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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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What a heartbreaking story. Abraham Verghese chronicles the story of his early years as a young internist in the United States as he begins to find a place for himself in his field of specialty, infectious diseases. As he settles himself and his young family in a small town in Tennessee, he finds himself treating some of the earliest patients with HIV AIDS. As the numbers grow, he is learning that he is not simply treating one disease; he is becoming the primary care physician for these patients at a time when very little was known about the disease, and very little could be done. Blood tests to test for it were only beginning to be done, and the stigma was enormous. Verghese was not only the doctor who cared for them, but he also began to trace how and where the virus was contracted and travelled, within the States in those early years. As he became more involved in the lives of some of his patients, he also chronicled the effect and the toll it took on them and their families, as well as on his own personal and family life.

More than once, Verghese reflects that he wants to learn how to help his patients have a good death; that their suffering with this disease is difficult enough throughout its duration. The physician, no matter how good, how competent, and how compassionate, still feels helpless at the end. It is vital that the patients themselves be a part of the decision-making regarding how they want to die, what measures they want or don't want, to be taken when that time comes. In this, I found an interesting overlap with another book I recently read, *Being Mortal* by Atul Gawande.

It's been 25 years since this book ended. I now want to google and read more on Verghese and where his path has led him in those years. He is a gifted writer and observer of the human condition. This was not an easy book to read but it was one I could not put down. ( )
  jessibud2 | Nov 30, 2015 |
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 |
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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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