On January 2, 2016, there was a death in my family. With the passing of my 93 year old mother, the entire generation ahead of me is now gone. My parents, aunts, uncles and in-laws are all gone. There is no one left in front of me.
Being the oldest, I am the patriarch. I am on the point. If everything runs its normal life cycle, I am next in line when death comes knocking. If I have my Mom’s longevity, I will have another 20 years. If not, maybe only a day or two. We all know our birth date. None of us know our death date.
The reason I make this two paragraph introduction talking about life and death is I wish to recommend a valuable book I just finished reading.
The book is titled Being Mortal by Dr. Atul Gawande. The target message of the book talks about medicine and what matters to most of us in the end.
Allow me to quote from the inside jacket cover. “Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should.”
Often there is no discussion by anyone regarding the pros and cons of any particular course of medical action. There is no discussion of what the patient wants in terms of quality of life. Instead there is a constant pressure in the world of medicine to do anything and everything to prevent the patient from dying, even if this extension of life brings misery and pain.
Rather than telling the reader what to do when faced with serious medical circumstances, the author educates the reader regarding alternative views and resources that can be considered as medical decisions and end of life arrangements are made.
I recommend that anyone who might die in the future or anyone who has a loved one who might die, read this book now. When you find yourself dealing with serious illness, injury or pending death, you will be better prepared to make difficult decisions and at the same time mitigate feelings of guilt. Additionally, your education will help you understand hospice, palliative care, nursing homes, assisted living and the end of life process.
The link above will take you to Amazon Books should you wish to purchase the book. If you are like me, retired on a fixed income, you can borrow the book from your local library.
In closing, this one book adequately covers the subject. There is no need to attend an out of state conference.