|Dr. Atul Gawande|
The event was sponsored by Florida Hospital and was held in our great Dr. Phillip's Performing Arts Center. When we arrived the line wound around the building. By the time he began speaking the Center was filled close to capacity.
Dr. Gawande, a surgeon, by his definition "fixes" people. But what do we do when we can no longer be fixed? His lecture, which lasted well over an hour, absolutely thrilled me.
He talked about a woman who was in a skilled nursing home and was allowed to eat only pureed food because her condition could cause choking. The problem was: she stole cookies, ate cookies and hoarded cookies. Solutions did not work. What was Dr. Gawande's advice:
Let her eat the damn cookies!
He took great care to explain how life changes for the good in many ways as we age. He talked about the word "loyalty" and defined it as - the thing we live for. He asked this question; "If you were told that an hour after you died the world would end - would you care?" The answer, of course, is yes, because most of us care about people and things way beyond ourselves.
He praised Hospice because the goal is not to extend life, but to have each day be the best day possible. And that's what I want, "A good life as long as possible." One that includes freedom, friends, family and an occasional oatmeal raisin cookie.