San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the hotel-Dieu (God's hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves-"anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times" and needed extended medical care-ended up here. So did Victoria Sweet, who came for two months and stayed for twenty years.
Laguna Honda, lower-tech but human-paced, gave Sweet the opportunity to practice a kind of attentive medicine that has almost vanished. Gradually, the place transformed the way she understood her work. Alongside the modern view of the body as a machine to be fixed, her extraordinary patients evoked an older idea of the body as a garden to be tended. God's Hotel tells their story and the story of the hospital itself, which, as efficiency experts, politicians, and architects descended, determined to turn it into a modern "health care facility," revealed its own surprising truths about the essence, cost, and value of caring for body and soul.
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by Victoria Sweet
by Melissa Sweet
by Victoria Rowell
by Victoria Holt
by Victoria Thompson
by Victoria Griffith
"The "slow medicine" ideals of twelfth-century Benedictine nun Hildegaard don't get much attention in modern hospitals. However, Victoria Sweet finds they help in her work at San Francisco's alms house, the last in the nation. Her stories about patients are evenhanded; one about a homeless man who eats coins is followed by one of how a defiant wife ended up being treated as a mental case. Her caring is always evident as she narrates her own book, and her reading is gripping. Sweet's account of how a bureaucratic type became involved in the hospital's life is as mischievous as it is heartfelt. Even dry information is conveyed in engaging style. J.A.S. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine"
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