read before.

In the tradition of Oliver Sacks and Abraham Verghese, Aronson's writing is based on personal experience and addresses topics of current social relevance. Masterfully told, A History of the Present Illness explores the role of stories in medicine and creates a world pulsating with life, speaking truths about what makes us human.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620400074
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 01/14/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 685,042
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Louise Aronson has an MFA from Warren Wilson College and an MD from Harvard. She has received the Sonora Review prize, the New Millennium short fiction award, and three Pushcart nominations. Her fiction has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review and the Literary Review, among other publications. She is an associate professor of medicine at UCSF, where she cares for older patients and directs the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center and UCSF Medical Humanities. She lives in San Francisco.

Table of Contents

Snapshots from an Institution 1

An American Problem 11

Giving Good Death 23

Heart Failure 41

Becoming a Doctor 65

After 95

Twenty-five Things I Know About My Husband's Mother 101

Soup or Sex? 107

Fires and Flat Lines 115

The Psychiatrist's Wife 121

Blurred Boundary Disorder 137

Vital Signs Stable 151

Days of Awe 171

Lucky You 195

The Promise 225

A Medical Story 237

Acknowledgments 257

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