One thing a good inspirational book achieves is making its readers realize the worth of life and the state of living just in normal good health-something we often take for granted. Canadian author Shireen Jeejeebhoy’s biographical account of Judy Taylor, titled Lifeliner: The Judy Taylor Story (iUniverse Inc, Nebraska, 2007), is a recent instance of personal inspiration with the life and courage of a woman whose medical treatment for severe gastroenterological damage was about to revolutionize the medical technique of intravenous feeding.
Being the daughter of Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy, Shireen Jeejeebhoy met Judy Taylor while still a young girl. Back then, in the early 1970s, Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) was a medical strategy in its infancy, used diffidently by physicians for keeping seriously ill people alive only for a short time. Gastroenterologist Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy decided to use TPN as the alternative mode of nutrition to sustain Judy Taylor-the woman who suddenly had become a victim to a horrible blood clot that destroyed her innards, making eating impossible and inviting death in the form of infection and starvation. Lifeliner is the true story of what happened in Judy’s life as she fought death with the help of Dr. Jeejeebhoy. By staying alive and functional on TPN for over twenty years, Judy became the first successful ‘lifeliner’, a source of hope for more patients like her, and Dr. Jeejeebhoy practically became the father of Total Parenteral Nutrition.
Lifeliner is more than an inspiring biography; it’s a book about the developmental course of TPN as well as a case study of the emotional aftermath of seriously ill people, like Judy, to their families and relationships. Shireen’s pen has all the force of a great storyteller and the artistic skills of reviving a past scene in its most original form. She shows us the situation, taking us to the time and place of the event without throwing in a single unnecessary word. Choosing the present tense for telling Judy’s story, the book gets over the sense of temporal gap that so often interposes between the reader and the events.
There are many medical terms in Lifeliner which the lay reader may have to grapple with and so the author has taken care to add a glossary of the difficult terms at the end of the book. All material is well-researched and a bibliography of relevant works makes the book a complete guide to TPN for interested readers. Lifeliner is for all audiences, and especially a must-read for people whose lives have been touched by serious illness. This book will give them hope and courage, helping them to appreciate life better.