Oscar the cat has a very special skill. An otherwise ordinary cat—he'd sooner give you his back or a sideways glance than curl up on your lap—Oscar has the uncanny ability to predict when people are about to die. Adopted by staff members at Steere House nursing home when he was a kitten, the three year-old cat has presided over the deaths of more than twenty-five nursing home residents thus far. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death – a blessing, really, because it allows staff members to notify families that the end is near. Oscar is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves because he provides companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone.
When Dr. David Dosa, an attending physician at Steere House, wrote about Oscar in the New England Journal of Medicine, the response was tremendous, with coverage everywhere from Today to People to CNN. Now Dr. Dosa expands his story, using the cat and the stories of several patients to examine end-of-life care as it exists today. Heartfelt, inspiring and sometimes even funny, it allows readers into a world rarely seen from the outside and often misunderstood.
©2010 David Dosa (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Heartfelt, inspiring, and sometimes even funny, Making Rounds with Oscar allows readers into a world, often misunderstood, that is rarely seen from the outside as a doctor looks at family and companionship through the life lessons of the elderly – and one remarkable cat.
“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)
"[The] book, both touching and humorous, isn’t just about Oscar. It’s about listening and letting go." (Craig Wilson, USA Today)
This was an excellent, well written/spoken book. Performance is well done as well. It sheds light on the various stages of dementia, effects on family members, and care. Though not always easy to listen to and I would often get teary-eyed, I recommend this story if you are interested in medicine, care to learn or are aware of family struggles with dementia, care options, and effects of animals in our lives and the comfort they can bring.
I was Apprehensive about listening to this audiobook because my mom went to Heaven nine months ago… I lost her through dementia, Glaucoma and a brain tumor. I took care of her for four years, the last two were 24–7. I was everything to her, including being her Seeing-Eye daughter :-) It is what love does! This book was very comforting... I would recommend it to anyone who has been through or is going through caring for a loved one… Thank you for sharing your Oscar story! Pets are so amazing and wise!
Not really, Most of this story was about the patients in the home and their lives rather than Oscar the cat.
Alzheimers victims dying.
I was not really happy that the focus was not on Oscar, the cat everybody knows. The author briskly turned aside to focus on family misery about their loved ones and his own thinly disguised skepticism (after he saw Oscar in action). I firmly believe animals have certain powers, even if it's based on smell, as is intimated about Oscar. I have read animal stories much more animal-centric and still interesting. Maybe there is a need for a book about Alzheimers sufferers, of which I expect to become, but I was not ready to read about them now. Denial? Perhaps. But I wanted to read about a cat who allowed people a little time to meet their maker... evidently it was just a matter of a cat liking the "death odor" and snuggling up to those who provided it. Boo.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
Dr Dosa writes of his experiences in a care facility for people with dementia, and Oscar the cat threads in and out of the lives of the patients, their families, and the staff. He has taken on, somehow, the responsibility of being with the patient as their life comes to an end, and his presence has comforted their family members during the vigil at the end.
The stories are meaningful, and Oscar's behavior is mysterious and wonderful.
While Dr. Dosa was telling of the people with dementia, and his own health problems, I kept remembering another audio book I listened to by another doctor, called GRAIN BRAIN, where the author/doctor made almost miraculous improvements in people's health by having them remove grains, or grain related products from their diet.
How many people will be able to avoid dementia, thus the effect on their families as well, by being aware of the hidden inflammation in their brains, nervous systems, organs, digestive system, and joints caused by all the wheat, gluten, etc. in our food system?
In Grain Brain, the doctor told of even abnormal behaviors, such as nervous tics, or outburts, being caused by grain or grain-related products - people who were on pharmaceutical products of all kinds were able to be weaned off of them because once they stopped eating foods that caused negative effects, they got better. Sometimes amazingly quickly.
Since a great many people with some genetic heritage from Europe are negatively affected by grains, if you read Dr. Dosa's book about Oscar's role in the final days of people with dementia, please consider then reading GRAIN BRAIN as well, while the effects of dementia are still fresh in your mind. The emotional devastation of watching a person lose their memory, as Dr Dosa shares, as well as the physical and financial toll it takes on caregivers and family is terrible. That it may be preventable with simple dietary changes is tragic if people don't know that.
Making Rounds with Oscar is a moving book, well told, and because it tells us how hard it is to have a person lose their memories, it will hopefully motivate people to learn that it is possible to prevent some of this with nutrition and elimination of certain foods (GRAIN BRAIN, as well as other books on the effects of food on the brain and body)
He brings emotion to the story. How he reads the book, and the voice inflections he uses, makes you laugh or cry, depending on where in the book you are. He humanizes it. And this book benefits greatly from that!
Some of the stories in this book are very hard to hear. Dementia is a *horrible* disease, both for the person, and for their family & friends. But throughout this book, interwoven amongst all those hard stories, are positive notes. One is Oscar himself. And another is the author, as he looks for proof (and finds it) and journeys from disbelief towards belief.
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