Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #100: “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande

Dear kids,

To date, I’ve discussed Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End at least three separate times at at least three separate parties. Author and doctor Atul Gawande is everyone’s favorite author-doctor right now, and for good reason: he takes on a subject that no one likes to discuss but that everyone will one day face, offering valuable and practical advice. Two thumbs and two big toes up. (Questionably tasteful imagery intended.)

Book Summary:

The book discusses the best way to broach the topic of hospice, life expectancy and other end-of-life issues. It also discusses how to make old age meaningful, even if that means less medical intervention rather than more. Gawande’s description of the difficulty of treating senior citizens, with their multiplicity of small and large concerns, is also very admirably done.

My Highlights:

  • And it happens to us: eventually, one too many joints are damaged, one too many arteries calcify. There are no more backups. We wear down until we can’t wear down anymore. It happens in a bewildering array of ways . . .
  • Making lives meaningful in old age is new. It therefore requires more imagination and invention than making them merely safe does. The routine solutions haven’t yet become well defined.
  • In other words, people who had substantive discussions with their doctor about their end-of-life preferences were far more likely to die at peace and in control of their situation and to spare their family anguish.

Love,

Mom

Get the entire recommended reading list at Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.

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