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)
Death and aging are often difficult topics to breach, and hard to write about in a manner that is both sensitive, yet lighthearted. Strange mix, I know. Dr. Dosa's writing deals with both in a very sensitive and touching manner. Throughout the story, I learned about a lot more than a really neat cat, although that was my initial reason for reading this is the first place. I learned about people's experiences with death and dying as well as their experiences with aging. It encompasses a wide variety of topics and does so in a manner that gives the reader a feeling for the amount of respect which Dr. Dosa has for all the people (and animals :) ) in the book. It's written in a very personal tone, and I think that really adds to the already extraordinary story of Oscar. Beside the tough topics of death, aging and illness, the author manages to put in some lighthearted anecdotes which lift the mood when appropriate. It's a very well balanced book-not overwhelmingly depressing, but very touching. It's a great story if you are interested in amazing animals. A well done book. I highly recommend this title to people of all interests. The narration is also very good-hard to "put down," so to speak. Enjoy!
As a cat lover, I was drawn to this book, but did not expect it to be both entertaining and informative. It exceeded all expectations. I would recommend it to everyone, not just cat lovers.
This book was more than just a good cat story. It had a full range of characters and emotions in the setting of a nursing home. It will make you laugh, cry, wonder, and best of all just enjoy the story. This is a definite 5ive.
I had read about Dr. Dosa and the cat who could sense when a resident of the nursing home was about to die, but I didn't realize that this book delves into the stuggles the family members go through as they watch their loved ones lose their memories. Dr. Dosa has written a very engaging book, and I recommend it.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
"The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat" really shouldn't be anywhere near the title of this book as Oscar is simply a device used by Dr. Dosa for contemplating end-of-life care, as the publishers summary states. Mostly, this is a book about dementia. If you judge the book without Oscar, then it's actually pretty good with really touching stories of how we age, what our minds/brains/lives become and how the lives of the people who love us are affected.
There are a few nice bits that show how well the elderly or those suffering from forms of dementia respond to animals. I know I would.
Still, kinda tricky and manipulative to use Oscar as the draw...
This is more about how families, nurses and the doctor care for people with severe dementia. Oscar is more of a background character, but it adds interest. How can he know when someone is about to pass away? There was a lot of information on Alzheimer's disease and how it affects the caregivers and families of the patient. I learned a lot from this book, even though it is a little depressing.
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.
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)
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