Why Read About Kidney Disease If You Don’t Have To?

Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers, A Kidney Doctor’s Search for the Perfect Match by Vanessa Grubbs, M.D. had me hooked from the first chapter. This is a love story with a plot twist. Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy, girl gives boy a kidney. There’s true love and sacrifice, and that’s just the beginning. Vanessa Grubbs’ story is both romantic and illuminating. I felt compelled to keep reading and learn about kidneys, a subject I wouldn’t ordinarily care about, because I wanted to know what happened to Vanessa and Robert.

Grubbs reveals her personal story as a kidney donor to her now-husband to educate us about everything kidney, an organ that often goes unappreciated until it’s too late. Her straightforward non-medical language demystifies this complicated subject and makes it easy for the non-medical person, like me, to comprehend. She’s the same reliable and plainspoken narrator whether she’s describing her relationship with Robert or she’s explaining the differences between hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Grubbs doesn’t hesitate to address critical issues surrounding racial biases in kidney transplant allocation and treatment. I can’t help but think about the many biases against anyone outside the “norm” (people of color, people with disabilities, people who don’t speak English, the poor) that pervade our current medical system, often with devastating outcomes.

Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers is not just for people who have kidney disease. This book is for anyone who is or who cares about someone at risk for kidney problems. Questions about risk? Grubbs answers our frequently asked questions and provides resources if you need more information. Of course, this book is also for those of us who want to read a true story about love and devotion.

You don’t have to be on the receiving end of medicine to appreciate Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers. This is a book for healthcare professionals, too. Grubbs is a physician who engages with her patients, their families, their lifestyles, not just their kidneys. In some cases, she knows more about her patients than their own families. This is how medicine should be practiced.

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