Oscar On My Mind

I normally don’t write about books I’ve read, but I finished reading a non-fiction book a couple days ago that is still with me.  I liked the book, but it was the most emotionally difficult book that I have ever read.  It took me nearly two weeks to read the 224 pages of this book; I’ve read this amount of “lighter” fiction books in a matter of hours.

The book I’m referring to is called Making Rounds With Oscar by Dr. David Dosa.   My mother-in-law gave it to me for my birthday (no, I don’t think she intended to make me cry, but that’s exactly what I did through most of the book).   It’s written by a geriatrician who works in a nursing and rehabilitation center and it’s about a cat (Oscar) with a knack for sensing when death is near and being there to comfort patients (and their families) as they die.  My mother-in-law gave me the book because I’m a cat person.

The author thinks the cat’s abilities are exaggerated by the staff at the nursing home, so he sets out investigate the facts.  Throughout the book, Dr. Dosa shares what he learned through interviews with family members of those who passed away and who were touched by Oscar.  By the end of the book, I’d gotten to know and grieved the loss of many patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  I’d felt the struggles of the families who wrestled with guilt over how they handled the process.  I was in awe of the normally aloof cat that would curl up next to patients in their last hours of life. 

Many of my tears were more personal, I think.  You see, someone I love suffers from the same ailment.  Some of the patients’ behaviors, families’ reactions and struggles with guilt and frustration were eerily similar to what I’ve witnessed.  This book felt like a glimpse into our future; a sad, depressing, scary future, where a hopeful person like me has difficulty finding a strand of positivity to cling to.


8 thoughts on “Oscar On My Mind

  1. Brown Eyed Mystic August 12, 2010 / 8:33 PM

    The book does sound deep–I will check with my library and try to have it read. Hopefully, I can finish reading since from what you wrote, the book’s both engaging and saddening.

    I feel for you, Janna. I hope the best for the loved one, too.


    • jannatwrites August 12, 2010 / 9:06 PM

      Thanks for your nice comment. It really was a good book. Perhaps if the family situation was different, it wouldn’t have been so emotional for me. I’m still fascinated by that cat 🙂

      If you do read it, let me know what you think…just curious if my emotions have blinded me.

  2. Lua August 13, 2010 / 2:45 AM

    I’m currently reading the Memory Keeper’s Daughter where one of the characters has Down syndrome. I can understand how deeply that booked touched you Jenna because you have someone who suffers from the same condition and that makes the whole story more personal. My sister has Down syndrome so this book is difficult to read for me, it’s been three weeks and I still haven’t been able to finish it.
    But in a way, I’m glad there are books that are talking about these issues and creating awareness. It is sad, but it needs to be talked about.

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2010 / 4:17 PM

      I hope you can finish the book. I do agree that it’s good to have books out there that raise awareness.

      I had no idea you hava a sister with Downs; it’ll be a challenge, but I think you have the strength to finish it. Keep at it…

  3. Miss Rosemary August 15, 2010 / 10:49 AM

    I’ve heard about that kitty. Animals are truly more in tuned to people than we think.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2010 / 7:13 PM

      Animals are pretty amazing! Too bad everyone doesn’t recognize this 🙂

  4. Smander August 16, 2010 / 3:23 AM

    I might also have to see if my library has this book. Thanks for sharing.

    • jannatwrites August 16, 2010 / 7:28 PM

      I hope you can get the book…you might like it 🙂

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