Reply To: Black Man in a White Coat, 153- 245

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Lauren Smith

I thought Tweedy’s reflection on the two patients Henry and Adrian toward the end of the book was really interesting. On one hand, Adrian had a history of alcohol and cocaine abuse. While Adrian had been clean and was taking daily aspirin and blood pressure medication, he didn’t improve his diet or stop smoking cigarettes. As a result he had a mini-stroke that left him disabled. On the other hand, Henry had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and his medication caused excessive weight gain. When Tweedy saw him after losing so much weight, he had worried that Henry went off his meds but Henry had made “real, positive health changes” like exercising and eating healthier (208). Tweedy noticed that “on this day, one man had made good choices and increased his odds of a healthy future. The other hadn’t and, at least partly for that reason, faced a heartbreakingly new life” (209). These two cases just go to show the profound impact that our daily choices can have on our health, but, like Tweedy says “the reasons we make those choices are more complex” (210). I think it’s really interesting how, aside from socioeconomic settings, the doctor-patient relationship can be one of those reasons. Tweedy suggests that he could relate more with Henry and his struggles than he could with Adrian’s. This is similar in the case of Keith, a patient Tweedy was able to find common ground with, despite being of a different race.