Gawande turns to his father a lot when talking about Being Mortal, his most personal example on his journey of understanding how we can support people in the ends of their lives.
"We have medicalised even the aging experience, we have made it so that the number one goal is your safety and health, and that's a very thin thing to live for, being safe… and it has caused us unexpected tremendous amount of suffering as people enter the last phases of their lives," he says.
For his father, the most important thing was that he be able to still have dinner and conversation with his family at least once a week, so he decided to undergo an invasive nine hour surgery as well as radiation for his tumour, but did not have chemotherapy. Others will have different priorities, and simply prolonging life until the bitter end may not be compatible with the type of life they want.
Oliver Sacks Oliver Sacks died recently at 82. He spent his final days doing what he loved—playing the piano, writing to friends, swimming, enjoying smoked salmon, and completing several articles. His final thoughts were of gratitude for a life well lived and the privilege of working with his patients at various hospitals and residences including the Little Sisters of the Poor in the Bronx and in Queens, New York.
The man who mistook his wife for a hat
If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks's splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine's ultimate responsibility: "the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject."
Musicophilia: tales of music and the brain
from the ABC book club
Can't we talk about something more pleasant?In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents...
watch the episode http://www.abc.net.au/tv/firsttuesday/s4284837.htm