His final chapter has 20 rules for patients with explanations of each one; here are 1--10:
1 Never under estimate luck--good or bad;
2 Find a doctor who cares about you;
3Never trade quality for quantity of life;
4 Live your life with death in it;
5 You cannot dodge the bullet with your name on it,
6 Ask your doctor to pray with you,
7 Never believe anyone who says "nothing will go wrong"
8 Don't be turned into just another patient
9 Listen to your favorite music
10 Never let hospital rules interfere with patient visiting hours
Pg. 167, "What one is to become is largely predetermined by forces beyond our control, ...we ride our destiny....the sensibility of discipline and self determination draws its inspiration from an earlier stage in life for which we are hardly able to assume responsibility." He explains that luck and hope are flip sides of a coin and gives a harrowing example of what occurs in medicine when hope is removed. However he does not advocate sugar coating nor deluding oneself in a terminal status, he acknowledges there is a time to not pursue further treatment. I am purchasing another copy of this book to give to our wonderful family physician at Mayo. I hope he will be as intrigued as I was. It is brave and different for a prominent physician to write such a book, especially in these times of health care reform; his acceptance of the unknown and alternative medicine makes him distinctly different.
|The front jacket|
|Inside the book cover|
|Front of the book|
Lillian worked for 30 years at the White House, beginning as a seamstress in the days when mending and alterations were the norm, her mother, Maggie Rogers, preceded her with 30 years service and for 10 years their service overlapped. Maggie often brought the young child, Lillian along to work because she had no place to leave her. Lillian, born in February 1897, had polio at age 4 and walked the rest of her life with crutches as shown on the book cover photo; she lived to be 100. She does not say much about her retirement or even the date/year although it is assumed to be 1960 during the Eisenhower time. If there is any presidential family of disappointment it is the Eisenhowers. She thought he would be friendly after the "I like Ike" campaign slogan, but infact he was not and Mamie reveled in running a formal military like household with perfection, even requiring the carpets be sept to not show any foot track prints. That kept the help quite busy sweeping each time someone entered and left a room. The stories are accompanied with historical photos, and backstairs wisdom, it precedes the current "The Help" in a far grander setting. It's a book I will keep and browse through again. ****
Before I found "30 Years..." I found an old copy of Upstairs at the White House, My Life with the First Ladies by J.B.West who served as assistant and Chief Usher of the White House between 1941-1969, published in 1973, 368 pages. I read this book first and absolutely enjoyed it. I recall hearing about it when it was released but hadn't read it then. As I have said before, there are plenty of wonderful old books to be read, it need not be a current best seller. I frequent book sales where $1 to 50 cents are top prices for these books; and I volunteer at our local used "bookshelf room" where we accept and sell used books to raise $$ for our local library. Working there gives me pick of the litter that we accumulate between monthly sales. This book is a warm anecdotal, historical look at the lives of six Presidents and First Ladies, Roosevelt's through Nixon's, from a very discreet gentleman, Mr. West. It is a perfect companion to "30 Years...." I learned a lot about the White House workings and the duties of a chief usher, a position that remains today and how the usher announces all who meet with the president. Photos of the bedrooms of the presidents and first ladies are inside the cover front and back and many other photos are throughout the book, "profusely illustrated with photographs" as the jacket inside reads. The book is historic itself because the inside original price is only $8.95 a fine hardback first edition! Between both books, reading about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt was the most amusing to me although the funniest stories were about the temperamental French chef's brought in by Jacqueline Kennedy.
Sometimes we forget the drama and accomplishments of the first ladies but Mr. West does not. Page 367, "All the First Ladies I've known have been exceptionally strong in spirit. They came in that way, because they'd been able to share their husbands' grueling political road to the White House......And each of them has performed a great public service to the people of America, filling a role that is nonappointive, nonelective, certainly nonpaid, the most demanding volunteer job in America." After reading both books, about the families, the personalities, their friends and pets, I wonder if some staff could carry these forward with a sequel, or if it has been politically banned. Both books are written with dignity; avoiding sex and scandals although the 2008 update to "30 Years." acknowledges the Roosevelt mistresses. Both books reflect history from a close internal perspective and I recommend both as great comfortable reads. *****