Chelsea Green Publishing

It's Probably Nothing

More Adventures of a Vermont Country Doctor

Availability: In Stock

eBook

Available Date:
September 09, 2011

$17.95 $14.36

It's Probably Nothing continues the tale woven by Dr. Beach Conger in his first book, Bag Balm and Duct Tape. This new collection sees Conger and his wife yearning for new challenges and relocating to the suburbs of Philadelphia after 25 years in mythical Dumster, Vermont. Conger gamely takes a job in a teaching hospital in the poorest part of the city and gets to experience urban bureaucratized medicine and its trials- a far cry from the more idiosyncratic and hands-on version he practiced in Vermont. After 5 years Conger and his wife move back to Dumster, where he rediscovers more about his patients' capacity to both cope and cherish one another than he expected.

Each of the tightly constructed chapters is centered around a particular patient or particular theme in medicine. It's Probably Nothing is both funny and poignant, and showcases both Conger's irreverent view into medicine and his profound empathy for the characters he encounters along the way. His experience highlights how medicine-and problems with out current medical system-can remain the same and yet be vastly different across class, race, and region. Among the people the reader meets are urban drag queens, small-town farmers and other heroes, Vermont celebrities, and the occasional reclusive author.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"It's Probably Nothing is actually quite wonderful. With wit and humility, but above all with deep affection, Beach Conger captures perfectly what it is to be a Vermonter. This book is a must-read for doctors and patients alike."--Peter Welch, US Representative, Vermont

"Dr. Beach Conger's It's Probably Nothing is the inspiring tale of a fine and caring physician's life and times in two places that could scarcely be more different: rural Vermont and inner-city Philadelphia. Written with great humor, wisdom, common sense, and compassion, It's Probably Nothing is a uniquely American memoir by a very insightful American individualist. I loved it."--Howard Frank Mosher, author of Walking to Gatlinburg

"Doctor Conger is back again! But this time deeper, warmer, and suffused with the notion that there's no hurry; each Vermont story is too good to be rushed. You can see them coming, but you can't stop ambling with him to the conclusions. It's Probably Nothing is his best collection yet.--Willem Lange, writer, A Yankee Notebook; commentator and host, VPR and NHPTV; author, A Dream of Dragons

Book News-
In this follow-up to his first memoir on practicing in rural Vermont, Harvard Medical School graduate Conger moves from the farm to inner-city Philadelphia, where he treats patients who struggle for food, shelter, and safety. After five years, he returns to the isolated rural community of Dummerston, Vermont. Conger describes humorous encounters with various offbeat patients; on the more serious side, he reflects on problems of our healthcare system. The author now teaches at Dartmouth Medical School.

Booklist-
Whether floundering as a fish out of water in an inner-city Philadelphia hospital or explaining C-reactive protein (CRP) to a patient, if Conger appears to be an iconic iconoclast, so much the better. Because, as a "senior" physician, he is no more likely to allow a superfluous, if expensive, technology to get in the way of his hands-on method of diagnosis than he is to let so trifling a thing as a fact hinder a good yarn. The way he tells it, truth does not suffer facts. And Conger's truth doesn't suffer at all. It is biting where the pompous beg to be taken down; it is wry, witty, and deprecating regarding himself and modern health care; and it is respectful of the patients he tends. Truly a lover of the written word, Conger wraps his stories in language that is loving and engagingly imaginative-for a doctor, that is. By capturing the essence of individuals such as a Norma Lebrec or a C. Frederick Selkirk in his literary embrace, Conger portrays folks we all either know or would like to know.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beach Conger

Beach Conger, M.D., was born in 1941 in New York City and grew up in Pleasantville, N.Y. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1967 and did his training in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and the University of California San Francisco. From 1969 to 1971 he was an offer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the CDC. From 1977 to 2001, he practiced general internal medicine at Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor, Vermont. He then spent five years teaching hospital medicine at Medical College of Pennsylvanvia and Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, serving as chief of hospital medicine at the latter institution. In 2006 he returned to Vermont to practice in Windsor. He is a member of the Dartmouth Medical School faculty, where he precepts medical students in their primary care rotations.

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Two Secrets to a Long and Healthy Life - Beach Conger, MD

Beach Conger and It's Probably Nothing

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Cheesemonger

Cheesemonger

By Gordon Edgar

Witty and irreverent, informative and provocative, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge is the highly readable story of Gordon Edgar's unlikely career as a cheesemonger at San Francisco's worker-owned Rainbow Grocery Cooperative. A former punk-rock political activist, Edgar bluffed his way into his cheese job knowing almost nothing, but quickly discovered a whole world of amazing artisan cheeses. There he developed a deep understanding and respect for the styles, producers, animals, and techniques that go into making great cheese.

With a refreshingly unpretentious sensibility, Edgar intertwines his own life story with his ongoing love affair with cheese, and offers readers an unflinching, highly entertaining on-the-ground look at America's growing cheese movement. From problem customers to animal rights, business ethics to taste epiphanies, this book offers something for everyone, including cheese profiles and recommendations for selecting the very best-not just the most expensive-cheeses from the United States and around the world and a look at the struggles dairy farmers face in their attempts to stay on and make their living from the land.

Edgar-a smart, progressive cheese man with an activist's edge-enlightens and delights with his view of the world from behind the cheese counter and his appreciation for the skill and tradition that go into a good wedge of Morbier.

Cheesemonger is the first book of its kind-a cheese memoir with attitude and information that will appeal to everyone from serious foodies to urban food activists.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Cheesemonger

Gordon Edgar

Paperback $17.95

Gathering

Gathering

By Diane Ott Whealy

Daughter of Iowa farmers, Missouri homesteader, and mother of five, Diane Ott Whealy never anticipated that one day she would become a leader in a grass-roots movement to preserve our agricultural biodiversity. The love for the land and the respect for heirloom seeds that Diane shared with her husband, Kent Whealy, led to their starting Seed Savers Exchange in 1975.

Seed Savers Exchange, the nation's premier nonprofit seed-saving organization, began humbly as a simple exchange of seeds among passionate gardeners who sought to preserve the rich gardening heritage their ancestors had brought to this country. Seeds that Ott Whealy herself inherited from her paternal grandparents were the impetus for the formation of Seed Savers Exchange, whose membership has grown from a small coterie to more than thirteen thousand. Its influence has been felt in gardens across America.

Ott Whealy's down-to-earth narrative traces her fascinating journey from Oregon to Kansas to Missouri then back home to Iowa where, in 1986, Heritage Farm became the permanent home of Seed Savers Exchange. Her heartwarming story captures what is best in the American spirit: the ability to dream and, through hard work and perseverance, inspire others to contribute their efforts to a cause. Thus was created one of the nation's most admired nonprofits in the field of genetic preservation.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Gathering

Diane Ott Whealy

Hardcover $25.00

Strangers Devour the Land

Strangers Devour the Land

By Boyce Richardson

First published in 1974, Strangers Devour the Land is recognized as the magnum opus among the numerous books, articles, and films produced by Boyce Richardson over two decades on the subject of indigenous people. Its subject, the long struggle of the Crees of James Bay in northern Quebec—a hunting and trapping people—to defend the territories they have occupied since time immemorial, came to international attention in 1972 when they tried by legal action to stop the immense hydro-electric project the provincial government was proposing to build around them.

The Crees argued that the integrity of their vast wilderness was essential to their way of life, but the authorities dismissed such claims out of hand. Richardson, who sat through many months of the trial, mingles the scientific and Cree testimony given in court with his own interviews of Cree hunters, and experiences in gathering information and shooting films, to produce a classic tale of cultures in collision.

In a new preface, he reveals that the Crees—now receiving immense sums of money as compensation for the loss of their lands—appear to be doing well, and to be in the process of joining modern, technological culture, while retaining the spiritual base of their traditional lives. Meanwhile, Hydro-Quebec continues to eye additional rivers on the Cree’s lands for new dams.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Strangers Devour the Land

Boyce Richardson, Winona LaDuke

Paperback $25.00

An Unreasonable Woman

An Unreasonable Woman

By Diane Wilson

When Diane Wilson, fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, learns that she lives in the most polluted county in the United States, she decides to fight back. She launches a campaign against a multibillion-dollar corporation that has been covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA, and dumping lethal ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast. In an epic tale of bravery, Wilson takes her fight to the courts, to the gates of the chemical plant, and to the halls of power in Austin. Along the way she meets with scorn, bribery, character assassination, and death threats. Finally Wilson realizes that she must break the law to win justice: She resorts to nonviolent disobedience, direct action, and hunger strikes. Wilson's vivid South Texas dialogue resides somewhere between Alice Walker and William Faulkner, and her dazzling prose brings to mind the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, replete with dreams and prophecies.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

An Unreasonable Woman

Diane Wilson, Kenny Ausubel

Paperback $18.00