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That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

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“A profound exploration of what it means for all of us to live—and to die—with dignity and purpose.” —People Magazine “Visceral and lyrical.” —The Atlantic As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Bet “A profound exploration of what it means for all of us to live—and to die—with dignity and purpose.” —People Magazine “Visceral and lyrical.” —The Atlantic As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Between days spent waiting for her mother, an anesthesiologist, to exit the OR, and evenings spent in conversation with her parents about their faith, Puri witnessed the tension between medicine's impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual embrace of life's temporality. And it was that tension that eventually drew Puri, a passionate but unsatisfied medical student, to palliative medicine--a new specialty attempting to translate the border between medical intervention and quality-of-life care. Interweaving evocative stories of Puri's family and the patients she cares for, That Good Night is a stunning meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well, arming readers with information that will transform how we communicate with our doctors about what matters most to us.


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“A profound exploration of what it means for all of us to live—and to die—with dignity and purpose.” —People Magazine “Visceral and lyrical.” —The Atlantic As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Bet “A profound exploration of what it means for all of us to live—and to die—with dignity and purpose.” —People Magazine “Visceral and lyrical.” —The Atlantic As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Between days spent waiting for her mother, an anesthesiologist, to exit the OR, and evenings spent in conversation with her parents about their faith, Puri witnessed the tension between medicine's impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual embrace of life's temporality. And it was that tension that eventually drew Puri, a passionate but unsatisfied medical student, to palliative medicine--a new specialty attempting to translate the border between medical intervention and quality-of-life care. Interweaving evocative stories of Puri's family and the patients she cares for, That Good Night is a stunning meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well, arming readers with information that will transform how we communicate with our doctors about what matters most to us.

30 review for That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

  1. 5 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    This is an informative but overly long book on palliative care. The author perhaps attempts to do a few too many things: She describes her training in internal medicine, then as a palliative care fellow and physician; provides stories of many of the dying and terminally ill patients she has worked with; considers the role that religion/faith/spiritual practice often play in the lives of the dying and their caregivers; and, finally, she details the profound influence her spiritual, socially commi This is an informative but overly long book on palliative care. The author perhaps attempts to do a few too many things: She describes her training in internal medicine, then as a palliative care fellow and physician; provides stories of many of the dying and terminally ill patients she has worked with; considers the role that religion/faith/spiritual practice often play in the lives of the dying and their caregivers; and, finally, she details the profound influence her spiritual, socially committed, immigrant Indian parents (particularly her mother, an anesthesiologist) had on her development. I found Dr. Puri’s presentation of her challenges with the families of dying patients and her struggles with medical colleagues the most compelling parts of the book. Her meditations on spirituality and death as a sacred passage, however, became tiresome. The doctor aims at being profound, but at times her writing slides towards the precious. Here are a couple of examples of the kind of thing I mean: “You imagine that each of them [your patients] wears a necklace of intricate, intersecting circles of loss, grief, anger, fear, sadness, regret. You visualize this necklace hanging at their throats, golden and glistening under the hospital’s fluorescent lights, in the moments when their expressions of emotion make you want to leave the room. This is a necklace that you choose to wear, too.” “What if I regarded my own death with reverence instead of fear? I wondered. Or, even more radically, what if I had some sort of gratitude for the transience of my life? Would it change what I worried and cared about? Wasn’t it necessary to think about this when I was in the midst of building a life? Or rather, living my life? And the more I thought about mortality and what it had come to mean to others and what I thought it meant to me, I realized that life was simultaneously so vast and so small. It was daybreak after a good sleep and exhaustion as the stars emerged. It was the first crisp bite of an apple, the taste of butter on toast. It was the way a tree’s shadow moved along the wall of a room as the afternoon passed. It was the smell of a baby’s skin, the feeling of a heart fluttering with anticipation or nerves. It was the steady rhythm of a lover’s breathing during sleep. It was both solitude in a wide green field and the crowding together of bodies in a church, was equally common and singular, a shared tumult and a shared peace. It was the many things I’d ignored or half appreciated as I chased the bigger things. It was infinity in a seashell.” I think the book would have benefited from some paring down. I wish, for example, that there had been fewer stories of family members demanding that “everything” be done for the patient (when it is abundantly clear that further aggressive interventions are not only futile but harmful). One or two such stories are potent enough. (I feel as though I read dozens of them in this book.) The many descriptions of views from hospital windows and meals eaten on the run should have been entirely cut. Reservations aside, I learned a lot from reading the book, and Dr. Puri comes across as a sincere and honest guide to this still developing field of medicine.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick Rolston

    This book is emotional, describing a number of terminally ill patients from all walks of life. The author, however, makes the book so much more about life than about death in describing her viewpoints as a palliative care physician. The stories are deeply personal based on the connections she makes with her patients by visiting them in their homes under hospice care and brings out a truly relatable side of human nature. I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting because it was so moving This book is emotional, describing a number of terminally ill patients from all walks of life. The author, however, makes the book so much more about life than about death in describing her viewpoints as a palliative care physician. The stories are deeply personal based on the connections she makes with her patients by visiting them in their homes under hospice care and brings out a truly relatable side of human nature. I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting because it was so moving and powerful. I felt connected with the patients she described, who sought to live out their time in dignity and in their own homes. The author also discusses the flawed nature of our health care system, which will fund expensive operations with little hope of success while refusing support for caretakers to visit hospice patients in their home. Death is the one commonality amongst all humans and yet dying often brings us so far apart due to the reactions that families have in response and the blissful ignorance of death that we so often live with. Dying on one's own terms in a manner that allows a person to be comfortable in their own space and to celebrate their life is fulfilling and the vision that the author aspires to enable, as opposed to the drawn out, technologically-enabled life support measures that are so often desired by loved ones in our cultural, "fight death with every tool we have" mentality. I couldn't agree more with her viewpoint.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Genia Jones

    I read an advanced copy of this book and everybody must read this book! It is gorgeously written and on such important subject matter - how we live and die, and how medicine can help us far more than it does. Though Puri is a doctor, really at heart she is an exceptional writer, and she takes us into a very hidden world of what it means to care for people who are really sick and dying. Her humanity and compassion shine through, and her portraits of her parents and their spiritual beliefs is real I read an advanced copy of this book and everybody must read this book! It is gorgeously written and on such important subject matter - how we live and die, and how medicine can help us far more than it does. Though Puri is a doctor, really at heart she is an exceptional writer, and she takes us into a very hidden world of what it means to care for people who are really sick and dying. Her humanity and compassion shine through, and her portraits of her parents and their spiritual beliefs is really a nice counterbalance to her stories about patients and other doctors. After reading this book, I am no longer afraid of dying in pain and suffering through endless medical procedures, because I know someone like Dr. Puri will be out there to help me. she offers so much to think about and the existence of her profession is something that each and every one of us should applaud. I plan to purchase this book for everyone I know. It is written like a novel - such beautiful details, such well-drawn portraits of patients and doctors and the struggles they face. But it is real life, and a slice of real life we should all be ready to face. This book will help you do so, and will give you hope that there are talented, dedicated doctors out there! Anyone who loved When Breath Becomes Air and Being Mortal MUST READ THIS BOOK!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Patsey

    Important stuff to think about & prepare....a gift to give to my family. p. 250 “Death didn’t have the power to undo a life and it’s legacy. But perhaps the fact of death amplified life’s significance.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Finegan

    This book was simply beautiful and I cried many times while reading it. It’s so thought provoking and unfortunately brought up what my sister and I had to face when losing my Mom. I have so much clarity after reading this book from the time I made it to my Moms bedside to her passing. It pains me to think what the Dr’s did to her to keep her alive for an extra 3 hours but I do have further understanding what they felt was their job and duty to us. This is not a book for everyone and many would s This book was simply beautiful and I cried many times while reading it. It’s so thought provoking and unfortunately brought up what my sister and I had to face when losing my Mom. I have so much clarity after reading this book from the time I made it to my Moms bedside to her passing. It pains me to think what the Dr’s did to her to keep her alive for an extra 3 hours but I do have further understanding what they felt was their job and duty to us. This is not a book for everyone and many would say it’s too sad and hard to read but I’m glad it’s out there for people like me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy K Lashomb

    Phenomenal Book This book has changed the way I practice as a hospice nurse. It is thoughtful, well-written and touched my heart in a way no other book regarding end-of-life care has. Thank you Dr. Puri!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The title of this book is taken from Dylan Thomas' poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" in which the poet begs his father not to give in to death, to fight it for his son's sake. Part of the beauty of this poem is how we can connect and identify so easily with the poet. We can all appreciate how difficult it is to let a loved one go. Everything about medical training and practice focuses on making the patient better. Doctors are trained to find the source of the medical problem and cure The title of this book is taken from Dylan Thomas' poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" in which the poet begs his father not to give in to death, to fight it for his son's sake. Part of the beauty of this poem is how we can connect and identify so easily with the poet. We can all appreciate how difficult it is to let a loved one go. Everything about medical training and practice focuses on making the patient better. Doctors are trained to find the source of the medical problem and cure it, and that's what we at the bedside expect. What happens, though, with a desperately ill person, when treatments don't work or stop working, when one invasive procedure is tried after another, another medication is prescribed, and infections still surface, organs still continue to fail? Should doctors still prescribe tests, order procedures? Should patients continue to fight? Should loved ones still urge that "everything be done"? Those are the questions, among others, Dr. Sunita Puri began to ask herself at the end of her medical training. In this carefully written book she traces her medical journey, the grueling hours, doubts, and career decisions while also sharing the profound influence of her parents, India immigrants, her mother, an anesthesiologist, and her father, an engineer. Her training focused on preserving life at all costs, but the temporary nature of human life and the eternal nature of the soul, a recurrent theme throughout the book, taught to her and her brother from their youngest days, seems in conflict with medicine. The stories of her patients, their experiences in the "eleventh hour," are seamlessly woven in as she narrates her journey into palliative medicine and what she learns from them and other palliative care providers. Filled with warmth and compassion, understanding the depths of patients' and families' sadness and grief, sharing her own limitations honestly and openly, Dr. Piri has written a book I will long remember. Every chapter in this book contains information that most of us would rather avoid or postpone discussion whether the decisions are about us or our loved ones. Dr. Puri shares and spirals information in a way that affirms the reader's fears (and her own as she readily admits she is often overwhelmed and fearful of death) and helps to clarify the reader's thinking about decisions that are best made before the crisis. Some ideas that resonated with me during my reading include: Economic and social inequalities shaped her patient's lives and their deaths; her patients in LA had fewer resources and abundant fear. Along the way, Dr. Piri became an "accidental linguist," helping patients and families to deconstruct the layers of meaning they assign to a word or phrase such as "fighter," "warrior," "do everything," and "miracles." Does the fighter understand the complexity of the battle? What does the fighter know? What was worth fighting for? What does "giving up" mean? Could there be miracles aside from curing disease? What does "everything done" mean? Dying is still living, "simply a continuum of living this messy, temporary life, human and imperfectly." Death can't strip away the meaning and lasting impact of a human life. Wisdom and dignity and strength are "the most essential components of the very private, internal process of making peace with life as part of the process of dying." From the Bhagevah Gita: "The soul wears the body like a cloth and discards it at the time of death."... "Therefore, because death stirs people to seek answers to important spiritual questions it becomes the greatest servant of humanity, rather than its most feared enemy." In the end, the question or challenge remains: "How to we accept the lesson of mortality: appreciating what we have now, in the midst of life, knowing that it is all a temporary gift?"

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    An insightful memoir about the training of a palliative care physician plus a helpful meditation on both life and death. Dr. Puri is a wonderful writer. I appreciated her thoughts about how the recognition that we will all die can serve to make us appreciate our life even more, as well as her thoughts about what can make the end of life more peaceful for the dying and those that love them. Highly recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate Hughes

    Reading this book felt like taking in big, important breaths. Dr. Puri writes so beautifully and tenderly about her experiences with her patients, remembering such ordinary and thoughtful things about them and what mattered most to them in their last days. I was so moved by how she described the process of dying and how we as doctors can help guide those most difficult conversations with families, helping to keep in mind what is most important to those we are so privileged to treat. There are pa Reading this book felt like taking in big, important breaths. Dr. Puri writes so beautifully and tenderly about her experiences with her patients, remembering such ordinary and thoughtful things about them and what mattered most to them in their last days. I was so moved by how she described the process of dying and how we as doctors can help guide those most difficult conversations with families, helping to keep in mind what is most important to those we are so privileged to treat. There are passages I reread 5, 6, 7 times because they spoke the words I haven’t been able to string together when faced with a patient with a seemingly cruel diagnosis and prognosis. Dr. Puri quoted the Gita in one of the last chapters: “Because death stirs people to seek answers to important spiritual questions it becomes the greatest servant of humanity, rather than its most feared enemy”.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a profoundly important read for anyone who questions the medical interventions at the end of life. It had a huge impact on my thought process regarding intervention and palliative care. It was well written and such an interesting read! I highly recommend it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    What a beautiful and important book! Having been my daughter's primary caregiver throughout her treatment for cancer, I know the frustration of communicating with doctors who cannot, or will not, be completely honest about the expected outcome. It would have been incredibly helpful to have had conversations with a doctor like Sunita Puri to help us navigate those years of physical and mental anguish. It was, in fact, two physicians of Indian heritage who spoke with us most compassionately near th What a beautiful and important book! Having been my daughter's primary caregiver throughout her treatment for cancer, I know the frustration of communicating with doctors who cannot, or will not, be completely honest about the expected outcome. It would have been incredibly helpful to have had conversations with a doctor like Sunita Puri to help us navigate those years of physical and mental anguish. It was, in fact, two physicians of Indian heritage who spoke with us most compassionately near the end of my daughter's life. The first was a woman we had never met who stopped when she saw that my daughter was greatly distressed after getting a radiation treatment. She intuitively sensed the fear that was overwhelming her and asked very gently if she wondered what dying would be like. My daughter nodded, and this doctor calmly explained how the body would shut down. I believe her carefully chosen words gave my daughter some measure of comfort that her final hours would not be unbearable. I will never forget our encounter with this kind doctor. The other physician who made a difference was the radiologist my daughter saw only a few times near the end of her life. He was the only one of my daughter's doctors (who were all given permission to speak with me about her care) who was honest and direct when I asked if it was time to consider hospice care. If it hadn't been for him my daughter might have ended her life in a hospital instead of in the comfort of her own home. We need more physicians like Dr. Puri to help the medical community understand that they have an impact on how their patients live before they die which goes beyond what treatments they prescribe. Patients and their families also need someone like Dr. Puri to be compassionate and honest about treatment goals and expected outcomes so they can make informed decisions about the way they or their loved ones will exit this life. Everyone should read this book--doctors, patients, caregivers--everyone!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    SO GOOD

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I read this book as a sort of therapy for me to help with the grieving process after losing my mother to pancreatic cancer on Oct 7, 2018. Some parts were so difficult to read that I had to put it down for a bit and then come back to it. But after reading this I realized that I have felt so much unnecessary guilt about her death that this book really helped me to see that I wasn’t starving my mom when I couldn’t make her eat in the last few weeks and that keeping her in the palliative care unit I read this book as a sort of therapy for me to help with the grieving process after losing my mother to pancreatic cancer on Oct 7, 2018. Some parts were so difficult to read that I had to put it down for a bit and then come back to it. But after reading this I realized that I have felt so much unnecessary guilt about her death that this book really helped me to see that I wasn’t starving my mom when I couldn’t make her eat in the last few weeks and that keeping her in the palliative care unit at the hospital was probably the best decision my father and I could have made. We couldn’t have cared for her at home the way the nurses and doctors did in palliative care and for this I’m grateful. I’m sure I will continue to feel guilt unnecessarily but this book lessens the blow. I knew little to nothing about palliative care when they moved her from the ICU to this unit but it takes a special kind of person to work in this field and more people need to be made aware that palliative and hospice care do not mean that someone is “giving up” or that a family member has given up on a patient that is too ill to make decisions for themselves. Palliative care doctors should not be referred to as “angels of death” but rather saints that help keep us comfortable in our last days. This book also makes me realize the importance of an Advanced Directive so family members aren’t left trying to figure out what their loved ones would want. I’m glad to know that the palliative doctors sympathize with the family members. They probably weren’t surprised to see me waiting outside my mother’s room every time they arrived to talk to her so that I could tell them in secret to please not let my mother think she was dying. They understood my feelings and concerns. One thing I would be interested to learn about that I didn’t see in the book are Dr. Puri’s thoughts on euthanasia and the Death with Dignity movement. After watching my mother suffer relentlessly, I feel very strongly about this movement and I would want this to legally be an option for me should I ever need it. What I’ve learned most from my mother’s death is what Dr. Puri puts perfectly into words: “What we define as a ‘good death’ may not be in the cards for us. But maybe we can use the inevitability of death to live differently. Maybe we need the promise of death to guard against taking life for granted.” I would recommend this book to literally anyone, as we will all one day be faced with the death of our family and friends, as well as ourselves and I wish that I had been able to read this before I was in this situation. Something unexpected about this book that I found very interesting was learning more about Hinduism. I only briefly studied it in college and I found that several of the passages she quoted from the Hindu texts were enlightening, such as: “Because death stirs people to seek answers to important spiritual questions it becomes the greatest servant of humanity, rather than its most feared enemy.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    This book is part memoir, part reflection on the meaning of death as the final step in the continuum of life, and part teaching on palliative and hospice care. In all, it is well done. (If you enjoy learning of a career you will likely never experience, it's great for that, too!) Puri is an MD, like her mother the anesthesiologist, though a physician who took a different path. For reasons she explains, she is drawn to palliative care, a specialty focused on patients' quality of life. She brings u This book is part memoir, part reflection on the meaning of death as the final step in the continuum of life, and part teaching on palliative and hospice care. In all, it is well done. (If you enjoy learning of a career you will likely never experience, it's great for that, too!) Puri is an MD, like her mother the anesthesiologist, though a physician who took a different path. For reasons she explains, she is drawn to palliative care, a specialty focused on patients' quality of life. She brings us through her experience and development in the field, one that lends itself to plenty of errors and learning opportunities. Spirituality, especially an appreciation for our own mortality and temporary time on the planet, is an important part of Puri's upbringing as it is central to the identities of both her mother and father. There are some teaching moments on this point, too. One I took was this: Take time to enjoy life when you have it, because none of us know the amount of time we have. Plans are cast aside when a stroke devastates a mind. Most important to me was Puri's handling of her patient stories. Patient dignity, especially, is a theme that is discussed late in the volume, but it is one that is central to the role of a palliative care doctor, even if it is not explicitly articulated until the closing pages. Most practically, we might take the message of pre-planning and communication. What care would you want? What will you want your decision-makers to know when you are unable to communicate, when you might be unaware? Have those conversations while you can. This book is at times moving, thought provoking, and inspiring. The author never over-sentimentalizes any patient's death, but I was saddened just the same, and maybe a bit annoyed by family members in denial, by reading of their experiences.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

    Thank you to NetGalley, Viking and Sunita Puri for an ebook copy to review. As always an honest review from me. Full disclosure: I ended up DNFing this book about 1/3 of the way through. It wasn’t quite what I expected. Usually I would still read it because I really enjoy health, wellness, and books centered around the medical field. But I currently have a sick and potentially dying pet at home, so it’s too upsetting to read this particular book right now. Like: - The author does what she feels is Thank you to NetGalley, Viking and Sunita Puri for an ebook copy to review. As always an honest review from me. Full disclosure: I ended up DNFing this book about 1/3 of the way through. It wasn’t quite what I expected. Usually I would still read it because I really enjoy health, wellness, and books centered around the medical field. But I currently have a sick and potentially dying pet at home, so it’s too upsetting to read this particular book right now. Like: - The author does what she feels is right for her, not what pleases her parents - The cover’s colors - Points out that in anyone’s field of study, you may end up in a different area of it that you originally thought in school Love: - A book about a strong smart woman in science - The open honest discussion about death, the dying process and how medicine can help or hurt that - A somewhat unique perspective in medicine - that life and healthcare isn’t all about keeping someone alive at all costs - We need more books and people in medicine who share this same philosophy. Dislike: - The topic is too upsetting for me right now Wish that: - The memoir and healthcare aspects were more cohesive Overall, an extremely relevant and important book that people should read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    What is important to us when we’re sick? What kind of medical treatments are acceptable and when is treatment too much? These are the kind of questions palliative care physicians like Sunita Puri ask patients. They aren’t easy questions and it’s not an easy profession. Sunita Puri’s engrossing memoir mixes her journey to becoming a palliative care physician with stories of her life growing up as the child of immigrant parents. The juxtaposition between her parents’ approach to life, aging and dy What is important to us when we’re sick? What kind of medical treatments are acceptable and when is treatment too much? These are the kind of questions palliative care physicians like Sunita Puri ask patients. They aren’t easy questions and it’s not an easy profession. Sunita Puri’s engrossing memoir mixes her journey to becoming a palliative care physician with stories of her life growing up as the child of immigrant parents. The juxtaposition between her parents’ approach to life, aging and dying sometimes contrasts sharply with that of her patients and their families. Puri interacts with a variety of patients during her journey, from those who believe they will survive what has brought them to the hospital to those who are tired of the journey and just want to rest. We feel for her patients, both young and old, as they grapple with questions about what they want from life and the meaning of a good death. It’s a book that raises questions about what we would do in the same situation. I like Puri’s writing style. She does a great job of alternating stories of her patients and parents with musings on what she wants from her life. I highly recommend this book for people who like medical memoirs and also for those who want a good biography. - Lynn H.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Landon

    This was a truly brilliant book by a very talented writer who is also a doctor. Dr. Puri tells the difficult and beautiful stories of her patients who are facing serious illnesses and, sometimes, the end of their lives. She brings them to life on the page, and I felt as though I truly cared about and knew these people as I read about them. But this isn't your typical doctor book. Unlike so many other doctor books where every chapter is about a different patient, she also makes this a very person This was a truly brilliant book by a very talented writer who is also a doctor. Dr. Puri tells the difficult and beautiful stories of her patients who are facing serious illnesses and, sometimes, the end of their lives. She brings them to life on the page, and I felt as though I truly cared about and knew these people as I read about them. But this isn't your typical doctor book. Unlike so many other doctor books where every chapter is about a different patient, she also makes this a very personal book - she shares her parents' immigration stories, their experience of divinity and spirituality, and her own wrestling with life's big questions. She is a force to be reckoned with as a writer and as a doctor. I read another reviewer here who thinks she tried to do too much in this book and I couldn't disagree more. The fact that she weaves together the personal and professional makes it easier to bear some of the hard stories of life and death that she shares. I have bought 20 copies of this book to give to everyone I love. I suggest everyone do the same. I will keep its lessons with me for the rest of my life. Thank you, Dr. Puri. If only there were more people like you in this world.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I heard this doctor speak at a palliative care conference over a year ago. I have slowly listened to this book via audible since then. As a palliative care social worker, this book has empowered me- reminded me of my WHY. When I’ve had a difficult day- fighting for my patients- this book has helped me to remember I am not alone in this journey. When my company has seemed to become more business than care, this book has helped re-ground me. I encourage any one interested in palliative care to rea I heard this doctor speak at a palliative care conference over a year ago. I have slowly listened to this book via audible since then. As a palliative care social worker, this book has empowered me- reminded me of my WHY. When I’ve had a difficult day- fighting for my patients- this book has helped me to remember I am not alone in this journey. When my company has seemed to become more business than care, this book has helped re-ground me. I encourage any one interested in palliative care to read this book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    From a palliative care nurse.... As a palliative care nurse, I have experienced many of the highs and lows that Dr. Puri describes, as well as widespread misunderstanding about what palliative care is. I have a hard time understanding why physicians just don't understand the importance of palliative care, and this book has helped to explain that traditional medical training does not prepare them to understand it. This book will help me in my practice and would be a great resource for medical staf From a palliative care nurse.... As a palliative care nurse, I have experienced many of the highs and lows that Dr. Puri describes, as well as widespread misunderstanding about what palliative care is. I have a hard time understanding why physicians just don't understand the importance of palliative care, and this book has helped to explain that traditional medical training does not prepare them to understand it. This book will help me in my practice and would be a great resource for medical staff interested in palliative care.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joann

    The topic of this book, end of life wishes, prompted me to look forward to reading it. Honestly? I did not like the book at all. There were just too many cases sited and I did not care for the style of writing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Margie Dewind

    This book, written by a physician who specializes in palliative care, turned out to be particularly timely. The author writes about herself, her parents and other family members, and dying patients and their families with great compassion.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I am in awe of Sunita Puri’s ability to question and consider such important and complex concepts in a way that is easy to follow and understand. Death is the only inevitability of life, yet we are so unprepared for it. The stories of her patients are touching and heartbreaking and she describes the nuances without it feeling cumbersome. I so appreciate the perspective she brings, walking the line between science and spirituality.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy Li

    heavy book. combined memoir with thoughts on EOL + palliative care. appreciated how deeply reflective and beautifully written it was, despite being a bit (and slightly unnecessarily?) drawn out at times. still giving it 5 for the much-needed perspective

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen Juenke

    Get yourself a box of Kleenex ready. I cried, wept, anguish enveloped me as I read this book. Yet the author gave me hope. The author did a WONDERFUL job alternating between patients, her own life, and a medical perspective. I want everyone to read this book. I could relate to so many of the patients and their stories. Death is not to be feared, death is a part of life. The author writes so beautifully and so heartfelt that it was hard not to like her. I fell in love with the patients and the str Get yourself a box of Kleenex ready. I cried, wept, anguish enveloped me as I read this book. Yet the author gave me hope. The author did a WONDERFUL job alternating between patients, her own life, and a medical perspective. I want everyone to read this book. I could relate to so many of the patients and their stories. Death is not to be feared, death is a part of life. The author writes so beautifully and so heartfelt that it was hard not to like her. I fell in love with the patients and the struggles of life and death. This book should be required reading for every single person living. I can't stress enough how much this book puts death in perspective and how having a plan is essential. Overall, a great book that needed to be written!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Judith A Gustafson

    Nailed it! Excellent presentation of clinical work with dying patients. The humility of an excellent doctor shines through. Should be required reading in the medical field.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Em

    It’s never too early to let your family know your code status.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kim Langley

    Excellent storytelling combined with competent and compassionate medicine. An uplifting and thought provoking book about end of life that deserves to be read before we need it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mini

    Another book that makes me think about my goals of care and what would be most important to me towards the end of my life. This book will appeal to all - not just the clinicians.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    as Puri quotes from the Bhagavad Gita "..because death stirs people to seek answers to important spiritual questions it becomes the greatest servant of humanity, rather than its most feared enemy" as Puri quotes from the Bhagavad Gita "..because death stirs people to seek answers to important spiritual questions it becomes the greatest servant of humanity, rather than its most feared enemy"

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kloyde Caday

    There is more to be learned from the experience of a palliative care specialist Sunita Puri in allowing her patients a comfortable exit and a goodbye they deserve. In this uncertain times brought by COVID-19, this memoir us greatly recommended for us to consider looking at life and death in a generative outlook. Aside from her endearing portrayal of a doctor’s life and her patient’s dignity, she also lifts sacred teachings in Bhagavad Gita and Joan Didion’s book on grief to guide her from talkin There is more to be learned from the experience of a palliative care specialist Sunita Puri in allowing her patients a comfortable exit and a goodbye they deserve. In this uncertain times brought by COVID-19, this memoir us greatly recommended for us to consider looking at life and death in a generative outlook. Aside from her endearing portrayal of a doctor’s life and her patient’s dignity, she also lifts sacred teachings in Bhagavad Gita and Joan Didion’s book on grief to guide her from talking about things we are uncomfortable talking about. It will never not effect a lasting impact on me when she narrates a time she touched both her dying patient and her own pulse, and felt that it was difficult for her to recognize which she was touching, for both pulses had matched in their ebb and flow. The way she likens life as “infinity in a seashell,” a “temporary gift” and her assurance that death does not erase a life makes me want to be comfortable of my potentially infirm body, which I admit to be something I have to embrace gracefully.

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