Conversations on Dying is a compelling read, and not just for those who knew of Larry Librach. I didn’t know of him before the book. I bought the bookConversations on Dying is a compelling read, and not just for those who knew of Larry Librach. I didn’t know of him before the book. I bought the book because I know Phil Dwyer; I read the book because I have a particular interest in what the book is about, being a community-care registered nurse who works with chronically ill and disabled members of the population.
I’m in a unique position because of the nature of my job, being able to see how some of our healthcare dollars are distributed to care for people who are not in hospitals. A lot of it doesn’t make much sense—cutting here to save a couple dollars, only to have to spend several times that amount later on. The disconnect between acute and chronic becomes pretty apparent when you’re there, working with families out in the community. There’s been a move to deinstitutionalize patients because it costs less than having them in hospitals, and because it’s better for the patients. But at the same time, the supports aren’t necessarily there—for certain members of our population, they’re not really there at all. When impending death is added to the mix, it brings along whole new layers of issues. It takes strong, educated, and fearless people to advocate for those who are sick and dying. The issues have to be examined through many lenses: personal, physiological, psychosocial, political, historical, social, just to name a few. Larry (unfortunately) ended up in the perfect position to articulate the troubles with healthcare in terms of chronic and palliative care, adding impact to his ideas and observations by not only having the professional experience behind him, but also now possessing the personal insight of a patient. If you want to see the bigger picture, then read the book. It’s so clear when it’s coming out of Larry’s mouth. Everyone deserves to die with dignity, and to die on their own terms, but most don’t get that.
I really appreciated the structure of the book. Phil is an amazing writer, and every moment chronicled—from the final days of his cancer-stricken brother, to the recounting of his heart attack, to Larry’s declining health that never seemed to affect the strength of his message—is rich with detail and reads effortlessly. It's such an accessible read, especially because of the way conversations unfold between Larry and Phil during interviews, that no one should be hesitant to pick this up for fear of not being well-versed in technical medical things to understand. I think it’s an important read for everyone—if only for the reason that dying is the one experience we all share—but in particular, I think it’s vital for us in healthcare to be reminded of our roles as patient-advocates....more
Loved this book. I felt uncomfortable in this 2006 world, viewing everything through a privileged cis white kid--as the reader should. I totally feltLoved this book. I felt uncomfortable in this 2006 world, viewing everything through a privileged cis white kid--as the reader should. I totally felt at ease with Adam, the plot, and where the story took me. The whole time I'm going "oooo that's problematic...I feel on edge" but I felt like the author confidently led me down this road to get me to think, to realize how complicated this stuff--life, people--really is. Anyone who reads this novel and mistakenly goes along thinking it's set in 2014-2015 will be shocked, especially at the language and terminology used. As soon as I saw the word "retard" being thrown around, at times with awareness from the characters that it's becoming an uncomfortable word to use, I knew it had to take place at least a decade ago, so because of that I was able to read on without flinching. I love how fluid everyone is. They're all "I'm this! I am into this!" yet they break their rules all the time, which is totally reflective of real life. Anyway, it's thought-provoking and it feels real, which had me reading fast. I'll be thinking about these characters for a while...which is what a book should do to a reader....more
This book was beautiful and heartbreaking. I read it so quickly. The kids here are young, younger than I realized for the first 1/3 of the book, and iThis book was beautiful and heartbreaking. I read it so quickly. The kids here are young, younger than I realized for the first 1/3 of the book, and it's definitely got content that may not be appropriate for some teens (even older teens), but at the same time, it might be just the right thing for other teens. I'm an adult in my 30s reading it, so I don't really know how to assess whether or not the concerns over this book and its YA status are valid, but I don't want to let that affect my rating, which is why I gave it a 5....more