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Book review: Being Mortal by Dr. Atul Gawande

So what does a good day look like?  This is one of the question’s embedded in Dr. Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal.  What is important to us? Makes us special and gives us the desire to live?

Dr Gawande guides us eloquently through conversations with his own patients as they navigate their care and the options before them.  He describes an approach of “What is possible today“ as opposed to “How do I fix this?”

Dr. Gawande’s emphasis on an individual’s well-being as well as health treatment options as we near end-of-life, was recently echoed by one of our own clients.   This gentleman stated; “Now, it is no longer a question of whether the glass is half empty or half full.  But more about the size of the glass – What can I still do?”  Suggesting that while the ideas & questions posed feel especially pertinent to palliative patients, they could be true for all of us.

These are conversations that open up values and experiences for all of us. Allowing us to not only guide care, but transcend treatment and time, creating opportunities to create memories, legacy and meaning.  So determining what makes us happy, turns out to be one of the keys not just in how we choose to die, but how we live as patients, caregivers and individuals.  Also how we grieve those we are living with us as they are dying.

Which makes Being Mortal an excellent read for all of us Mortals.


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