Here is some Crazy Shit that medicine can (allegedly) do now:
– wrap you in cold-packs to slow down your cascading cell death so the docs have more time to be like, Don’t die;
– put small animals into suspended animation kind of indefinitely and then bring them back with no adverse affects (with animals-that-are-people-sized you can really only sort of force them into hibernation, with the same life-enlongment results as cold packs, above);
– SURGERY ON FETUSES! Imagine how small the scalpels!
So, that’s all pretty neat. And in addition to the random, wtfish chapter on near-death experiences, there’s also a chapter on Comas And How Some People Come Out Of Them, We’re Not Sure Why (But Here Are A Few Suggestions). My Tall One took umbrage with this chapter because it’s those stories of the one in a brazillion coma patients coming out after twenty years that convinces people they should leave MeeMaw on life support even when she’s officially brain-dead because YOU NEVER KNOW, and many more times than not you end up spending valuable health-care dollars (and your own dollars) keeping someone only technically alive.
And sometimes Science People Who Write are uh-mazing at both (see: Gawande, Atul) and sometimes they are probably very good at the science but just sort of fine at the writing (see: Crichton, Michael) and sometimes they are probably awful (see: future considerations). Gupta is postitively Philippa Gregorian in his penchant for certain metaphors, and his inability to NOT title-drop every third page (the words ‘cheating death’ will cease to have all meaning) but his writing is totally fine and will not make you die.
And the whole thing feels set against a backdrop of that science has cured cancer and why have we not been told who is suppressing this information CUI BONO? air that facebook tries to scare up every few weeks, which sort of irks me because it is not always a conspiracy, guys. On the other hand, when putting people into suspended animation becomes common practice I’ll be all, Oh yes, I read about that back in 2011. NBD.
Quick read, interesting bits, etc etc etc. Seven caterpillars.