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The Colonel Chronicle

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Book Review: Patient, by Ben Watt


Patient, by Ben Watt, a British musical artist, illustrates a story on what it is like to be a patient, more specifically; a patient with a rare disease. He shows what it is like to live in what seemed like a never ending cycle that included multiple surgical procedures, pain, and acceptance.

Watt deals with many different struggles other than the sickness, both physically and mentally. He experiences hallucinations and disorientation of living at the hospital and spending so much time in the same bed in the same place for months with next to nothing to do except drown in his thoughts. These hallucinations and disorientation episodes include memories of the past, and tend to grasp his attention. Many of the episodes end up helping Watt accept his sickness and new self as he is deteriorating and grieving his old self. These moments help establish Watt’s purpose for writing this book, which is how life is as a patient and how to accept and live with a rare illness. The whole book contributes to this, but this really hones in the aspect of acceptance within yourself. 

Along with acceptance, is the feeling of giving up. Watt struggles with this, expressing the feeling of loss on many occasions. After one of the first times they thought he was getting better, and moving towards a better state, Watt starts to get even worse. He goes into this downward spiral that left him even sicker than he was before and guaranteed him a spot back in the ICU, which he had just worked his way out of, “Another operation. I am defeated.” (pg. 71). 

I originally picked up this book due to its subject matter. I am always interested in looking at other experiences of hospitals and illness, as I have and still deal with medical issues. I immediately identified with much of the story, especially when he would talk about how life in the hospital and illness can change you. He specifically mentions that the hospital is dehumanizing, and that he thinks of “hamsters and mice and laboratories” when he is being poked and prodded by doctors and nurses while under the big surgical lights (pg. 71.). He mentions how nothing stops for you while in the hospital, life goes on. The passing of the seasons, watching visitors come to see him in different types of clothing, nothing waits for you, things change all around you, except for yourself. 

Ultimately, Watt’s message of living as a patient is very moving, and puts out a perspective of a life that very few people know of. I really liked this book, I was hooked in from the very beginning. The only thing I would criticize or change would be the beginning. It was a bit messy, and I don’t really understand why he mentioned him having a heart attack, when that wasn’t the type of illness he mainly struggled with. Not including that, this book is very good, and I would most definitely recommend it, even if the person reading doesn’t know who Ben Watt is, or if they don’t really care much about medical mysteries. I think it’s really important to look at how others live life, and this book is a great representation of that.


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About the Contributor
Sarah Jeffers
Sarah Jeffers, Social Media Manager

Hello! I am part of the Class of '25 and I am so excited to be managing the social medias this year! I have always loved to keep my friends and family up to date on things (even if they haven’t wanted to hear it). I have also found a love for reading about what is happening all around us. I hope to be able to bring the stories and life of South High and beyond to an accessible outlet!

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