Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Being Mortal

I just read through to the end of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal.  There is a reason that it is a best seller, and indeed that all his books are, and that is that he is not just a great writer, but a beautiful soul. He manages to bring both prodigious erudition and curiosity together with tremendous bigheartedness in pretty much whatever topic he tackles.

In this case, he writes about aging, and dying, and how it can be better facilitated by the medical world.

Around the time I first cracked Being Mortal, I also started reading Graham Greene's 1959 Our Man in Havana, which is basically a spy novel as farce.  You would think that would have been more entertaining.  But no, it was Gawande who pulled me through first, so real was it. It made me think back all too often to my dad's last couple of days.  Difficult though they were, I feel that, ultimately, we made the right choice in not seeking to keep him alive by whatever means necessary.  He had no interest in living a half-assed, half-witted life in some institution.

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