I always avoided Dr. David Dosa’s 2010 memoir Making the Rounds with Oscar, because I knew the third-floor cat living at Steere House could predict residents’ deaths. Don’t be fooled by the lovely picture of Oscar on the cover. This is a very difficult book. I’m not sure why I forced myself to get through it now, but I did. It has gotten very favorable reviews since its publication, but have at least two boxes of tissues handy. Do not read it aloud to anyone or listen to the audio! You won’t get through it. I read the eBook, but did not share with anyone why I was sobbing. There’s nothing anyone can say or do, anyway. It’s hard to leave the sadness.
Dosa is a geriatrician. His patients on the third floor of Steere House are in the end stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Somehow, Oscar can sense when patients are near death. He stays with the patients and the family members–often bringing the caregivers comfort as their loved ones die. In many cases, before, many residents had always loved cats. Myself, I would keep this cat AWAY!!!!!
Dementia sucks! I wish doctors could find some way to get rid of it. I saw myself in many of the caregivers in the book. I learned things, and I respect Dosa’s knowledge. But it made me sadder, more frightened, and worried. I have one go-to book and organization. I started reading about dementia to try to help my aunt–to convince her to go to the doctor, which we finally did. But I have to do it in small doses. It’s just too depressing, It’s crucial to live in the “now” as much as possible.
Here’s a YouTube video about Oscar, featuring David Dosa, M.D.:
Dosa also writes about a longtime resident of Steere House who is very disabled by arthritis. In one of their chats, she laments that she can’t do the things she once did. “All I have is time,” she said, which made me feel more gloomy. I want to have options for my future–not empty time.