Originally published in: 2018
What it’s about: Oh, just another woman who got ignored by doctors because she had pain in her lady bits.
What made me pick it up: Honestly, I saw the title and thought it’d be like a funny how-to guide to women’s reproductive health. It was more of a memoir about one woman’s experience with chronic pain and endometriosis.
My favorite parts: It’s hard to have favorite parts from such a heartbreaking book, so I guess it would be just having yet another example for doctors to see that points out their obvious dismissal of women and their symptoms. Also, there is good information here on how disparate the health information and research are on these issues including the almost total lack of training in medical disciplines. Endometriosis is a debilitating disease most women find hard to even have properly diagnosed, let alone treated with care. It ruins lives, as this story makes abundantly clear, and women deserve better.
Who should read this: Medical professionals, of any stripe. Men. And women who want to find or provide solidarity to those suffering.
Originally published in: 2018
What it’s about: I’ll let the subtitle speak for itself – “The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick”.
What made me pick it up: A while ago one of my friends added it as to-read on Goodreads and then I eventually put a hold on it and here we are.
My favorite parts: I guess my favorite part is the validation this book provides many women with serious conditions who find it very hard to get adequate, and sometimes any, treatment from medical professionals. The book is well written and informative but sheesh, it’s 2019 and we’re still being written off as hysterical women. It’s very upsetting. I spent the entirety of the book being grateful for not having had most of these experiences yet and being saddened by all the friends I have who suffer from MS, thyroid conditions, fibromyalgia, undiagnosed Lyme, vulvodynia, and vaginismus and all the insufficient remedies they’ve been given. I have certainly been given ridiculously dismissive medical treatment like being told my dysmenorrhea would get better after I had a baby – advice no 16 year old needs to hear. “Don’t worry, you only have to suffer through these symptoms for at least another decade but once you give birth all will be resolved! In the meantime here is a cure-all oral contraceptive!” I know what it’s like to go to doctor after doctor hoping someone will listen and offer actual, helpful treatment. I also know the joy and relief of finding one who does. Women’s whole health and lives are being affected by this poor treatment – from employment to relationships to the will to go on living. The medical profession must do better. Believe women. Trust women. We know our bodies. It’s not all in our heads.
Who it’s great for: All women. And also everybody else, especially doctors.
Originally published in: 2017
What it’s about: A (former) doctor in the National Health Service in the UK on why it’s great and why it’s awful and why he eventually had to leave.
What made me pick it up: I love memoirs. I love medicine and all things miscellany about the body. And I enjoy humor writing. This had it all.
My favorite parts: This book is hilarious for the first ¾. Kay tells ghastly stories with heart and levity like you expect he’d do at any party, if he could get out of work in time to attend. Then it reverses completely and the reveal he promised you takes up the next ¼ of the book – why he left. It’s so sincere, and powerful, and profoundly sad you will be in tears. Failed relationships, rocky friendships, low pay, and no breaks bring him to his decision to walk away. Anyone who has ever had a job they invested much of themselves in for a long period of time, trained for, and overspent resources qualifying to do can relate. Now add the horrific pressure to save lives, and the catastrophic realization that sometimes you can’t.
Who it’s great for: Fans of medical memoirs, tv shows, movies/documentaries. Former or current medical professionals or their close relatives.
Find this book in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).