From the Introduction:
Waiting in the director’s office for our tour to begin, I noticed that my father had dressed for this occasion with some care. He’d added a sweater vest and bolo tie to his normal pants and polo shirt, and selected -- from his sizable baseball cap collection – a blue one bearing the New York Mets insignia. He wore bifocals, and a hearing aid tucked into each ear, but with a recent haircut and this morning’s close shave, he looked almost dapper.
Yet when I moved a bit nearer, I saw that his sweater was stained with food. “You might want to put that vest in the laundry after today, Dad,” I suggested, carefully.
He shrugged. “I didn’t notice.” He also didn’t notice that his apartment, on the other side of town, was often dusty, the kitchen countertops spattered. A woman came to clean now and then, and he didn’t see much point in paying her to come more often, because he couldn’t see the dirt.
From Chapter One:
Staying Put: Home Care
In theory, almost everyone could stay at home. Short of surgery, virtually any form of health care -- kidney dialysis, physical therapy, wound care, intravenous medication – can be delivered in a private home. Companies have sprung up to modify homes for safety and accessibility; they install grab bars and toilet risers, ramps and stair lifts.
From Chapter Five
A Wedding and Two Funerals: Hospice Care
I drove down to suburban Baltimore in September, three weeks before the big day, to find Deb and her fiancé Doug Mueller, her bridesmaid Sheila, and her mother Dolores Noto all clustered around Deb’s kitchen, making chocolates for wedding favors. They formed a small assembly line: Sheila melted chocolate discs in the microwave, then poured the liquid chocolate into molds. Deb unmolded the candy, squares which now bore messages like “To Love, To Honor.”
Mrs. Noto was fitting sheets of color-coordinated tissue paper into white boxes, on which Doug had painstakingly stenciled a golden M for Mueller. Once the boxes were filled with chocolates, Doug tied the boxes with ribbons and charms – while simultaneously watching the NASCAR races, his other great love.
Mrs. Noto was getting a kick out of things. She’d had a lovely time at Deb’s shower brunch the previous weekend, though it tired her, and was chatting happily about how how yummy the French toast casserole was.
“You’re doing great, Mom,” Deb said fondly, watching. “You’re a big help.”
“You’re welcome, darling.”