The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story
A moving, lyrical, beautifully-written portrait of a nurse and the lives she has touched
Christie Watson spent twenty years as a nurse, and in this intimate, poignant, and remarkably powerful book, she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets. She takes us by her side down hospital corridors to visit the wards and meet her unforgettable patients.
In the neonatal unit, premature babies fight for their lives, hovering at the very edge of survival, like tiny Emmanuel, wrapped up in a sandwich bag. On the cancer wards, the nurses administer chemotherapy and, long after the medicine stops working, something more important--which Watson learns to recognize when her own father is dying of cancer. In the pediatric intensive care unit, the nurses wash the hair of a little girl to remove the smell of smoke from the house fire. The emergency room is overcrowded as ever, with waves of alcohol and drug addicted patients as well as patients like Betty, a widow suffering chest pain, frail and alone. And the stories of the geriatric ward--Gladys and older patients like her--show the plight of the most vulnerable members of our society.
Through the smallest of actions, nurses provide vital care and kindness. All of us will experience illness in our lifetime, and we will all depend on the support and dignity that nurses offer us; yet the women and men who form the vanguard of our health care remain unsung. In this age of fear, hate, and division, Christie Watson has written a book that reminds us of all that we share, and of the urgency of compassion.
"A wise and tender book, by turns fierce, compassionate, and revelatory. It shows the joys and the difficulties of looking after people at their most vulnerable, and makes an urgent plea: as a society we have to care better for the nurses who care for us" -- Dr Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being "An amazing book -- terrifying at times, but tender and truthful. Let's be thankful for wonderful nurses -- and writers -- like Christie Watson" -- Jacqueline Wilson "It is very hard to describe the essence of nursing but Christie's story captures it. Through her powerful writing the true value of the nurse becomes clear" -- Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing "Christie Watson is a remarkable writer turning her attention to a crucially important conversation. This book is eloquent, moving and searingly relevant to all of us" -- Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall "A remarkable book about life and death and so brilliantly written it makes you hold your breath" -- Ruby Wax
Christie Watson was a registered nurse for twenty years before writing full time. Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, was also published to international critical acclaim. Her works have been translated into seventeen languages. She lives in London.