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My Own Country. by Abraham. VERGHESE

My Own Country. (edition 1994)

by Abraham. VERGHESE

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Title:My Own Country.
Authors:Abraham. VERGHESE
Info:Simon and Schuster, (1994), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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My Own Country: A Doctor's Story by Abraham Verghese (Author)



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In this book, Abraham Verghese writes about treating AIDS patients as a doctor in rural Tennessee in the 1980s. Verghese was born and raised in Ethiopia to Indian parents, attended medical school in India, and completed his residency in Johnson City, Tennesee. He spent a few years in Boston, and then returned to Johnson City and worked in the hospital there, specializing in infectious diseases. By default, he became the HIV/AIDS specialist for Johnson City, and much of the surrounding rural area.

When he arrived in Tennessee in the early 1980s, there had been no reported cases of HIV in the area and little was known about the disease. He writes about the stigma surrounding the disease the harsh reaction from some community members and medical professionals when confronted with HIV postive individuals. Verghese struggles with his own prejudices towards his patients, noting his different reaction to his patients who contracted HIV through promiscious sexual activity and those who contracted the virus through a blood transfusion.

This book encompasses a lot. Verghese tells the stories of a lot of his patients, the story of how he came to feel at home in eastern Tennessee, and how his work affected his marraige. I learned a lot about HIV/AIDS. The book was engaging and well written, and I would recommend it.

( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
A rural US doctor's account of AIDS in the early '80s. Abraham explores the relationships he develops with his patients and their families. He describes his work, his commitment to it, his relationships with other health professionals, his personal doubts, the effect on his family, his otherness (a boy of southern Indian parents but raised in Ethiopia), his attachment to his new home town. It is a deeply intimate portrait of a doctor at work in a particular time and place. It is extremely well written and very moving. ( )
  devilish2 | Aug 12, 2014 |
My Own Country is a tough book to read. There are so many stories of people struggling to live in the early years before there were any treatments to make living with HIV at all possible. There's also the growing despair of the author as he sees the disease spreading through his rural town and of course across the globe and not having anything he can do beyond diagnosing the disease and treating the opportunistic diseases that attack his patients.

By about page 250 I began to grow numb from the overload off all the personal stories. The book as well begins to ramble a bit but I can fully understand why Dr. Verghese chose to leave for a less stressful job. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 4, 2014 |
I just finished My Own Country by Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting For Stone. Although this book was written before Cutting for Stone, chronologically, it takes place after he finishes medical school and his residencies. It details his journey into the world of AIDS as an Infectious Disease Specialist just as the AIDS epidemic was beginning. I can only say that we should all be lucky enough to have a physician like Dr. Verghese. The story was inspiring and intiquing. Very definitely a good read! ( )
  LoisB | Sep 20, 2013 |
I don't think I would have picked up this book about the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s if it hadn't been set in the area of the country where I grew up. I am very glad I did. Abraham Verghese writes with rare honesty and compassion. I don't think I've read anything like this that treats both gay people and Christians with sympathy. The book is also unusual in its positive treatment of rural Appalachia, whose people are most often caricatured and belittled.

Not only is the story of the AIDS patients framed in an intriguingly misunderstood location, but the author's own story is one of being misunderstood and not belonging as an ethnic Indian raised in Africa who now works in this part of America that he seems to want to embrace more sincerely than any American that I've ever met. His story perfectly complements the larger story he is telling:
...the story of how a generation of young men, raised to self-hatred, had risen above the definitions that their society and upbringings had used to define them. It was the story of the hard and sometimes lonely journeys they took far from home into a world more complicated than they imagined and far more dangerous than anyone could have known. There was something courageous about this voyage, the breakaway, the attempt to create places where they could live with pride.

No matter how long I practice medicine, no matter what happens with this retrovirus, I will not be able to forget these young men, the little towns they came from, and the cruel, cruel irony of what awaited them in the big city. ( )
  theonetruesteph | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679752927, Paperback)

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City had always seemed exempt from the anxieties of modern American life. But when the local hospital treated its first AIDS patient, a crisis that had once seemed an “urban problem” had arrived in the town to stay.
Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Dr. Verghese became by necessity the local AIDS expert, soon besieged by a shocking number of male and female patients whose stories came to occupy his mind, and even take over his life. Verghese brought a singular perspective to Johnson City: as a doctor unique in his abilities; as an outsider who could talk to people suspicious of local practitioners; above all, as a writer of grace and compassion who saw that what was happening in this conservative community was both a medical and a spiritual emergency.
Out of his experience comes a startling but ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland as it confronts—and surmounts—its deepest prejudices and fears.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A young doctor of eastern Tennessee describes the town's first introduction to the AIDS virus, which preceded a disturbing epidemic and introduced the doctor to many unique people.

(summary from another edition)

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