Friday, March 10, 2017
WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi
WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR
Paul Kalanithi was a bright young doctor with a promising future. He had completed graduate work in English and in the History and Philosophy of Science. He was just finishing his residency in Neurosurgery when he was dealt a serious blow – Kalanithi was diagnosed was cancer.
The gifted young Neurosurgeon who had helped so many people in his role as their doctor now became a patient. The scholar who was concerned with questions about death now faced death. To say that receiving such a diagnosis is life altering is an understatement.
To deal with the situation, Kalanithi wrote When Breath Becomes Air. The book gives us insight into the life of a doctor. We get a glimpse of life as a medical student, as a resident, and some of the difficulties and decisions young doctors face. Kalanithi takes us through his learning of his diagnosis, which is staggering to one who understands precisely what is being said – and not said – by that diagnosis. We see how Kalanithi applies his years of practical and theoretical learning. We are privy to the decisions that he and his wife make, such as having a child at such a difficult time.
When Breath Becomes Air was published posthumously. The book is well written, its author was very brave, and the overall reading experience was very, very sad.