Cliff Koch has written Miracles happen… sometimes in order to fulfill his late wife Pam’s wish that the story be told of her battle with adult respiratory distress syndrome, pancreatitis, and other grave medical conditions caused by her eating disorder. Through first-person summary from Koch’s perspective combined with a section told in Pam’s voice, the book details the numerous illnesses caused by her eating disorder, which started in the early 1980’s.
The bulk of the book details the time period from the fall of 2002 through 2005, when her acute pancreatitis spiraled into adult respiratory distress syndrome, peripheral vascular disease, kidney failure and bilateral pneumothoraces (the collapse of both lungs).
This is not a study of Pam’s character and life. Instead, it is a review of hospital visits, including Orange Hills rehabilitation facility and Lakeview Medical Center. Pam’s parents, Doris and Lucien, as well as her sister Eileen recur throughout Koch’s descriptions of late-night emergency room visits and heated arguments with hospital staff.
Miracles happen… sometimes is focused on the medical procedures that Pam undergoes — such as a bilateral amputation of her feet — and the miscommunication between Cliff and various medical and billing staff. Koch says of applying for Social Services, “…it would have been easier to apply for a job at the C.I.A.” The transitions between each exhausting and harrowing emergency room visit are repetitive and distract from the account, as do the numerous verb tense and conjugation errors.
Miracles happen is interesting if for no other reason than it’s a first-person account of the day-to-day life of caretaking the seriously ill. Those in the medical professions would benefit from reading this to deepen their understanding of the stressful day-to-day life of caretakers. It isn’t likely to appeal to a general reading audience, however, due to the fact that the experiences Koch recounts are not contextualized into a discernable narrative shaped by reflection or personal growth.
Also available as an ebook.