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Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People…
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Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness

by Joanne Lynn

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Book description
Modern medical technology has changed not only the way we live but also the way we die. Until two generations ago, people usually died suddenly, after an accident or serious illness. Now, most of us may expect our dying to take longer, to require more care, and to demand more forethought than ever before.
Handbook for Mortals is warmly addressed to all those who wish to approach the final years of life with greater awareness of what to expect and greater confidence about how to make the end of our lives a time of growth, comfort, and meaningful reflection. Written by Dr. Joanne Lynn and a team of expert physicians, this book provides equal measures of practical information and wise counsel. Readers will learn what decisions they will need to face, what choices are available to them, where to look for help, how to ease pain and other symptoms, what to expect with specific diseases, how the health-care system operates, and how the entire experience affects dying persons, their families, and their friends. Such practical information is indispensable. But equally important are the personal stories included here of how people have come to terms with dying, how they have faced their fears and made their choices. These give us moving firsthand insights into a profoundly important process, one that is increasingly kept hidden in our culture.
From down-to-earth advice on how to talk to your doctor to inspiring quotes from such writers as Emily Dickinson, W. H. Auden, Jane Kenyon, and others, Handbook for Mortals encompasses the needs of both the body and the spirit in our final years.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0195146018, Paperback)

Written for caregivers as well as the dying, Handbook for Mortals is an excellent resource for anyone facing the end of life. Authors Joanne Lynn, M.D., and Joan Harrold, M.D., offer sensitive and practical advice for the ambiguous final stage of a life-threatening illness--when hope for a recovery is waning and the patient and family members are turning toward a different horizon, that of accepting and supporting an imminent death. For the most part, the authors focus on physical concerns such as pain management, artificial feeding, and an especially poignant passage about assisted suicide.

Because of their backgrounds, the authors are also comfortable discussing the emotional complexities of dying, such as offering advice on giving and receiving forgiveness and resolving conflicts in close relationships. (Lynn is director of the Center to Improve Care of the Dying at George Washington University and Harrold is medical director of a Pennsylvania hospice.) The handbook offers many sidebars, including "Words to Try" when speaking with a sick person: instead of saying, "Dad, you are going to be just fine," the authors suggest saying, "Dad, are there some things that worry you?" Proceeds from the sale of the book support Americans for Better Care of the Dying, a national charitable organization devoted to improving care for the last stage of life. --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:16 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Handbook for Mortals is warmly addressed to all those who wish to approach the final years of life with greater awareness of what to expect and greater confidence about how to make the end of our lives a time of growth, comfort, and meaningful reflection. Written by Dr. Joanne Lynn and a team of expert physicians, this book provides equal measures of practical information and wise counsel. Readers will learn what decisions they will need to face, what choices are available to them, where to look for help, how to ease pain and other symptoms, what to expect with specific diseases, how the health-care system operates, and how the entire experience affects dying persons, their families, and their friends. Such practical information is indispensable. But equally important are the personal stories included here of how people have come to terms with dying, how they have faced their fears and made their choices.These give us moving firsthand insights into a profoundly important process, one that is increasingly kept hidden in our culture.… (more)

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