Sherwin B. Nuland in He was The cause was prostate cancer, his daughter Amelia Nuland said. To Dr. Nuland, death was messy and frequently humiliating, and he believed that seeking the good death was pointless and an exercise in self-deception.
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Yes, tool box seems like an appropriate metaphor because chemo therapy with the way it devastates the body gives the whole process of treatment a clunky rattling sense to it.
Even in the best of treatment centers with the caring technicians, nurses and doctors, the process of getting well is not very pretty, doling out its share of suffering and pain. Doctor Nuland knows this only too well and his sensitive prose explores that point in such treatment when it is best to start exploring other options, such as hospice care.
It was after she was released and returned home, to die shortly after the last treatment at the cancer center, that the oncologists seem to lose interest. It takes the piss out of heroics, and science, and the Dignified Death; it harshly regards the coldness of medical personnel dedicated to solving what the author calls the Riddle and ignoring the needs of the person that provides it.
He is hard on doctors, and hard on himself. Some books please, some entertain, some disappoint. Few,though, change you, and If you are alive, and might someday die, or know anyone who is alive and might someday die, this might be one of those books you have to read. Few,though, change you, and this is one of them. It came at a time when I needed it, when I was in the process of losing a dear family member. It made me value her life more and, also, my own.
Sherwin B. Nuland, Author of ‘How We Die,’ Is Dead at 83
Sherwin B. Nuland