Title: I’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News: You’re Old
Author: David Bernstein
Publisher: Dynamic Learning
Life is an aging process. Each of us will go through it in our own way. How we lead our lives when we are old, particularly as we near the end, is, I believe, worth pondering. In this way, “I’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News: You’re Old” serves as a guide for all of us as we age, providing topics for contemplation and discussion with friends, family and colleagues. “You’re Old” uses real patient experiences to explore what happens as we age-physically, mentally, and socially. The book also examines the tremendous abilities of medicine today as well as its limits, and the social issues that adults in America face as they age. Each chapter concludes with Notes on Living Longer, and a resource section, providing topic-specific information on organizations, websites, and other expert sources that can help the reader better understand and prepare for the prize of surviving youth and middle-age: becoming old. “You’re Old” is written for the aging and the aged, their children, and younger people who aspire to grow old. It is written for the physicians, nurses and other providers who care for the elderly. The experiences explored in this book include the “good news and the bad” as the inevitable ravages of age intrude into the lives of Dr Bernstein’s patients. From the most mundane situations to the truly sublime, the tales illuminate the emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of aging along with the diverse strategies people use to adapt to its realities.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
I have a writing coach, Martha Murphy, and during the writing of the book she and I were bantering around several book titles. Believe it or not, I started out using the title of one of my chapters, “But Dr. I’m a good driver”. After massaging several other names, she proposed the name that stuck I’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News YOU’RE OLD Tales of a Geriatrician.
What is your writing environment like?
I cannot imagine writing anywhere except quiet room, where I can focus and concentrate on the task at hand. How people can write in a noisy, highly distractible environment like Starbucks, baffles me completely.
What is your favorite quote? Why?
I have many favorite quotes. The quote that stands out and I use periodically; especially with my patients who were having some despair is from M Scott Peck, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. “. What I particularly like about this quote is that it has a great ability to defuse people (including myself) when their expectations are high life should be fair, but it generally isn’t.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My upbringing had a major impact on my life and writing. As I was growing up neither of my parents read very much but they were both devoted to their children and insured we all got a good education. My parents had great admiration for writers and authors, and I know that inspired me in one way, or another. My parents, especially my father imparted on me that I was capable of anything I put my mine too.
What inspires you to write?
I am been inspired by the everyday stories have heard from patients treated throughout my career. Each and every story has brought me such joy and inspiration. Writing a book, accumulating all the patient stories and the lessons learned from them and efforts I need to take myself to become healthier and ultimately look and feel better.
What do you consider the most challenging part about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Most challenging aspects of writing have been finding the time in my very busy schedule and organizing my thoughts around the different stories to translate them into a sensible, coherent and meaningful material for the reader. In addition, as a physician I have always held myself to high standards of getting things right, and it is a challenge “get it right the first time” as a part time writer.
Did you learn anything while writing this book? If so, what was it?
It’s hard to itemize all the things I learned while writing my book. It took five years to write, and I think I learned something new just about every day. Once completed, I had a great deal to learn about the publishing industry. After that, I spent at least two years learning how to market my book while I prepared to write my next. From the standpoint of subject matter, once I organized my chapters and began performing my research, I learned even more about secrets to a happy, healthier, longer life. I learned that there is limitless information about the subjects I plan to write about and about being a successful writer
What have you done to promote this book?
I have a multi-tiered plan of activities that promote the increased awareness of my book. Launch of a new website, marketing materials that tie into all the social media channels. Additionally, I engage in speaking at local retirement communities, libraries, book festivals and book clubs. I am constantly working on growing our mailing/email lists that come from the newsletter subscribers, audiences and website. The marketing efforts focus on joining the conversations on aging, sharing my book with my followers through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google plus. I have collaborated with several online websites which speak to aging issues, in addition to my wife’s online e-learning education site where my writing is promoted through her Social Media channels, expanding the readership. I write blogs approximately one every few months on subjects either from my book or related to aging.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
Since writing my book, I have adopted the program called Scrivener. The program helped me organize my thoughts for my newsletter blogs and future books. While writing my first book, I had access to a writing coach; her assistant was incredibly helpful and important during the process.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have found it incredibly uplifting to see the enthusiasm and respect I get when I tell people I’m a published author. In some cases, I get more respect as an author than I do as a physician.
David Bernstein, MD is a highly respected physician who is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Geriatrics practicing in Clearwater, Florida. His 30+ years of experience have provided him with opportunities to observe and empathize with thousands of adults as they age. His compassion and ability to see the souls of his patients has compelled him to share his stories in his book “I’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News You’re OLD: Tales of a Geriatrician What to expect in Your 60s, 70s, 80s and Beyond”
Dr. Bernstein has served as chairman of his hospital’s Pharmacy and Therapeutic committee for 20 years helping to improve patient safety and outcomes. During this period of time, he also served on the board of the local Jewish Family service and as chairman. As an associate clinical professor in the department of medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, he has taught the skills he has acquired over the years to first and second year students.
Dr. Bernstein has been a nursing home medical director for 20 years. He was responsible for addressing administrative and quality assurance issues.
“When you give, you get back” he says about what his patients have told him and taught him about life and aging. His writing style of telling stories about his patients allows the reader to understand the complex emotions and struggles of growing older and losing independence. He lovingly tells these stories adding his own insights about this complex process.
Dr Bernstein is an avid public speaker, addressing various medical topics with his colleagues and with the community at large with a focus on families facing the complex problems as they near the end of life.