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Out of Patients: A Novel
by Sandra Cavallo Miller
University of Nevada Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-64779-060-8 | Paper: 978-1-64779-059-2
Library of Congress Classification PS3613.I55293O98 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6

After practicing medicine for more than thirty years in the sweltering suburbs of Phoenix, Dr. Norah Waters is weighing her options, and early retirement is looking better and better. At age fifty-eight, she questions whether she still needs to deal with midnight calls, cranky patients, and the financial headaches that come with running a small clinic. Fighting burnout and workplace melodrama, Norah gives herself one final year to find the fulfillment and satisfaction she remembers from the early years of her once-cherished career.

As she embarks on her year’s journey, Norah grapples with a medical practice that is experiencing a concerning loss of income. She is supervising two medical students, one whose shyness hampers his development and another whose arrogance and contempt for family medicine creates major friction at the clinic. Norah’s life is further complicated by her elderly mother, a feisty 86-year-old living in Sun City, who once rejoiced at Woodstock and recently partied at Burning Man. Troubled by a shadow in their past, both women find themselves on a quest for self-worth in their shifting worlds. Norah also must cope with the end of an unhappy, long-term relationship with an aspiring, but deadbeat, novelist.

Supported by her steadfast dog, a misfit veterinarian, and a thoughtful radiologist, Norah wrestles through a surprising assortment of obstacles, sometimes amusing and sometimes dreadful, on her way to making a decision about her future.

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