The story of journalist-businessman Temple Williams’s three-year journey navigating the treacherous waters of the modern medical system.
Warrior Patient: A Memoir About Survival, Hope, Love & Laughter
A cancer diagnosis is scary enough. What most of us don’t expect is that our lives will be more endangered by the people and methods employed to cure us than by the disease itself. This is exactly what Temple Williams experiences when his prostate cancer leads to a three-year-long comedy of errors that includes massive infection, kidney failure, partial blindness, seeping open wounds, and on and on. Through his experience, Temple transformed from a passive receiver of medical wisdom to an active advocate for his own best interests–a Warrior Patient. His memoir tells his story and in the process offers hope and guidance to others who find themselves victimized at the most vulnerable time in their lives by the very system that is supposed to help them.
Though the subject matter is serious–and the details often raw and graphic–Williams tell his story with a surprising lightness. His rich humor and conversational style draws the reader in and keeps you with him even through the toughest parts of the narrative. And it gets really tough as combination of poor medical practices and inane miscommunication lead Williams to the brink of disability and death.
Chapter by chapter we are taken from a simple fall on the tennis court (that has repercussions that are anything but simple), step by step (or cock-up by cock-up) through Williams’s saga. Interwoven with the main narrative are episodes from his life that show Williams is no stranger to life-threatening situations. As a young journalist in New York City, his undercover investigation of the subway police nearly got him killed. And in Africa, he had a close-up and personal introduction to a Malawian prison. After these close calls and several others, the last place he probably expected to face annihilation was in a urologist’s office in Boca Raton, Florida.
Williams’s close, quick-paced account reveals how much of patient care both in the hospital and out is arranged for the convenience of doctors and staff rather than in the best interests of the people they are supposed to be curing. For instance, catheterization is normally standard procedure upon admittance to the hospital, though it is often unnecessary and can lead to serious infection. Then there’s the reluctance of medical professionals to actively communicate with patients. At its most innocent, this failure to engage can leave people confused and unsure as they struggle to understand the details of their condition. At worst it leaves them ignorant of their full range of treatment options and the possible negative, even devastating, side effects of those options.
Throughout the book, Williams offers tips to turn his readers into Warrior Patients. He demonstrates how vital it is that patients arm themselves with knowledge of their own condition and of the backgrounds of those they are trusting to treat them. Williams emphasizes each patient’s right to demand honesty and competency from their medical professional…and to fire those professionals who fall short.
In closing, WARRIOR PATIENT is not only full of humor and riveting drama, it instructs and empowers readers how to–literally–fight for their lives in a medical system that considers those they serve more as economic units than as flesh and blood human beings.