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Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat Paperback – April 5, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Oscar captured my heart, and Dr. Dosa opened my mind. This extraordinary book offers a physician's perspective on death and dying, as well as insights on family love, companionship without question, and the life lessons that only the old can provide. As if that weren't enough, it proves the old adage: there are no ordinary cats. --Brenda Copeland, editor --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In fact, there might be a mere cumulative total of 20 pages about Oscar. Rather, the book is one part memoir of the doctor and his geriatric practice; one part profile of the dementia unit's charge nurse; and eight parts profiles of the residents and their families, with a dollop about the end-of-life comfort provided to them by Oscar. Nor does Dosa explore (beyond a couple sentences) the source of Oscar's instinct -- the theories and research about the physiology of dying and animals' amazing sense abilities.
That said, I'm going to take a sharp turn and say that I liked the book it actually *is*, and that it's an important book for the elderly and (especially) their caregivers to read. Dosa is frank about the fear, denial, frustration and guilt inherent in caregiving generally, and specifically in losing a loved one in "the long goodbye" of dementia. He touches on the inadequacies of doctors and the healthcare system and the importance of realistic end-of-life directives. And there are takeaways: that simple diversion is more effective than trying to reign someone in from their altered reality; that it's important to interact according to who the person is now (in dementia) rather than who they were; and that it's most important to simply "be there" rather than necessarily interacting at all. Recommended.
No one knows how he does it, but when he detects that someone is near dying, he takes up residence on their bed and usually stays until the funeral director comes to collect the body. During this time, he also offers comfort to the family who are there to be with their loved one during this transition. When there's no one to sit with the patient, Oscar maintains a solitary vigil. No one dies alone on Oscar's watch.
People who love their pets probably won't question Oscar's abilities, but one of the doctors who works there was a bit of a skeptic. This book is the result of his interviews with family members and staff who shared their experiences with him. Over and over they told Dr. Doza how much the gift of Oscar's presence had meant to them during a very difficult time. Most people who have cats know the comfort they can bring when they curl up next to you in bed and share their warmth. It's as if Oscar's being there normalizes the events and removes some of the fears.
All of the patients on Oscar's floor are in the final stages of dementia, usually due to Alzheimer's. Experience and research have shown that two things are often able to break through the haze that envelops them - music and animals. In the process of telling Oscar's story, Dr. Doza also gives us insight into this very scary disease.Read more ›
I imagine that Steere House will not be lacking for residents after this moving depiction. Needless to say, it is heart-wrenching for any family member to place his/her loved one in a nursing home, probably more so when the loved one has dementia. What a gift to know that Steere House exists, where the staff is compassionate, even loving, and treats their residents like family. Where a cat moved in while the building was still under construction, and the management took it as a sign that animals were meant to live there along with the patients. Personally, I find dementia to be a pretty scary topic and generally try not to think about it. The author is a geriatrician who makes it real, even if still mysterious. He interviews family members who speak courageously and honestly about losing their loved ones, and how it helped to have Oscar there at the end.
I learned that hospice is not just for the very end of life, and it is about much more than medical care.
I learned that people who refuse to eat at the natural end of their lives are not starving themselves.
I learned that there is a lot we don't know about dementia, but we are learning more all the time.
Dr. Sosa writes in a very easy, straightforward style. His patients and their families are very lucky people.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good sweet book about an interesting cat and his life at a nursing home. Enjoyable read.Published 4 days ago by N. C. Hager
Like the author, at the end of my life, I want the cat not the tubes in the hospital!Published 1 month ago by J. D. Wilson
Note that this lukewarm review is for the reading, not the book. I am currently listening to this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Greg R. Graeber
I had read about this cat in the newspaper, so I knew the book was based in fact. I've really enjoyed this, and I can't help wondering what the cat is pickiing up on that we are... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Microbes
I started reading this while staying with my 92 year old mother who suffers from dementia. I did not know how to cope with her repeated questions and felt guilty about not wanting... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jenny L. Hines
Excellent book. Everyone should read this book. Medical professionals and those with elderly loved ones.Published 2 months ago by Julia