A young, hopeful doctor’s memoir—an unforgettable love story and an informative journey into the world of medicine and kidney transplantation that ultimately asks: What does it mean to let go of something that you love, even if it is life itself?
When Vanessa fell in love with Robert, she had no idea that the relationship would thoroughly transform her life. Robert suffered from end-stage kidney disease, which required him to endure years of debilitating dialysis to stay alive, at least until his failed organ could be replaced by a kidney transplant. Although Vanessa was a primary care doctor, she developed a deeper understanding of the difficulties Robert faced with dialysis and in finding a donor. Despite their being early in their relationship, she volunteered one of her own kidneys—and discovered that she was a match. This life-affirming experience forged a bond that would become a pillar of Vanessa and Robert’s marriage—and the beginning of her new career.
Motivated by Robert’s experience and her newfound knowledge, Vanessa became a nephrologist—a kidney doctor—and discovered far more about the realities of the specialty. Shaped by Vanessa’s remarkable experiences as a doctor, a woman of color, a mother, and a kidney donor, Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers is a love story, an exposé, and a clarion call for us all to consider the dualities of both loving and letting go.
Dr. Vanessa Grubbs is an associate professor of medicine and a nephrologist at the University of California, San Francisco and has maintained a clinical practice and research program Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital since 2009. She received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Duke University and teaches writing for patient advocacy to medical students and practicing physicians. She lives with her husband, teenage son, and two dogs in Oakland, California. <i>Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers</i> is her first book.
“Dr. Grubbs’ extraordinary story reminds us all of the Samaritan function of being a physician. Not only did she train as a kidney specialist because of the man she loves, but also gave him one of her kidneys. This gripping, heartfelt memoir is a deeply insightful look at health care in America as experienced by doctor and patient.” — Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
“Part memoir, part medical guide, Dr. Vanessa Grubbs has written an unforgettable journey of the way love, health, and illness affect us all—doctors and patients. If you loved Jessica Zitter’s Extreme Measures or Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, Dr. Grubbs’s beautifully written book will connect with your heart and soul. Her book is a wonderful guide for people facing kidney disease, complete with information on how to navigate the health care system.” — Angelo Volandes, Harvard physician and author of The Conversation
“Dr. Vanessa Grubbs, one of the few black female kidney doctors in the country, has written an intense, ambitious, and fascinating book. It’s a must-read for anyone who is or who knows anyone having kidney issues, on dialysis, or considering transplant.” — Victoria Sweet, MD, award-winning author of God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine
“Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers is a love story—love for a man, love for the profession of medicine, love for humanity, love for life. In the sure hands of Vanessa Grubbs, it is a story told beautifully, courageously, and honestly. You’ll never forget Vanessa and Robert, and you’ll never view medicine quite the same way again.” — ROBERT WACHTER, MD, author of New York Times bestseller The Digital Doctor
“Thoughtful and endearing.” — Washington Post