Linda M, June 15, 2010 (view all comments by Linda M)
Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat is the story of a physician's journey to a better understanding of life for someone with Alzheimer's and his or her family. Oscar is one of two cats who reside on the third floor of Steere House Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Providence, RI. Dr. David Dosa is a physician specializing in geriatric medicine.
The nursing staff noticed that Oscar, normally aloof, would jump up on the beds of patients hours before they died and would cuddle up next to them. He provided care and company, not only to the patient, but to the family members as well. Dr. Dosa is skeptical at first. After all, he is a scientist. One of the nurses convinced him to talk to the family members of former patients to find out about Oscar.
Dr. Dosa learns many things during these conversations. He finds out that Oscar would stay with the dying patients and would also comfort the family members. He finds out what life is like living with a family member who has Alzheimer's. He learns about their fears, their struggles to find medical care and nursing facilities, and how hard it is to deal with a loved one who doesn't remember them any more. He develops more empathy for his patients and finds out that one of the greatest gifts you can give is the ministry of presence, which is what Oscar knew all along.
This is a wonderful book with a big impact. Thank you Oscar for your being there for others.
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As a tribute to Miss. B. as she was affectionately called my our neighbours this weeks posts will be about cats. Not just cats extraordinary cats that have made a difference in the world just like Miss B. did for me. Every kitten, puppy, animal makes a difference in this world, some of them just get the chance to show their difference and receive recognition.
From the book jacket you have probably figured out that Making the Rounds With Oscar is about Oscar, a cat. Oscar is a cat with an extraordinary gift, Oscar knows when his patients are going to die. As the time nears Oscar goes to their bed and sits with them waiting for the moment when life ends and the next stage begins. We all know that at sometime we are going to die. When I die I hope that I can have the same tranquility, peace and comfort that I have little doubt Oscar brought to his friends.
I first heard about Oscar in the news. It was an eerie phenomenon when Oscar began making the rounds at the Steere House nursing home choosing to spend time with the patients he knew where ready to enter the next phase on this planet. Dr. Dosa is a geriatrician at Steere House a home for the terminally ill. This nursing home is truly unique in that Oscar is not their only cat; the home has a family of cats.
Dr. Dosa was initially skeptical when told about Oscar’s abilities. After all, he is a scientist and all scientists need facts not speculation. What makes Oscar’s story unique is not his ability to predict death but the comfort he gave the patients and families of patient’s at Steere House.
In some ways Oscar was a typical cat, he loved to stretch out in the warmth of the sun, he could be moody and aloof and like all cats he considered the nursing home really be his world. All the families though noticed a unique characteristic about this nursing home cat. Oscar was a welcome invitation when the time to die approached. Oscar was territorial with his patients, scratching at their door to be let in and then snuggling up with them until their last breath was taken.
The true lesson of this book is the comfort we as humans derive from having an animal or pet around us. Family members spoke about the pleasant and welcoming distraction of having a cat in a nursing home. They described how they could tend to their parent, as their children would play with the cat, how they enjoyed seeing a cat in a place that many associate with death. We all know that pets relieve stress so why not having a cat in nursing home?
Death is a subject that we do not like to discuss. As Dr. Dosa tenderly tells us “Oscar’s gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of shy away from”.
I truly enjoyed this book. Oscar’s story is inspirational. As a pet owner myself I know the joy that my pets give to me. After a lousy day there is nothing better than coming home to my babies. I also have a parent in a long term facility. Animals never look at a patient noticing tubes and wheelchairs. Kudos to Dr. Dosa and his staff for recognizing the therapeutic advantages of having a cat in a nursing home. Dr. Dosa so believed in Oscar's comfort to families and patients he wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine.
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bscheldt, February 16, 2010 (view all comments by bscheldt)
I recommend this book to everyone. It is not only about Oscar, the cat that shows compassion to the dying patients under Dr. Dosa's care, but also shows that there doesn't have to be scientific reasoning behind miracles, just a little faith! It was also very touching how the loved ones of the patients cope with dementia and the process of letting go when the time comes. A very thought provoking book! Oscar helped many of the family members deal with death.
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McGuffy Ann, February 9, 2010 (view all comments by McGuffy Ann)
Reading this book reminds us of the human fraility and our common bonds. Each of us needs others, but also love.
Animals love us unconditionally, and ask for little in return.Oscar reminds us that they love us even when we don't know ourselves. He also taught a doctor and medical community that we have to follow not just our head, but our heart.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Dosa, a geriatrician with a strong aversion to cats, tells the endearing story of Oscar the cat, the aloof resident at a nursing home who only spends time with people who are about to die. Despite hearing numerous stories about Oscar's uncanny ability to predict when a patient's time is nearing, Dosa, ever the scientist, remains skeptical. Slowly, he starts to concede that there may be something special about Oscar. Dosa starts to pay more attention to the cat's decidedly odd behavior, noticing that Oscar seeks out the dying, snuggles with the patient and family members until the patient passes; with others, he smells the patient's feet, sits outside a closed door until admitted, or refuses to leave a dying patient's bed. Dosa discovers how powerfully Oscar's mere presence reassures frightened or grieving family. Ultimately, the good doctor realizes that it doesn't matter where Oscar's gift comes from; it's the comfort he brings that's important. This touching and engaging book is a must-read for more than just cat lovers; anyone who enjoys a well-written and compelling story will find much to admire in its unlikely hero." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An otherwise ordinary cat, Oscar has the uncanny ability to predict when people in the Steere House nursing home are about to die. Dr. Dosa tells the stories of several patients and examines end-of-life care as it exists today.
When Dr. David Dosa, an attending physician at Steere House, wrote about Oscar in the New England Journal of Medicine, the response was tremendous, with coverage everywhere from Today to People to CNN. Now, in Rounding with Oscar, Dr. Dosa expands his story, using the tabby and the stories of several patients to examine end-of-life care as it exists today. Oscar the cat has very special skill. An otherwise ordinary cat--he'd sooner give you his back or a sideways glance than curl up on your lap--Oscar has the uncanny ability to predict when people are about to die. Adopted by staff members at Steere House nursing home when he was a kitten, the three year-old tabby has presided over the deaths of more than 25 nursing home residents thus far. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death--a blessing, really, because it allows staff members to notify families that the end is near. Oscar is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves because he provides companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone. Heartfelt, inspiring, and sometimes even funny, Rounding with Oscar allows readers into a world rarely seen from the outside, and often misunderstood.
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