Reading for Saturday, 27 December
Now this chapter is rather amusing. We switch back to the unwell Natasha and Tolstoy uses this as an excuse to spend an entire chapter taking a sledgehammer to the medical profession.
Granted, medicine has come a long way since the 1800s, and if history is any guide, there could be a lot of things that we do now that we’ll look back in 50 years time and say, “What on earth were we thinking?”
But is it really as bad as Tolstoy puts out? That because every individual is unique, there’s no real way of treating anything?
Anyway, as long as you’re not a doctor, or can take all of this with a grain of salt, it’s actually quite amusing as Tolstoy tells us about all the placebo benefits of consulting doctors. It makes the doctors feel special, it makes the family feel like they’re doing something rather than nothing, it gives Sonya a sense of purpose making sure Natasha takes her medicine, and it even gives Natasha something to do (trying to avoid taking the medicine).
All very amusing . . . but, in the end, it’s as her depression eases that she gets well.