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)
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.
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.
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
Making the Rounds with Oscar is about the nursing home cat with the eerie talent of showing up as residents died. I liked this book. Some things were a bit odd, like why it was written by Dr. David Dosa. He was there of course but he so wasn’t a cat guy. In a way it goes to show how amazing Oscar is because he convinced this non cat guy of his skills, but I think a cat loving author would have made it more enjoyable for me. Dosa has a sort of suspicious attitude towards cats, interpreting normal cat actions in a negative way that I didn’t like too much. But overall I liked the book. Possibly this is because I find the topic of dementia interesting, but if you don't you might want to skip the book So something of a rough topic, but a good book.
Top 5. Need more Oscars in nursing homes. Comforting for patience and their families.
Takes himself and his percieved responsibilites seriously. He is like the quiet hand helping them make their final journey.
His determination not be pushed away from where he knew he was needed. Also, I have an elderly mom (90) it helped me to understand where she was at emotionally. I don't get as frustrated any more I just think Oscar! And I know she can't help what she does and says.
The most touching was when the jewish couple had their anniversary and the husband had to face the fact that the wife he loved was no longer able to connect with him. I think he went home and died of a broken heart. He was trying to hold on to the memory of her for so long. I think her reaction to him was quite a shock. One he never got over.
Would have loved to YES. My daughters and I all read it as a family book club book. We all enjoyed Oscar very much.
Are there anymore follow on books to Oscar or MiMi at Steere House?
I might think so - I always think the inflections on the authors voice really adds to the overall experience of story.
OSCAR of course!
He was great - he really had a wonderful way of changing up his voice...very good!
OF COURSE I cried. It brought back memories of my grandmother and the horrible experiences I had with her...BUT if she would have had animals to love in her facility she might have been happier.
I truly believe every facility SHOULD read this book! Then take a real good look at bringing animals to comfort their guests! I truly believe animals have a gift and I am SO happy people are bringing it to the public's attention!
This is more than a book about a remarkable cat who senses those who are about to die and accompanies them. It's about a physician who works with staff to escort these individuals during the final days of their lives and how they try to offer the best possible care. It's about living with dementia . . . and loving the person who
This is a must read for anyone who has a parent or spouse suffering from dementia. The author, Dr. Dosa, serves on the third floor of a nursing facility which made the choice of having pets to provide socialization and company to the patients. While Oscar, one of two cats on the third floor, is the central thread of the story, the take away is the decision making that is required by the relatives or spouse of the patient.
The insights provided by the author in assisting the decision making as to the level of care, and the guilt and confusion associated with these decisions, are invaluable. But even more important, are the reflections by the relatives in interviews taking place after the patient has passed away.
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