Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa, M.D.
I picked up this book because I thought it was mostly about the cat, and I love cats, but it is really about alzheimers and dementia and how people deal with it. It is a very interesting and informative, well-written book. Dr. Dosa, a geriatritian, has patients who often go to the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which sounds like an excellent facility. Oscar is a cat who lives there, along with several other animals, and he has an uncanny ability to know when patients are abnout to die and he sits with them during their last hours. By interviewing the family members of some of the patients who Oscar sat with, Dr Dosa learned more about how families deal with dementia in their loved ones and more about animals' relationships with people. A few things that impressed me are that doctors need to explain to the families how the disease will affect the patient's living and behavior rather than just giving the medical information and that when a patient with dementia reaches a certain point, life-saving procedures are merely adding to their suffering and costing money and it is better to allow them to progress naturally and die even though that is difficult for us to do with our loved ones. I also like what one of the nursing home patients with dementia told him one day when he was having a bad day - "You'll have a lot more of those in your life. Forget about it. Most of the time it's not as bad as you think it is. Just go home, kiss your wife and kids, drink a beer, go to bed early, and you'll feel better in the morning!"