Cats Don’t Hike

cats_dont_hike is a book about a family. Born out of years of newspaper columns detailing the laughter and lessons of marriage and parenthood, this book is all about the growth of love through sickness, health, hard work, messes, vacations and everything in between.

It is about the love of a husband and wife for one another, and about the way that love can and should spill over onto the children. It’s about the way children love back. And in examining love, it is a sometimes about the fear and vulnerability of loving someone with all of your heart.

Written by a physician, Cats Don’t Hikesometimes seems to diagnose and treat the troubles and difficulties that face parents and children. But the medicine is always given gently, and usually with a spoon of honey and a twisted smile.

In Cats Don’t Hike the reader can see a kind of progression, as small children grow bigger, as children leave for school, as the world opens before them, and as the author sees his own heart grow larger with every new change. Fortunately, the book makes clear that he has his wife’s constant partnership and passion to help him through the transformations.

Along the way, there are detours to favorite foods, reflections on books and a look at church on Sunday morning. And there is, as the title suggests, a fair amount of space devoted to dogs, cats and gerbils, who always seem to be running around in the background, in life or in death.

Cats Don’t Hike is non-fiction. But it contains the kind of stuff that makes for good stories, whether they are real or not. And hopefully, in a time of chaos for families everywhere, it will serve as a reminder that men and women can still stay together, delight each other and raise happy, healthy children.

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Working Knights

working_knightsMedicine is a profession of stories, emotions and lessons. A dying old man with dementia can suddenly become a reminder that every child will be old and helpless one day. An addled, anxiety-prone woman who thinks she is under a spell shows the goodness in everyone, as she constantly prays for her doctors and nurses. And a stupid drunk with a rattlesnake can be a lesson in natural selection. All of this and more appears in Working Knights, a new book about emergency medicine written by Edwin Leap, MD.

Dr. Leap is an emergency physician and writer who lives and practices in rural South Carolina. InWorking Knights, he has taken his years of medical practice and combined them with a love of writing to produce a collection of observations and insights about doctors, patients and the practice of medicine. It isn’t a collection of ‘war stories’ or tales of dramatic, life-saving heroics. But it is a candid look inside the mind of a physician. More, it’s a series of honest discussions from a physician about the good and bad of his profession, about the wonder, dedication and madness of our modern medical culture, and about the lives of the patients who populate modern emergency rooms.

Besides looking at the humanity of medicine,Working Knights also speaks openly about many of the problems of modern medicine, hidden by so many professionals behind walls of political correctness. Medicine is full of roadblocks, like false expectations and insane regulations, that make it increasingly difficult to practice. In an age when we are trying to repair medicine from the top down, this book is a look at the problems from the bottom up; or as doctors like to say, ‘from the trenches’.

Working Knights is a delightful contradiction. It is, in a way, the confessional of a doctor who has come of age. Sometimes funny, sometimes gentle, it is a conglomeration of the joys and frustrations of real practice, set far from the ivory towers of urban academic centers. It advocates compassion, both for patients and for doctors. And it brings the reader closer to humanity and closer to the truth about life behind the doors of the emergency room

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The Practice Test

The Practice Test is a parody of the many board exams that physicians take during training. However, unlike those tests, this book is not really about the clinical aspects of medicine, but was written to help physicians navigate the ‘life-issues’ of training and practice.

All too many physicians, young and old, were never prepared for the threats to their marriage, their children, even their own self-worth that arose during their careers.

In The Practice Test, Dr. Edwin Leap, an emergency physician for 17 years, tries to give readers a rational, compassionate and often funny sense of perspective on the struggles that his colleagues endure, in hopes of giving them the courage to have happier, more meaningful lives and careers. Or if not that, at least to have the honesty to admit that they need a change.

Whichever issue he addresses, whether marital infidelity, malpractice, children, unkind physicians, customer service or even death, Dr. Leap’s years of experience as a physician, and a writer to physicians, are evident in the balance and humor he brings to each discussion.

The Practice Test has something to offer for anyone affected by medicine: pre-medical students, retirees, physician spouses and kids, medical educators, physicians in training, policy makers and even educators.

The Practice Test is a bit of medicine, with a spoonful of sugar, for an ailing, frustrated and exhausted medical profession.

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