Most of us have been sent by the doctor for blood tests, and x-rays, or to specialists if we have been ill. After reading Some Tests, I will certainly be thinking differently with any referral I am given.
The main character Beth Own wakes one morning feeling unwell after being ‘a little off colour’ the day before, and taking to her bed after leaving early from work.
The visiting locum doctor explains to the intern ‘the patient presents as someone who is, medically speaking, in rude health. But at the same time she exhibits symptoms with no detectable pathology: slight headache, dizziness, a heaviness in the limbs, an overall sense of what we might call unrightness’. ‘All right, he said, now we need to send you off for some tests’.
Beth’s riveting journey takes the reader to a series of consultations with a variety of doctors around Melbourne in quick succession, and left me feeling quite exhausted.
Although very unreal, as we all know the modern health system is a waiting game, the book was a fast paced read which I found difficult to put down.
The author Wayne Macaulay’s style of writing used short sentences, frequent paragraphs and line breaks within the short chapters, to create an unsettling feeling of impending doom.
But what is wrong with the 37-year-old wife and mother of two?
In her words she explains, ‘I seem to have developed a special relationship with the moon that somehow relates to my dead mother. I also seem to be seeing more spectacular sunsets than usual, too. But on the other hand in a medical sense, I still don’t know what’s wrong.’
Australian author Wayne Macaulay has written a number of books and Some Tests will appeal to anyone who enjoys a modern novel with some fantasy. Unlike many books about illness this is not heavy going and leaves the reader with many questions about the current state of western medicine, and I felt very sympathetic towards Beth’s husband David, bewildered at the sudden change in his family circumstances.
Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh
by Wayne McCauley
Published by Text