Tear: my review

Tear: Hillel Ramirez


A misdiagnosis in the ER could cost a patient his/her life. When tests are run and results are read the patient has to hope the doctor reads them correctly and that the lab performs them properly. One young doctor would make a startling discovery that will send shockwaves throughout an entire hospital and just might cost him more than just the patient’s life that he is trying to safe. Dr. Joaquin Weitzmann enters the ER to begin his shift and asks the doctor about to leave for his detailed report on the patients that are listed on the white board. The white board is where the names of the patients are listed, their complaints listed, their tests that were ordered and their final diagnosis. Dr. Greg Lambert was set on leaving in order to go on a date. Dr. Parker, the attending physician of Mrs. McFinn signed the order for her release. But, something told Joaquin that more attention was needed for this 62-year-old woman and upon examination and a short conversation with her he realized the order to send her home was wrong. Checking her x-ray and questioning Dr. Parker brought nothing but his wrath. What does a young intern do? Does he let her go home when he realizes she could die or does he do something drastic that might cost him more than just his job? Alerting the OR team of her condition and getting them to run more tests reveals what he thought was correct and as a result the woman’s life was saved. But, what about Dr. Parker and his misdiagnosis? What would the final outcome be for this young intern? Not revealing the truth to anyone Parker took the credit and the rest remains to be seen.


Tears are rips that can destroy your life. A tear in your heart can create damage and you might not live. Pulling something apart by force and ripping it into pieces can create a huge tear. Imagine a piece of paper with no creases, no smudges and no flaws. Imagine taking a pencil and placing one small dot on the upper right hand corner. Then take a scissor and cut out the dot leaving a space or a hole within the paper. Imagine doing that until nothing is left of the paper except small pieces that have been torn away. Families are supposed to be loyal and care for each other. We are briefly introduced to his father Santiago and then given a brief hint about his mother. Two people on different ends of the spectrum that no longer function as one yet stay together. Tear: Hillel Ramirez: When will the final Tear occur? This is one book you definitely want to read and will not want to put down.


A phone call from his father sets the scene for the drama to come. Together they speak about his childhood, his aspirations as a doctor and the final hint that something was wrong with his father, Santiago. The author takes the reader back in time to his childhood, his life in Cuba sharing his heritage and the feelings of the people about Cuba and Cubans. Living in Boston and working there he hears the many voices of the people and their feelings about Cubans but what happens next will alert the reader to the fact that prejudice rears its head in many different and unexpected ways. Not only did Joaquin rid himself of his accent by the time he was in the eighth grade but also his father did the same thing later on. As a noted psychiatrist he hoped to practice but without his accident. The author shares more about Joaquin and the inner rage and anger that flashes within him at times but does not share and hopefully will not explode. There are many flashbacks throughout the novel and the author reverts from the present to the past many times to allow the reader to get to know more about his past before coming full circle in the present. When he receives a call that his grandfather has passed away the anger wells up within him and the author shares his feelings, his love and his past with the man he called Lolo. But, this is another Tear but there are many more rips to come.


In his fourth year of medical school an incident would rock his world before being accept to Harvard Hospital. A noted intern of great standing he is relieved of his position because of where he went to medical school and not for his outstanding medical skills. The harshness of the phone call about his grandfather’s death, the dismissal from his job, the fear that is father is ill and the coldness of his mother create more tears in the paper and in Joaquin. When his father relates the fact that he looks yellow he discounts the severity of the situation until it is too late. Not wanting him to know about his impending operation he calls his daughters and not him. Learning about it from his mother he flies to his father’s beside but is too late because the surgery has already begun and the hospital chosen substandard.


On his trip back to Miami he remembers the past and his times with his sisters. But, Joaquin lived on the edge of his own personality so tight sometimes almost like a taut band about to pop. Hope, fear and self-preservation among the things he dealt with as the author shares the birth of his sisters, his youth and much more. All of this while sitting in the waiting room waiting for the doctor to come out with the verdict one no one wants to hear but they must deal with. Pancreatic cancer is almost like a death sentence but the doctor states they think they were able to remove most of it. Hopefully the jaundice will go away and his father will recover. The reaction one more sadness, one more tear in his perfect world and one more corner ripped out of the perfect page.


His father undergoes the surgery but the staff is totally incompetent and if not for his skills and his knowledge his father never would have pulled through. From failing to do a simple blood gas to taking out the breathing tube too fast, Joaquin deals with the horrific and callous care given to his father and takes a stand that the staff will never forget. With a mother only concerned about herself and a home that needed to be fumigated, Santiago returns home with the help of his children and the knowledge that his son would see to his care. The anger pent up inside of him is real and the relationship with his father that he wants to mend just might not happen. A mother who allows someone to finally clean La Casa and a family trying to create a tie that mind bind them. But, what happens next will create more tears in the paper and the family might never be whole again.


When his father finally returns home we learn more about his mother and her coldness comes through, as his father needs to go for treatments and each one of his children will take turns. Thinking that his wife would take the time is definitely futile. The resentment shown when he won awards as a child and one person named Lena who understands him and tells him never to give up. One house filled with so many people yet they were all alone. Three children of Cuban-Jewish heritage who never really melded and felt alone with parents concerned about their own needs. How do you handle the tightrope you live on daily and come to terms with your fears, hopes and dreams? How do you prevent yourself from going into a violent rage when your father hikes up the sound on the television when you are trying to study for a test? One family filled with deceit, lies, secrets, unhappiness and so many tears in their structure and framework it is amazing they function at all. Coming together in a crisis should unite them. But will it? Joaquin then shares with the reader his relationship with Betty soon to be his wife. Will that survive the test of his family, his other obstacles and his past?


Flashing back once again the author allows the reader to meet the two people who had the greatest impact on Joaquin’s life. Lena and Andy were and still are special to him and often centered him when he felt frustrated and could not handle different situations dealing with his job and his family. No matter how he tried and excelled in some forums he would never be accepted for who he was by everyone. Prejudice rears its ugly head or face in this book in many different ways. Even at his own wedding to Betty you can feel the dividing line or tension.


If you were to create a portrait of this family you could use the fragile tiles of a mosaic painting and find the pieces do not fit together to create a perfect picture. The images you would see would reflect a distorted image within the glass of a mirror that magnifies your flaws and hides the real you. There are many who prey on their own imperfections and insecurities like his sister Deidre and the problems Consuelo faces within herself too. The many doctors he meets their support or non-support does not dissuade him from pursuing his goals and choosing his calling in medicine. But, tragedy strikes again and his father becomes critically ill and his mother presents a side of herself that no one would ever believe any parent would. What his father reveals will surprise the reader and not endear you to Dorothy. The Jewish expressions brought me back to my childhood and the one on page 275 said it all. When the three siblings returned to La Casa what they saw was horrifying but they needed to carry out their father’s final wishes and much more.


Forgiveness, anger, hate, deceit lies and treachery are all part of this novel as the author reveals the inner most conflicts of this family and one man in the center of it all with his music, his instruments, his goals and his own way of expressing his love for his family but will it all be too late? What was their mother’s final blow that would destroy them once and for all? Why did she prey on the mind of a dying man? An ending so powerful you will not believe it. One man’s career hanging in the balance as a result of the greed, pride and anger of others who was supposed to trust. Tear: it will rip you apart, bring tears to your eyes, hope and faith that justice will prevail and keep you glued to the printed page until you read the dramatic and climatic ending. Flashing forward you will meet them years later and what you will learn will definitely surprise you as Joaquin and his family come together for a finale you will never expect.


Fran Lewis: reviewer




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