E.R. Nurses: Walk My Rounds with Me by James Patterson, Matt Eversmann, and Chris Mooney

Hello, my lovely peeps🐥!
I skipped last Thursday’s review as I had a major appointment/meeting over in midtown and had spent the previous night (most of the week, actually) preparing for it. But hey, none of that this week, so here we are! Back again with a Thursday review and today, I’m featuring another Grand Central Publishing book, E.R. Nurses: Walk My Rounds with Me: True Stories from America’s Greatest Unsung Heroes by James Patterson, Matt Eversmann, and Chris Mooney!

Book Title: E.R. Nurses: Walk My Rounds with Me: True Stories from America’s Greatest Unsung Heroes
Author: James Patterson, Matt Eversmann, and Chris Mooney
Length: 292 Pages
Publication Date: 6 Sept 2022
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Genres: Nonfiction, Medicine, Biography, Autobiography, Science, Short Stories

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Amazon: >LINK<
Grand Central Publishing: >LINK<

Disclaimer: Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for this gifted copy! All opinions are of my own.

They save our lives every day, and we’ve never heard their stories.  The life-or-death intensity of working on the front lines, from America’s greatest unsung heroes.

“The compassion, the work ethic, and the selflessness of nurses … are given the respect they deserve and captured beautifully here.”
–Sanjay Gupta, MD, neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent, CNN

“James Patterson’s account of the twilight world between life and death that nurses inhabit is one of the most moving things I have ever read.”
–Sebastian Junger, author of Freedom and The Perfect Storm 

Around the clock, across the country, these highly skilled and compassionate men and women sacrifice and struggle for us and our families. 

You have never heard their true stories. Not like this. From big-city and small-town hospitals. From behind the scenes. From the heart.  

This book will make you laugh, make you cry, make you understand. 

When we’re at our worst, E.R. nurses are at their best.

A tribute to those who fight on the front lines of the E.R., this was a lovely read that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s formatted in a way that reminds me of the old Chicken Soup for the Soul books where you have true short stories taken as snippets from the lives of ordinary people, aiming to inspire you in some way or show you life through someone else’s eyes for a burst of a moment. These snippets are very short and some are only a mere two pages long, while others are only a little more. I always feel like short stories, especially micro-stories, are too short for my taste, but not here. Each are pieces that are just enough. Here, in Walk My Rounds With Me, we are seeing through the eyes of E.R. Nurses.

This book is separated into four different sections: Day Shift, Night Shift, Flight Shift, and a Thank You section in the end. Instead of chapters separating the book up, the names of nurses are there instead. Every chapter starts off with a short introduction paragraph and background of a nurse following by a story/moments they recounted during their day, night, or flight shifts and how it’s always something they’ll remember or how it’s changed them since experiencing it.

Many of these stories are powerful pieces, and there are some stories that I didn’t expect at all. Nurses are heroes that often go unappreciated, and this book is a way for the authors to show a glimpse of the work they do to the world.

There are many very interesting moments and stories throughout this book. There are some that brings me to tears, in laughter and saddness. There are plenty of life lessons that lies in these pages that I know I will carry with me. Some of the moments that I will always remember: just how hard nurses advocate for their patients, breaking hospital policies to give their patients one final humane moment, how nurses must put on a strong face to deal with an angry person who “has been waiting for a long time” after coming right out of a room for a child that has just passed, how important it is to be allowed to express your emotions and sorrows, the countless miracles next to small incidents that could take away lives (a small bump to the head), and how there’s nothing that’s totally predictable.

I used to really enjoy the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and for all the short stories I’ve read recently, this one especially touched a nostalgic part of me. The stories are simple but profound, the writing is done well, and I’ve gained a great deal of respect for nurses of all sorts. They put so much work into getting nursing degrees and come out to deal with some of the most awful things and nasty people. They sit with us through some of the worst days of our lives. They bring small joys to us when it feels like there are none left. Truly a wonderful collection of admirable people and stories that I loved.

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Book Review: Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa

It’s Thursday again!
Happy Almost-Friday, my lovely peeps🐥!
It’s time for this week’s book review and today, we’re featuring a nonfiction book about a very special cat named Oscar!

The cat has too much spirit to have no heart.
– Ernest Menaul

Book Description

Title: Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat
Author: David Dosa
Edition: Ebook > Kindle (Libby)
Length: ~240 Pages
Genre/s: Nonfiction, Animals > Cats, Memoir, Biography, Medical
Rating: 4.5 Golden Eggs

Blurb (Goodreads)

A remarkable cat. A special gift. A life-changing journey.

They thought he was just a cat. When Oscar arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island he was a cute little guy with attitude. He loved to stretch out in a puddle of sunlight and chase his tail until he was dizzy. Occasionally he consented to a scratch behind the ears, but only when it suited him. In other words, he was a typical cat. Or so it seemed. It wasn’t long before Oscar had created something of a stir. Apparently, this ordinary cat possesses an extraordinary gift: he knows instinctively when the end of life is near. Oscar is a welcome distraction for the residents of Steere House, many of whom are living with Alzheimer’s. But he never spends much time with them — until they are in their last hours. Then, as if this were his job, Oscar strides purposely into a patient’s room, curls up on the bed, and begins his vigil. Oscar provides comfort and companionship when people need him most. And his presence lets caregivers and loved ones know that it’s time to say good-bye. Oscar’s gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of us shy away from. Making Rounds with Oscar is the story of an unusual cat, the patients he serves, their caregivers, and of one doctor who learned how to listen. Heartfelt, inspiring, and full of humor and pathos, this book allows readers to take a walk into a world rarely seen from the outside, a world we often misunderstand.

Review

Just as with Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (another nonfiction that talks about the elderly and quality of care of residents and patients in their twilight years), this was also prompted because of a passing video I’d seen a good handful of years ago. I actually saw a clip about Oscar a while back, but only recently did it resurface when I let the autoplay pick my next Youtube video when the current one finished and I was too busy to look for another video. I sat there listening and thinking, “Oh hey! I remember Oscar from a few years ago! He was a special little kitty!” and then remembered that there was a book about him too. A trip over to the Libby app and I was set for the waiting room of an appointment the next day.

Oscar is a very special cat with the remarkable ability to know when someone is moments from taking their last breath. Shy and timid, generally Oscar does not hang around with patients and prefers to hide during the day, but when someone in the nursing home, The Steere House, is dying, Oscar will magically appear at their side, taking vigil, and not leaving until the coroners come to remove them. Told from the perspective of Dr. David Dosa, who at first does not believe the staff’s (and residents/family members’) tales about Oscar’s ability to sense death, he begins his own research about this extraordinary cat with a special gift. This book is a way to recount the various interviews he’d done with past residents’ family members and during their talks about Oscar, they would often discuss about the family/families that have lived in The Steere House, about Alzheimers, and how it affected the family just as much, if not more, than even the patients themselves.

Though much of Dr. Dosa’s interviews and research stemmed from trying to find a scientific reason behind why Oscar does what he does, he’s equally as curious about how just how many loved ones recalled that: yes, during their parent’s/partner’s final days, and especially the very last hours, Oscar was always present, if he could make it into the room. The Steere house may have multiple floors and several other felines (and birds/rabbits), but none would show up the same way as Oscar did.

In most, if not all of the cases (with whom Dr. Dosa interviewed), Oscar would be there and if he wasn’t, it was because he was already with another patient who was dying. The most fascinating cases had been Oscar clawing at walls if he wasn’t let into a patient’s room or, during a moment where two residents passed around the same time and Oscar couldn’t be with both at once, he had made sure to stay with one before sprinting across the nursing home to be with the other as soon as he could. Another had been when a resident had been taken away to the hospital, across the street, during his last days and eventually passing away from Steere with Oscar staring out the window.

Through the interviews and meetups with family members, while the main topic was Oscar, I also learned a lot about Alzheimer’s, such as that there are multiple forms of dementia, the stages of the disease, and how devastating the diagnosis is for families, especially caregivers who watch their loved ones slowly slip away. It’s heartbreaking to read and through these talks and interviews, Dr. Dosa also gains some insight into the disease, personal experiences from patients and their family members to help him be a better doctor to future patients and residents of The Steere House.

“Why can’t you do this anymore? A child could do it.” The difference is that a child is learning. A patient with Alzheimer’s is, as Robin said, “unlearning.”

I picked this book up because I’m a huge cat lover (and animal lover in general) but came out of it having learned a lot. From the families’, I took out many lessons including being there for the patients, being present, when to let go, to count the everyday victories no matter how little or small they are, and to cherish every day. From Dr. Dosa, who battles his own wars with arthritis, I realize that even the most minor things are taken for granted, like how I am able to type this review with my own fingers without pain or the fact that I have full function of my body for things we may not often think about (ability to bathe, eat, dress ourselves). And, from Oscar, the importance of simply just being there, curled at the foot of someone who needs that small comfort.

It was a quick read for me, though one that left me with a lot of emotions, things to be thankful for, as well as a valuable read of lessons in life as well as knowledge about a disease that I always have known of, but have not truly understood.