Up the Down Escalator
Medicine, Motherhood, and Multiple Sclerosis
by Lisa Doggett
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Pub Date 15 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 10 Oct 2023
HCI Books, Health Communications Inc
Up the Down Escalator is a story of triumph in the face of a terrifying diagnosis. A memoir of before and after, Lisa Doggett recounts her startling shift from doctor to patient as she opens herself up to the unexpected gifts of an imperfect life.
As a family doctor and director of a new clinic in Austin, Texas, Lisa Doggett saw an eclectic mix of uninsured patients, from a manic, pink-haired stripper to an undocumented man paralyzed by high voltage power lines. She cared for them all, safe in the assumption that her white coat shielded her from the conditions she diagnosed in others.
Then one morning she woke up dizzy. Double vision and taste changes followed. An MRI revealed multiple sclerosis, a disabling brain disease known to rob healthy young adults of mobility, cognitive function, and independence. She was devastated. Would she be able to work, raise her kids, and continue her morning runs?
At least she had the resources to manage her condition. Her patients often didn’t. Without a safety net, they had to make impossible choices: rent, medicine, or groceries. Where professional courtesy permitted her to skip the line, the men and women she saw couldn’t get necessary tests or specialty care.
With candor and humor, Up the Down Escalator chronicles Doggett’s battles with insurance companies and trials of odd diets and therapies. Forever furious with the dysfunctional and inequitable health care system, she also renews her commitment to advocate for her underserved patients.
This memoir is a bitter, front-line critique of health care in the U.S. But it is also a story of hope, as Doggett learns to soften her inner drill sergeant and push past her limits. This book inspires those with chronic disease—and all readers—to seek wisdom and meaning in life’s challenges.