Being Mortal
                  Affiliate Link

Being Mortal is a very horrible book to read. By horrible I do not mean bad but very grim and difficult to read. I struggled to read this book. I read it for a while then put it aside and again I picked up and started reading. This is the first book I have read about old age and various difficulties one would face in their last days and it also describes the conditions in which terminally ill patients suffer waiting for the death. No body thinks about the old age because it is not glamorous but still it is undeniably the unavoidable part of everybody’s life. The author is himself doctor and his own parents are doctors but still they face so much difficulties while coping up with the illness of his own father.
I cannot give the justice to the words of the author but I am trying to provide his message in my words. This is really eye-opener book regarding our impending old age. Every body has to go through it so the author’s take is that though we have made tremendous improvements in medical sciences but yet we humans still do not understand when we should accept our limitations  that certain illnesses have no cure and we should only provide graceful exit to such patients.
The author has stated the conditions of Retirement Homes (Institutions for Old Patients)  in the developed country such as USA. If one try to look at the conditions in developing countries the picture is very bad. The doctor feels that there is no dignity maintained in such Retirement Homes where all the staff dutifully carry out all such maintenance work of patients without considering the autonomy of the patient. Many people are working to improve this. One of the new concept regarding this is “Assisted Living” concept where each and every patient will have their own home and yet will be provided help whatever they require. The author discussed in detail the various medical difficulties faced by many patients and pros and cons of allowing patients to live in Assisted Living.
The Doctor author has stated that there are 3 types of Doctors:
1. Patronising Doctor- The type of Doctor who treat their patient as child who can not decide what will be good for him.
2. Informative Doctor- The type of Doctor who just tell the patient about the various kinds of treatments available for him and ask him to select the Treatment. Many doctors fall into this Category.
3. Interpretive Doctor-This is the ideal kind of Doctor. The doctor who explains the various treatments and also try to understand what is most important  for the patient and then just provide the treatment.
Every body is mortal. We all are going to die. So what is most important to us. Do we want less suffering and pain or we do not want to live in ICU with all the intravenous tubes fitting in our every natural orifice or what kind of graceful exit we want?
In the book the author has taken the case studies of some of the patients and how their journey was from discovering the illness to undergo various kinds of treatments. He clearly explained how they could have made it better or worse. Ultimately our life can be made better or worse only by our choices that we make.
The author even took his Doctor father example to discuss this concept of terminal illness and its effects. If a Doctor family can suffer so much who are so familiar with this medical field what we layman people should consider, is the most difficult question?
The author has also introduced the concept of Hospice as an alternative to such terminally ill patients. If a patient like his father opt for this hospice facility then the concerned staff from hospice asks us such blunt questions as what is our idea of dignified existence, how we want to die , what is most important to the patient? This does not mean we are deserting the ill patients since they are going to die any ways but we are doing everything that is possible for them to exit the world in their own way.
The author has very well-written a concept that nobody wants to discuss because it is very grim and non-glamorous. But it is worth reading and thought provoking. One would even loose sleep thinking over this concept.
I really liked the way the author has step by step explained the concept of OLD AGE. The book really changed my perspective on OLD AGE and what could go wrong. I think one can learn from this book to prepare the undeniable old age and its lots of difficulties. The Nature has its own way of taking things away from us what it has given us abundantly. In childhood and youth we enjoy a lot of things but gradually one by one as we age we start loosing the functionality of our organs.
So if you are unable to appreciate what you have right now read this book you will start appreciating your life right now if you are healthy. If you are poor it is still OK but you should be healthy.
I have decided to read the other books of this author as well. So I write about them as and when I read them  in the coming posts.