About the Author

Meghan MacLean Weir, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at Princeton University with work on viral protein expression and then went on to study medicine at Stony Brook University. She also was awarded a Master’s in Medical Anthropology from the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford University for work done there on the impact of poverty, undernutrition, and infections on children in sub-Saharan Africa. She completed her residency training in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center and during this time held the position of Teaching Fellow in Pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine and Clinical Fellow in Pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School. She has participated in research and training programs in South Africa, Liberia, and Sri Lanka that have been funded in part by the Stony Brook School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her essays have appeared in hospital publications at both her former and current institutions and excerpts of her writing have been used in the Humanism in Medicine curriculum for interns at the Boston Combined Residency Program.  She and her family live in the Boston area where she works as a Pediatrician.

That's what it says on the flap of my book in any case. What it doesn't mention is that before I wrote the book, before I became a doctor or got married or bought the fixer-upper in the suburbs with the apartment for my parents, there were long periods when I thought I would never be happy. I thought it was possible to do well at school or do well at life but not both at the same time. And I thought maybe I wanted to write. And that just made it more complicated. So I went away for a little while. I left medical school. I wrote a novel. I met a man. I fell in love. I started to be happy. And I got a degree from Oxford because, really, if the rest of it hadn't worked out I needed a back up plan for when I got back to my real life and they asked what I had been doing for two years.

Then, when I was an intern and a wife and still I wanted to write but I wasn't doing well at any of those things, I went away again - but metaphorically this time. My program directors were kind enough to offer me a modified schedule where I would be allowed to work for 12 weeks and then have 4 uninterrupted weeks to write. It was the most they could give without disrupting the call schedule, though they were kind enough to offer as much time as I might need.

So I took 4 months off over the course of my three year residency. And while I was away I wrote a different book, one that did manage to get published, and one that I hope you'll read and like or at least plow your way through and then buy as a graduation present for all those premeds in your extended family or maybe your entire extended family because, let's be honest, I have a lot of student loans. Then, when you're using it as a coaster, I hope you'll glance at it every once in a while and think about how hard it is to be a parent of a sick child - how exhausting, how frightening, how expensive - and do what we all should be doing, which is making it easier (in whatever way we can and at every opportunity) for these families, even if it's just by showing that you care.

So yes, this will sometimes be my soapbox. Enjoy.