This book is like, a million dollars on Amazon (it’s more like $40 new). But still, WHY is it so expensive? Apparently it’s one of those “must reads” for nurses so naturally, I read it, hoping (foolishly) that people’s advice would be accurate. Should have known better.
This book outlines a middle aged woman’s experience with a severe case of Guillain Barre, which leaves her temporarily paralyzed and at the mercy of hospital personnel for almost a year. After being discharged from the hospital, she continues to struggle for years with periodic weakness and muscle control issues, not to mention the constant fear that the syndrome will suddenly reappear without notice.
Here are a few sentences that sum up my feelings about the book: Understandable but boring. We get it but stop complaining. That sucks but are you really surprised? The book’s title should have been “Incompetent assholes — They’re Everywhere.” She spends a lot of time complaining, which I understand and might be able to forgive if it weren’t for her rudimentary writing skills. There is no depth in her story telling, no sense of narrative or creativity. I’m not sure how her “diary of annoyances” has gotten so much positive attention.
Some of her complaints are legit. Like, a nurse washing her mouth out with pure peroxide or turning her without making sure her respirator is in place properly. Other complaints, she’s just splitting hairs. She’s frustrated that she can see the nurses eating their lunch at the nursing station when she has to eat through a feeding tube? Are you f*cking serious? Get over yourself. Nurses aren’t there to make you comfortable and secure every moment of the day. We’re there to help you survive. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Now, this is just what I’ve been able to find out through minimal research but after Sue Baier (the author and patient) recovered, there is no effort made on her part to remedy the situation. She doesn’t notify the hospital of poor patient care, she doesn’t report anyone for medical negligence nor does she lobby for change at an administrative level. The only thing I could find was her name listed under the board of directors for a Guillain Barre Foundation’s newsletter.
Even more annoying is the fact that she never “faces her perpetrators,” which is partly due to high nurse turn-over (i.e., her nurses were already gone by the time she was discharged) but also partly due to… what exactly? She just wasted hours of my life, complaining page after page, only to end with “Ok, I’m out now, bye.” No spilt blood? No cussing anyone out? No katana swords or bullets flying? BORRRRRING!
I can’t imagine how terrifying and depressing her situation must have been. Not only the struggle with the disease itself but the inability to be a part of her family’s life for a whole year = devastating. I’m not denying that. What I am denying is that a situation that requires a person to persevere and survive automatically equals a good book. ERK, WRONG! A compelling story filled with unexpected insights coupled with talented writing equals a good book. Next.