American health care is a wonderful thing - most of the time, for most people, usually (the redundancy is deliberate). Even when it works, however, it can be the most-stressful environment you've ever encountered. Part of that is because, whether as patient or patient advocate, you have been jerked from your familiar world into a situation that clearly belongs to "them", the professionals whose job it is to make the ill and injured whole again. From the beginning, if you're a typical patient, you'll feel as if you're on a treadmill with few recognizable landmarks. The goal of this book is to provide the landmarks by giving you the strategies you can use to navigate the ten steps of health care: (1) in advance of need; (2) when symptoms develop; (3) when you go to the doctor; (4) when the doctor orders tests; (5) when you get a diagnosis; (6) when you must make care decisions; (7) when you go to the hospital; (8) when you go home; (9) when therapy is recommended; and (10) if something goes wrong. The Appendices contain a list of acronyms used in the book and several hundred useful resources.
Here's a non-technical overview of the American health-care system today and its providers that covers a wide range of industry-related issues in twenty-four topic-specific chapters. Where we get health care. Who provides it. What it costs and who pays. Why it costs so much in the U.S. Who regulates, influences and legislates it. Its scope and nature. Medical advances and miracles. Medical and system failures. Medical error. Outcomes. Why the health-care system sometimes seems as if it's set up to benefit everyone but patients. What's causing the revolution in health care and how the changing times are affecting doctors, nurses, and hospitals. What the changes in health care and its delivery will mean for the patient experience. With a list of acronyms and over 400 online resources, complete with URL information.
The aim of the book is to deliver a lot of current information in a succinct format - roughly 75,000 words - that makes it easy to access a specific topic.
Art Dodger, Savannah-based artist, isn't too impressed at first by the story of Danielle Standridge's disappearance twenty years before. He accepts that she's gone. That someone else caused her absence by no means strikes him as certain. Fifteen-year-old girls do all sorts of odd and unexplained things, then and now. Still, in Dodger's experience, which is considerable, when a girl as good-looking as Danielle manages to stay missing forth decades, it usually doesn't bode well.
As he digs deeper into the past of the North Carolina mill town where Danielle lived, he knows something is definitely wrong. But does it have anything to do with why Danielle's still gone? The wealthy owner of the mill (and the town) thinks so - he's why Dodger is there to investigate. The girl's best friend from high school agrees, and even the sheriff, who briefly dated Danielle, thinks they're right. Just about everyone else, however, including her strangely indifferent family, seems to assume that the girl - smart, pretty, and clearly on her way to greener pastures probably sooner rather than later - simply walked away from a dying town and a personal situation worse than anyone suspected.
Did bright, beautiful Danielle leave of her own accord? Was she kidnapped and murdered? Dodger uncovers a lot of secrets beneath the sad surface of an old company town, itself in the process of disappearing.
In "The Quilt Hater," first of the short stories, Jen and Jamie discover that a thing that seems too good to be true probably is. In "Tempest in a Teapot," the partners learn there's no pleasing everybody. In "Best When Ripe,' a detested former classmate insists they donate the most expensive item in the shop to a historical society of which she's the acquisitions officer. Along the way, happily married Jen - blonde, plump, and pretty - spends too much time trying to find the right man for divorced Jamie - auburn-haired, rangy, and distinctive.