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.