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Under review: Getting to know nurses with 'When Chicken Soup Isn't Enough'

When Chicken Soup Isn't Enough

Cornell University Press, $24.95

This anthology of 70 first-person essays about nursing starts out with a feisty introduction by editor Suzanne Gordon slamming the stereotype of nurses "as modern angels endowed with extraordinary powers of empathy and compassion" rather than health care professionals who benefit from education and job experience.

One chapter is called "Excuse Me, Doctor, You're Wrong"; another is "Choking on Sugar and Spice: Challenging Nurses' Public Image." Elizabeth Kozub, identified as an intensive care unit nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital, describes standing up for all kind of nursing caregivers at a Thanksgiving dinner where someone made an ignorant remark about midwives. "I couldn't just let his comment stand," she writes. "Nursing needed to be made visible here, and I was the only one who could do it."

Hypochondriac's Handbook

Syndromes, Diseases, and Ailments That Probably Should Have Killed You by Now (Skyhorse Publishing, $12.95)

This novelty book of 29 bizarre ailments could be the worst thing to happen to hypochondriacs since WebMD. There's so much more to fear than cancer, Alzheimer's and meningitis! (Though it's best not to worry, because that can lead to headaches and ulcers.)

Is that small cut infected with flesh-eating bacteria? Is that bump on your ear the beginning of a cutaneous horn? Some of the disorders are iffy, such as carrot addiction and electric human syndrome. (Author Ian Landau writes in a disclaimer that "most scientists deny the possibility that people can become electrified.") If you're not a hypochondriac, this is a very amusing book.

The 90-Day Fitness Challenge

Harvest House Publishers, $13.99

Fans of TV's The Biggest Loser may remember South Carolina couple Phil and Amy Parham, who lost a combined 250 pounds on the sixth season of the show in 2008. The Parhams are sharing their secrets (relying on God . . . and eating less) in their Christianity-based dieting program, The 90-Day Fitness Challenge.

The book offers only a little behind‑the‑scenes Loser dirt, but it confirms criticism that the show's weight-loss tactics are excessive: "The things the producers don't show you are the blisters that cover the contestants' feet, the toenails that fall off, the knees that are braced, and the ankles that are wrapped. They don't show the contestants crawling to the bathroom because they are too sore to walk."

Under review: Getting to know nurses with 'When Chicken Soup Isn't Enough' 07/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 29, 2010 4:26pm]

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