Ben Watt - Patient: The True Story of a Rare Illness

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Ben Watt's harrowing ordeal as a Patient...

Nov 6, 2007 (Updated Dec 8, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Vivid prose about a man's ordeal with Churg-Strauss syndrome.

Cons:Book won't appeal to everyone.

The Bottom Line: Watt demonstrates that being a patient sometimes takes a lot of patience.


Imagine being a guy in your prime, enjoying good health and a burgeoning career, only to be suddenly stricken with a mysterious illness that lands you in the hospital for two and a half months. That's what happened to 29 year old Ben Watt back in 1992. The mysterious illness he contracted, Churg-Strauss syndrome, nearly killed him and left him without most of his small intestine.

For those who don't know (I didn't), Ben Watt is one half of the pop duo Everything But The Girl. Not long ago, I was fooling around on Amazon.com and came across Watt's 1996 book Patient: The True Story of a Rare Illness. I generally find books about medical issues fascinating. The fact that Watt is also a musician also interested me. I also noticed that Patient received a lot of accolades on both sides of the Atlantic, plus lots of great reviews from everyday people. That's when I decided to give Patient my attention.

Churg-Strauss syndrome is an auto-immune disorder that begins with what seems like severe asthma. Later, the asthma symptoms subside, but the patient then develops severe nerve pain as the body's immune system begins to attack the body. Ben Watt's ordeal with Churg-Strauss syndrome started somewhat innocuously. Watt had suffered from mild asthma for a few years and initially thought that was what was troubling him. He was finding it harder to breathe and exercise, but he thought the symptoms would eventually subside. But then he developed chest pains and pains in his belly. He went to the hospital, where a doctor told him that he was either having a long, slow heart attack or was about to have a massive one. Watt was admitted to the hospital that day in late June. He wasn't released until September.

Doctors were baffled by Watt's illness. They tested him for everything under the sun and Watt endured their endless tests in a fruitless search for relief. As I read Watt's story, I was struck by his ability to maintain a sense of humor. He uses biting wit to relate how the illness changed his life and took him from his role as a musician to that of a patient. I also got an interesting glimpse of health care in Britain and the National Health Service. I found that aspect of Watt's book particularly intriguing since I'm an American who's studied health administration and once happened to live in England.

Above all, I am impressed by Watt's writing, which is vivid and descriptive. His style is artistic and creative. I didn't feel like I was reading just another account of a serious illness. I felt like I was reading something literary. Watt's words gave me a rudimentary understanding of what it's like to go from being a successful musician about to go on tour to a patient too weak to dress himself. Watt stayed on a hospital ward and describes some of the other patients who were there with him, as well as certain staff members. His tone is understandably very British and I get a big kick out of it.

It took me just a couple of days to read Patient, which is a mere 178 pages. Ordinarily, I might feel shortchanged at only having gotten a couple of days' reading out of this book. In this case I don't, though, because I learned a lot from Watt's account of his ordeal with Churg-Strauss syndrome. I also enjoyed being his audience.

I'm sure this book won't appeal to everybody. Though it has moments of levity, Patient ultimately takes on the serious topic of a young guy who unexpectedly faces his own mortality and survives. The journey to survival is long and occasionally depressing. Personally, though, I really enjoyed reading Patient and getting to know Ben Watt better.


Recommend this product? Yes


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Patient Protectors

Patient Protectors

Patient Protectors The Patient Protectors offer great ideal protection from accidental spills. The Patient Protectors covers chest areas providing m...
AllegroMedical.com

$8.40

FREE Shipping
Medline Electric Patient Lift

Medline Electric Patient Lift

Medlines 400 lbs. or 600 lbs. capacity power lift that meets the needs of more patients. Power-operated base allows the legs to be positioned where yo...
Ben's 30 Tick & Insect Repellent Spray

Ben's 30 Tick & Insect Repellent Spray

Ben's 30 Tick Insect Repellent Spray Ben'sŪ 30 Tick Insect Repellent offers protection from ticks and insects that may carry West Nile Virus (WNV), Ly...
eBay

$5.99

+$5.95 shipping
Patient Safety - Patient Locator Alarm

Patient Safety - Patient Locator Alarm

Patient Safety - Patient Locator Alarm Description Patient Locator Alarm
eBay

$96.00

+$6.00 shipping
Invacare Painted Hydraulic Patient Lift

Invacare Painted Hydraulic Patient Lift

Too often, manual patient transfers lead to caregiver back injuries. The Invacare 9805P hydraulic lift was created to make handling situations safer a...
Ben's Garden 'True Friends Are Like Diamonds' Picture Frame - Ivory (9x7)

Ben's Garden 'True Friends Are Like Diamonds' Picture Frame - Ivory (9x7)

An antiqued-copper frame perfect for displaying favorite photos is embellished with scripted calligraphy that reads, True friends are like diamonds. B...
Nordstrom

$72.00

FREE Shipping
Ben's 30 Tick & Insect Repellent Wipes 12 per box

Ben's 30 Tick & Insect Repellent Wipes 12 per box

Ben's 30 Tick & Insect Repellent offers protection from ticks and insects that may carry West Nile Virus (WNV) Lyme disease Malaria Eastern Equine Enc...
First Aid Mart
Medline Patient Transfer Gait Belt 60 Pinstripe

Medline Patient Transfer Gait Belt 60 Pinstripe

Medline Patient Transfer Gait Belt 60 PinstripeMedline Patient Transfer Gait Belt 60 Pinstripe Transfer Belts: These cotton belts are designed to aid...
American Drug Supply Store

$5.99

+$2.00 shipping
Alliance Patient Sling Medium, 37-57

Alliance Patient Sling Medium, 37-57

Alliance Patient Slings This universal sling meets most patient lifting needs and is easy to apply or remove from a seated or reclining patient. The s...

$103.09

+$17.95 shipping
Straps for Patient Slings

Straps for Patient Slings

These straps by Drive Medical are an accessory to a patient lift and sling. Features They include a limited lifetime warranty. Patient lift and sling ...
Cascade Healthcare Solutions

$32.21

+$9.95 shipping