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Dear Life: A Doctor's Story of Love and Loss
In Dear Life, palliative care specialist Dr. Rachel Clarke recounts her professional and personal journey to understand not the end of life, but life at its end.Death was conspicuously absent during Rachel's medical training. Instead, her education focused entirely on learning to save lives, and was left wanting when it came to helping patients and their families face death. She came to specialize in palliative medicine because it is the one specialty in which the quality, not quantity of life truly matters.In the same year she started to work in a hospice, Rachel was forced to face tragedy in her own life when her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He'd inspired her to become a doctor, and the stories he had told her as a child proved formative when it came to deciding what sort of medicine she would practice. But for all her professional exposure to dying, she remained a grieving daughter.Dear Life follows how Rachel came to understand - as a child, as a doctor, as a human being - how best to help patients in the final stages of life, and what that might mean in practice.
Every Third Thought: On Life, Death and the Endgame
In 1995, at the age of forty-two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke. Since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, in his sixties, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries’ every third thought.And so, with the words of McCrum’s favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought takes us on a journey towards death itself. This is a deeply personal book of reflection and conversation – with brain surgeons, psychologists, hospice workers and patients, writers and poets, and it confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with dying?
Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance
Bad Call is Mike Scardino's visceral, fast-moving, and mordantly funny account of the summers he spent working as an "ambulance attendant" on the mean streets of late-1960s New York.Fueled by adrenaline and Sabrett's hot dogs, young Mike spends his days speeding from one chaotic emergency to another. His adventures take him into the middle of incipient race riots, to the scene of a plane crash at JFK airport and into private lives all over Queens, where New Yorkers are suffering, and dying, in unimaginable ways. Learning on the job, Mike encounters all manner of freakish accidents (the man who drank Drano, the woman attacked by rats, the man who inflated like a balloon), meets countless unforgettable New York characters, falls in love, is nearly murdered, and gets an early and indelible education in the impermanence of life and the cruelty of chance.Action-packed, poignant, and rich with details that bring Mike's world to technicolor life, Bad Call is a gritty portrait of a bygone era as well as a bracing reminder that, though "life itself is a fatal condition," it's worth pausing to notice the moments of beauty, hope, and everyday heroism along the way.
Bobby Wonderful: An Imperfect Son Says Good-bye
Bob Morris was the joker in his family, but not the perfect son. With his parents approaching the end of their lives, he begins to see his relationship to them in a whole new light. But how can a seemingly self-absorbed boomer give the good people who gave him his beginning the best possible ending?Bobby Wonderful recounts with wit and grace two poignant deaths and one family's struggle to find a spiritual silver lining. Infused with dark comedy, soulful insights, sibling conflict, and a universally recognizable dose of guilt and regret, this little memoir doesn't just chronicle a big experience. It celebrates it.
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