Megan Palasik's Reviews > The Color of Atmosphere: One Doctor's Journey in and Out of Medicine

The Color of Atmosphere by Maggie Kozel
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 09, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: memoir

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I won't claim to know really anything about our healthcare system (it's embarrassing, but the system is crazy confusing and I stay relatively healthy so I don't use it much) so this was rather eye opening on a basic level.

Kozel, who was raised in an alcoholic family with her siblings, rises up out of her abuse, works had, and becomes a doctor. While she does mention bits and pieces about her family throughout the book, they aren't very long and I do not think they take away from the overall story. They are there to add depth to who she is as a person and give her more empathy for some of her patients.

She talks about some of her time in med school and meeting her future husband. They met over a cadaver, how romantic :) Then she went on to work in the Navy as a pediatrician. Kozel seemed to enjoy her experiences and learned a lot with the Navy and practicing medicine in Japan. After her time there, she and her husband moved back to the states to continue their practices as civilians. This is where the shock started for Kozel of what practicing medicine in the states is like.

I think Kozel does a great job explaining her job as a pediatrician and how treating children for actual ailments seems to go on the back burner due to insurance companies not paying for some things and only paying a little for other things. I do not have children of my own yet, but I can only imagine the questions and concerns that parents come in with about their children. While those questions are important to the parents (when to feed solid foods, when to potty train, how to deal with behaviors), Kozel explains that not only could a nurse answer them, but when Kozel is answering the questions, a lot of times she's getting the answers from co-workers (and this time isn't something she can bill for = no $). Kozel was trained to treat diseases and ailments, not answer how many hours your 3 month old should sleep/day. However, these are the things she was doing daily, along with parents who demanded some kind of *fix* for their child's cold. When Kozel would tell parents to let the cold run its course and medicine wouldn't help, they parents wouldn't even listen and would argue with her. You come to the doctor, you ask what she thinks (because she has the M.D.) then you tell her she's wrong?!?

While Kozel writes on a basic level about what is wrong with the health care system in our country, I think part of this problem also has to do with our sense of entitlement and quick fixes. We want everything better, faster, my way and there is no room for discussion. I came to you with this problem and you need to fix it, whether or not that is the *best* solution medically for my child, I want you to give me something to make it better (heaven forbid I change something I'm doing at home - feed my child healthier, follow through with discipline, provide more opportunities for exercise).

This book was well written, easy to follow (not a lot of medical terms that may get the reader lost) and an interesting perspective. It will definitely make me think twice about going to the doctor for a minor cold again. I have a greater respect for pediatricians and when I have children I will keep this book in mind for my visits.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Color of Atmosphere.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

June 9, 2011 – Started Reading
June 9, 2011 – Shelved
June 15, 2011 –
page 250
June 17, 2011 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.