Thursday, April 15, 2010

Making Rounds with Oscar

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary
By David Dosa, M.D.
Published by Hyperion
Copyright 2010

Dr. Dosa is a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medicine School of Brown University. Several of his patients reside at Steere House, a facility serving the elderly who need extra nursing care. Steere House also serves as residence for several cat. One particular cat, Oscar, lives on the third floor where those who need the most care due to dementia or need end-of-life hospice care reside.

Dr. Dosa begins hearing stories of how Oscar has a gift for identifying those who are nearing death. Being a scientific-minded sort, the good doctor scoffs at first. But as time goes by he becomes curious and begins to interview those families who have had a Steere House resident who was on the receiving end of Oscar’s peculiar services. The book revolves around Dr. Dosa’s supposed skepticism and these interviews.

Having lived with cats for some 40 years now and also having had a mother who had Alzheimer’s disease, I was eager to read this book. However, I was rather disappointed. Dr. Dosa’s skepticism seemed a rather disingenuous device to base the book around. After all, therapy dogs have been around for a long time now, as have cancer-sniffing dogs and those who sense oncoming epileptic and diabetic seizures. We have scientific evidence that the proximity of a pet can lower blood pressure and aid the release of relaxing endorphins. Why could there not be a cat who senses the advent of death?

But then, I have lived with cats and have benefitted from their presence in my life. Dr. Dosa had not. I suppose I should cut him some slack.

I can just see Oscar lifting a hind leg to do his laundry and thinking, “What’s the big deal?”


Doreen McGettigan said...

I enjoyed your post..I have epilepsy and I can tell you without a doubt my 2 terriers know before I do..

Janine said...

Great post, Betty! I live with two cats and three dogs. When I am sick, my cats rally around me more than my dogs do. I believe they think they can keep me warm and purr me back to health. My black lab is the exception though...she never leaves my side and I swear, she understands every little thing I say to her.

Betty Lindholm Navta said...

Doreen ~
Thank you! I'm glad you have two terrier friends to keep watch over you! :o)

Betty Lindholm Navta said...

Janine ~
Glad you like it! Thank you! So you have two cats and three dogs, too? And one a black lab? Hah!

Dusty, our 9 year old black lab, is like that. Very sensitive to our moods and a great protector. He actually tries to "talk" to us, too! Most of the time I can figure out what he wants, but there are times we wind up staring at each other and I could swear he's wondering at how thick we humans are!

Mentioning how cats rally round when you are sick reminds me of two of my previous cats. Hmmm. Maybe a post about them is due.

Kathryn Grace said...

Found you through your comment on Michelle's blog, Crow's Nest. Hope to see you writing again soon.

Betty Lindholm Navta said...

Kathryn ~

Goodness! Thank you!

I would like to be writing again, but I've had the pursuit of an income on my mind and haven't been able to rouse "the little gray cells" to a level of creativity in order to write. To put it bluntly - writer's block. It's frustrating and no fun at all.

But I have been reading voraciously, so, hopefully, I will come back here soon to share my thoughts on what I've been reading.

Thanks again! :o)