Crossings: Memoirs of a Mountain Medical Doctor

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With these qualities, and more, God formed, fashioned, and refined a person, and a medical doctor, who had a profound and pervasive positive influence upon the many people whom his life touched and whom he served. To his patients he was known as Dr. His family addressed him as Dad, or, in later years he was affectionately referred to as "Pop.

This book attempts to capture and share many of these crossings. Yet, more than relating just the actual crossings, the hope is that readers will discover in these pages inspiration and motivation for their own journey crossings. By reflecting upon how one of God's children--Elam S. Kurtz--embraced the transitions and crossings of life with great vision, deep faith, and enormous energy, may we also learn, and put into practice, the great lessons of life, seeking to serve God and humankind with our very best.

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Nov 19, Kathleen Kline rated it it was amazing. This is a good book. When I got to the end I found it all the more amazing how well written it is once I knew about the author's struggles after suffering a stroke. The parts about the war are brutal at times, but so is war, so it gave greater clarity on the effects war has on those who have to fight in it. There is so much in this book that I find it hard to give it an adequate review without "writing a book. Oct 20, Christine rated it really liked it.

Jul 03, Torn Pages and Roses rated it it was amazing.

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Finally finished this book omg. It felt long and I thought tedious at times but it was such a great story. It was scary at times but also full of hope in the end. It made me appreciate medical careers and how much being one can be so much a part of an identity. It was inspirational and I'm glad I read this, life can be daunting but the right mindset does work. Feb 26, Valerie rated it really liked it. This book intrigued me as someone who works in rehabilitative services. I wanted to read about the patient's experiences and learn from his comments.

I had no idea that he was located in my home state, which added to my interest. Jon's story is unique - he has a world of experience and shared it in a unique way. Sometimes he got a bit wordy for me, but I never lost interest in his story. May 06, Gina rated it it was amazing Shelves: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story

I just finished reading this book, and I am completely floored. Kerstetter 's telling of his journey is unlike anything that I have ever read before and the results are a truly remarkable book. I have read a lot of books that are memoirs centering around the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this one brings a unique perspective to the journey, delivered through top-notch writing. The author's pow I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The author's power as a gifted storyteller brings you in for a front row seat as he relives the most difficult parts of his life. The book starts out with the author's early life, progressing up to the point where he becomes a doctor. Once a doctor, he finds himself bored with routine treatment and seeking experience with treating critical trauma patients, which ultimately leads him into military service.

Most notably, he is entrusted with overseeing the process of positively identifying high priority enemy targets Uday and Qusay Hussein post mortem, and the transfer of their remains back to the Hussein family. I am not sure if it is the author's training as a doctor, his struggles with recovering from his stroke, or a little bit of both that give him the insight and perspective to explore his journey in the way he does, but I was drawn into the story and the writing from the beginning. He doesn't tell us about his PTSD, but rather he shows how it affects him and his recovery, as well as how hard he struggles to push the memories down and keep them inside.

He is also able to somehow make the reader understand the pull back to war and how it can be stronger than the thoughts of the family and his civilian life waiting for him at home. Perhaps the most remarkable is how he depicts his recovery as a stroke victim - I felt the frustration of knowing what he used to be capable of, and the feeling of failure when his body and mind won't cooperate in the ways that he remembers. As I was reading this portion, I couldn't help but marvel that the man going through this recovery actually wrote the amazing book that I was reading.

Sometimes a book comes along that makes me wish I could give it more than 5 stars, because it truly seems deserving of more - on a scale of 1 to 5 this is a 7! Dec 04, Liz rated it liked it. This is not a topic I would normally pick up a book about - solider doctor, stroke recovery patient, medicine and war. I read it because the author is the father of one of my sisters best friends - I know parts of his story from small interactions with him and was intrigued on a personal level.

The story is fascinating and well woven. Kerstetter talks about the dilemma of being a soldier trained to kill and a doctor trained to kill at the same time and the pulls in different directions. I found This is not a topic I would normally pick up a book about - solider doctor, stroke recovery patient, medicine and war. I found a lot of the war stories hard to read - again, this is not something I would normally choose to read about.

The most impactful parts were his discussion of identity after his stroke and I enjoyed reading the last half of the book immensely. This would be a higher rating for me personally if it were more in my wheelhouse topic wise - the story is well shared and worth sharing. If this topic in any way interests you, definitely pick this one up! Nov 06, Katie rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Very informative and moving in places.

Kerstetter is very knowledgeable and the stories he told about Iraq were fascinating. I was impressed that he was able to recall such detail. Though this is obviously a memoir about him and his life, I would have liked to hear more about his wife, Collin.

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She was willing to move around the country while he did his med school internships. She was often alone with a small child while he was in medical school. When he deployed, she was left behind to care Very informative and moving in places. When he deployed, she was left behind to care for 4 children. When he fell ill, she drove him to his appointments and suffered at his side.

She's the other hero in this story. At times, he seemed callous and unfeeling regarding his family and being away. I have mixed feelings about that, but overall, a solid memoir.


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Oct 01, E. It chronicles Jon Kerstetter's service as a flight surgeon in Iraq, but it also tells the story of his whole life, in which his tours in Iraq are just a small part. The son of a single mother from the Oneida reservation, Kerstetter dreamed of becoming a doctor from childhood, but had to overcome a series of obstacles first.

In college he was steered away from medicine, because, he was told, Native students "Crossings" is subtitled "A Doctor-Soldier's Story," but there's much more to it than that. In college he was steered away from medicine, because, he was told, Native students couldn't handle the coursework. He only ended up going to medical school more than a decade later. He was also initially steered away from the military, finally enlisting in the National Guard at an age when many soldiers are already eligible to retire.

Once there, though, he found his calling in emergency medicine, often in areas in crisis. He discusses how he was drawn to high-adrenaline environments where he could make a difference, volunteering to go first to Rwanda following the genocide there, and then to the Balkans.

Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story by Jon Kerstetter

While his experiences there were humbling, he also found them rewarding, and welcomed the chance to go to Iraq and use his skills there. Some of Kerstetter's experiences in Iraq were truly bizarre, and must be read to be believed, but the real adventure begins when he returns home and has to deal with a myriad of crippling health problems. The fact that he completed the book at all is a testament to his will to succeed.

The prose style is for the most part simple and direct--Kerstetter writes like the doctor and soldier he considers himself to be--but some of his meditations on the changes he undergoes in his life are profound, and will probably resonate with many doctors, soldiers, and patients dealing with life-altering conditions. An affecting story about an interesting life.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Nov 05, Robert Luebke rated it it was amazing. Crossings is a great autobiography by Dr. Kerstetter who faced immeasurable odds all his life and presents his drive and determination to overcome them. Jon Kerstetter was born and raised during his early years on the Oneida Indian Reservation in Wisconsin.

Jon and his brother and sister were raised by his mother, a single parent, in what most would describe as extreme poverty. Jon was stricken by diphtheria at an early age and was treated by a very kind and compassionate physician who tr Crossings is a great autobiography by Dr. Jon was stricken by diphtheria at an early age and was treated by a very kind and compassionate physician who treated Jon at home.

Jon Kerstetter overcame these odds, graduating from Mayo Medical School in After additional training, Jon served as an emergency room physician during his early years of medical practice. Kerstetter felt the need to serve humanity and takes you along with him for tours in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo and hurricane disaster in Honduras. He served three tours with the U. Army as a combat physician and flight surgeon and provides the reader with the raw emotions involved in the difficult decisions combat soldier doctors often had to make.

Facing hard challenges all his life, perhaps the most difficult one was the recovery and rehabilitation from an injury on active duty and a stroke when jeopardized his military and medical career. After reading this autobiography, I am amazed at the strength of Dr. Jul 18, Julie Barrett rated it it was ok Shelves: I received this book by entering a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the giveaway because the book blurb seemed intriguing- the goals of a doctor and of a soldier are diametrically opposed. One takes lives and the other tries to save lives. A memoir discussing the conflicts between the two seemed worth checking out.

I struggled to finish this book. Usually a book this length is something I read in 2 days, not 2 weeks. I found myself doing anything other than picking up this book - checking email, pla I received this book by entering a Goodreads giveaway. I found myself doing anything other than picking up this book - checking email, playing solitaire, even doing the dishes.

They were all more appealing than reading this book.

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It was only my compulsion to finish every book I start that caused me to plow through and finish. Once I got to the part of the book where the author suffers a major stroke, I felt like a jerk for critiquing the book and finding it poorly written and organized. If I had known that fact from the beginning I would have cut him more slack. I mean, as a book written by someone who suffered a stroke less than 10 years ago and lost the ability to read and write, this memoir deserves a 4 or 5 star rating. It's impressive he could recover enough to write this.

However, if I am not grading on a curve then the memoir earns 1 or 2 stars.


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I give it 2 stars for having an fascinating premise. It's the execution of the premise that is no good. Just because someone has lived a compelling life doesn't automatically make them a good writer. A lesson in perserverance, unselfish sacrifice and bravery! I'm a non intellectual who loves to read about super achievers and their successes. I come from a family with a few of those types. A medical doctor, a couple of dentists, a clinical psychologist and a biomedical research scientist, I'm their uncle.

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A former combat infantry soldier, who did a 16 month tour in Vietnam and Cambodia and retired from a career in law enforcement. I watched my nieces and nephews meet the challenges both phys A lesson in perserverance, unselfish sacrifice and bravery! I watched my nieces and nephews meet the challenges both physically and mentally to aspire and meet their academic and professional goals. One of them, a dentist, is currently in the Air Force stationed in Manheim Germany. Kerstetter's story gave me a lot of insight into what a human being can achieve through desire and self motivation.

His sacrifice and unselfish commitment to serve as a combat Doctor saving lives, when he could have comfortably stayed home with his family and practiced medicine never to experience danger. Then to have him tell about his medical and physical challenges that eventually ended his career as a Doctor and how he went through therapy and struggled to gain back a somewhat normal life. It is an inspiring story that I'm sure is an inspiration to those who have been confronted with similar challenges. Oct 11, Marge rated it it was amazing.

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