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.
As we are living and dying in the information age, patients and family members often wish to increase their awareness regarding issues related to end of life. In this text the authors eloquently speak to all of us in regard to the experience of serious and terminal illness. The directness of their style gives a personal feel to the information, as do the very personal stories that are shared. The poetry and pictures are moving and cathartic. According to the authors, the purpose is to guide individuals faced with serious illness and death through this very human experience. The authors provide practical and reassuring information that we will all need at one time or another. As physicians, the authors bring the compassion expected from a physician as well as a wealth of knowledge and experience to this topic. The information is appropriate for family members, loved ones, patients, and caregivers. As our modern medical technology continues to change the way we live and die, our need grows even stronger for direction in managing difficult emotions and decisions at the end of life. All facets of end of life care from how to talk with your physician to the specifics of planning ahead for special circumstances are covered in this text. Truly, this is a compassionate yet direct explanation of what to expect and how to deal with changes during this time. The authors address the issue of addiction versus tolerance and addiction head on. This text is the most comprehensive to be found on this topic. Most of the literature available to date regarding end of life issues have been very clinical in their focus; however, this text is aptly named a handbook for all -- clinicians and laypersons -- can benefit from this book.