A busy doctor juggles an errant teenage daughter and a seriously ill father. An elderly immigrant sacrifices his demented wife's well-being to satisfy his son's authority. A trainee becomes delirious with lack of sleep but must learn how to act, and not react, in the face of suffering. A psychiatrist who advocates for the underserved may herself be crazy.
Together these deeply humane linked stories - at once funny and honest, incisive and compassionate - explore the impact of illness on real people's lives and offer a portrait of health and medicine like nothing we have read before.
Set in hospitals, offices, nursing homes, prisons, family apartments and out and about in the city, A History of the Present Illness creates a world pulsating with life and introduces a striking new literary voice.
Louise Aronson has an MFA in fiction and an MD from Harvard Medical School. She has won the Sonora Review prize, the New Millennium Writings short fiction award and has received three Pushcart nominations. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California where she cares for frail older patients and directs the Pathways to Discovery Program, the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center and UCSF Medical Humanities. She lives in San Francisco.