Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Audio CD – CD, Unabridged, Audiobook, 7 October 2014
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- ISBN-10 : 1427244235
- ISBN-13 : 978-8968331091
- Audio CD : 7 pages
- Language: : English
- Customer reviews:
About the Author
Atul Gawande is the author of The Checklist Manifesto, Better, and Complications. He is also a MacArthur Fellow, a general surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.
Robert Petkoff has won multiple AudioFile Earphones awards for his acclaimed narrations. He was named Best Voice of Fiction & Classics for his reading of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale. His other narration credits include Oath of Office by Michael Palmer, Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman, and books by David Foster Wallace.
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There is a tendency to treat old people like children which I realize now is usually very wrong. My dad is a diabetic and we (my siblings and I) have told him over and over that his diet of sugary cereal or cinnamon rolls and orange juice for breakfast and light store brand fruit yogurt with grapes and three cookies for lunch is not what he should be eating. He acts surprised every time we mention this, but doesn't change a thing because I now understand that he wants the independence of eating as he pleases. He has lost so much--can barely hear or see or walk, that he needs these very small pleasures to continue. I imagine he doesn't see the point in giving up anything else because he has so little left. My mother's memory is going and she has COPD, but somehow has lots of get up and go. She does a lot for my dad even though I suspect she is the sicker one. Being Mortal is making me think about the best way to help my parents which will probably start with asking them what they want.
One thing that surprised me completely was Dr. Gawande's statement that genetics is only a small part of reaching old age. Here I've been thinking that because my parents have lived so long that reaching old age is probably a no brainer for me. I have to think about that possiblity some more--a lot more.
This book has some touching stories about very sick people and how their lives ended. Unfortunately for many sick people the medical community is driven to act, but not necessarily to do what is best for the individual. It seems to me that they've forgotten "the do no harm" part of being a doctor. It seems to me it does harm people to ruin the time sick people have left.
A very through provoking book that will ultimately make me think about what I want when the end is near. I wish everyone would read it; especially medical people.
One can see the signs of aging as they appear on the outside: gray hair, age spots, and wrinkles. Dr. Gawande, a surgeon, also shares what he sees when he peers inside the body of an older patient. Each day some parts of the body die and are remade while others wear and change with constant use. What happens when the limitations of one's aging body require a change in one's lifestyle? There are now many choices and Dr. Gwande rails against settling for just safety and longevity, institutionalization and restriction. He relates the history of nursing homes and visits first-hand the many options for living a life of privacy and community, of vibrancy and purpose. He applauds those in the field of gerentology who have thought "outside the box" for the development of active communities for those who are aged and frail.
The reader experiences the morphing of Dr. Gawande from a mere practitioner to the son of a dying parent. How does a doctor broach the difficult end-of-life options with terminally ill patients and loved ones? The menu of medical options for treatment can be insufficient and it is essential that the practitioner also ask the patient what she or he wants most in the finite time remaining. Is it a mistake to prolong suffering or is it better to provide value in a shortened life? The author suggests that courage is required for both aging and sickness: the courage to confront the reality of mortality and the courage to act on the truth of that reality. Have the courage and the wisdom, dear reader, to explore these difficult topics presented in the pages of this transformative book.