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)
Mainly a sci-fi, and fantasy junkie who also enjoys horror, whodunnits, and books about animals and sports. I'm also an amateur filmmaker.
The first thing to know about this book, is that despite the cover, and the name, and the description, this book really isn't about a cat at all. It's about a doctor who treats patients with dementia.
So 90% of the story is about how the doctor has all these patients who are dying, and how it tears their families up, and how hard it is on them, and how wonderful his patients were prior to dementia, and how awful they were afterwards, and how once you get dementia there is nothing you can do, and how everyone underestimates how awful it is etc etc. It's a very dark, extremely depressing story. Probably more so than any other book I've ever read/listened to.
And oh yes, and there is a cat who plays a very small part in the story, who seems to know when patients are about to die, and curls up and sleeps next to them on the day that they are to die. But the book really spends very little time talking about the cat. We never get to know the cat, there's never an emotional connection between the cat and the main characters of the book. And by all accounts the cat is actually kind of a jerk except when he's visiting people that are about to die.
So anyway, the author obviously makes a great effort to hide what the book is actually about, and make people think that it is a book like Dewey, or Streetcat Named Bob, or Homer, or similar books. Anyway, I did learn some things about dementia that I didn't know before reading the book, but still I very much regret buying it. I found nothing at all uplifting about it. Just pain and misery.
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!
I would and have recommended this audiobook to my friends and family!
My family is dealing with a mother who is coming to the end of her life with alzheimer's. This book was very touching and I think has helped me understand what has happened and where we are going to the end.
One of the most memorable moments for me was when the daughter was leaving the home for the last time and Oscar escorted her out.
I enjoyed how Ray Porter gave the dramatic pauses where they were needed. I lead a busy life and would not be able to read as much as I do except for having audiobooks for myself when I drive, do the laundry or the dishes.
Yes, I wish I could have. I may listen again and try to do it in one or two sittings.
I really cannot say how much this book touched me and how much it has helped to refresh me in my waiting with my mom. Thank you!
Not really, Most of this story was about the patients in the home and their lives rather than Oscar the cat.
This is a beautiful book from beginning to end. Dr. Dosa's journey through the years with the cat and his elderly patients is heartwarming to say the least and Oscar provides a gift I can only hope is available to anyone in my life that may ever go through such experiences. Again... It is an all around beautiful story!
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.
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