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Book Club: Mom’s Marijuana, pages 106-125

young adult cancer book club

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club!  We are reading Mom’s Marijuana by Dr. Dan Shapiro! Catch up on pages 1-20, pages 20-40pages 41-59, pages 60-80, and pages 80-106.

Let’s get started!

pages 106-125.

There were three parts of this section that particularly stood out to me:

Rediscovery of Food: Dan talks about how treatment ruined his experience of eating—He couldn’t taste anything, and eating became even more of a chore afterwards. After his transplant he decided to rediscover food by taking a trip to the supermarket and paying attention to everything there. Even though I had just finished a large meal when I started to read I found myself getting hungry because of his detailed descriptions of food. Before transplant he always ate quickly, not really enjoying the food or paying attention. After his supermarket rediscovery he vows to eat slowly and enjoy each bite when his taste buds return.

Chart Note: This section includes a chart note, and like the ones before they seem so cold and clinical to me. Would a doctor that knows you ever write this way? I wonder if these doctors ever stop to think about how it would feel for a patient or family member to read these. A few phrases in particular stuck out to me. “The patient encountered common post-transplant complications…”—Sure, these may be usual complications, but it feels as if this trivializes and simplifies an experience that is both unique and horrible/ scary/ painful/ traumatic. Many of the complications can be pretty horrific, and some of them can be deadly. In fact, a lot of patients and even their family members develop PTSD from these experiences. The note goes on to say that “This represented a fairly uncomplicated post-transplant course.” Is that so? I would be pretty upset if I was reading about this in my own medical record or that of a family member that had a bone marrow transplant. From reading about Dan’s experience, it sure seemed complicated and horrible to me. Even the best “by the book” transplants are complicated and traumatic.

Passionate Yet Uncaring Doctors in the Cafeteria: In this section Dan described a scene in the hospital cafeteria where he saw two doctors passionately discussing their patients, which at first impressed him. He had been impressed that they had so much passion for their work that they seemed to “throw themselves into their work with abandon.” This soon changed when Dan noticed their complete disregard for a blind patient coming towards them, obviously in unfamiliar surroundings and needing their help. Instead of helping the patient find the tray return, they stepped aside so the patient didn’t walk into them, and watched as he banged into the counter and fell down. A cafeteria worker helped him up from the floor, and the doctors went back to their discussion as if nothing had happened. An illuminating experience that demonstrates that sometimes a passion for medicine is more academic than about actually caring for others. This is such a sad disconnect.

– Marc K


Join in next Monday for comments and discussion on the next 20 pages of the book!

Thanks for joining us for pages 106-125 of Mom’s Marijuana by Dr. Dan Shapiro!  Join in next Monday for the next 20 pages of the book!

If you’re just joining us, here are some logistics:

The chapters and sections of this book are organized differently than in a book we’ve read together before.  So instead of going chapter by chapter, we’ll go about 20 pages at a time each Monday. We’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss.  Join in, in the comments every week!  At the end, we’ll have a book club discussion via video chat!  Also, there will probably be spoilers.  Read along with us!

How are you enjoying our young adult cancer book club?