If you are taking care of a very sick parent or other close relative, this is the book for you. Katy Butler, a journalist, tells the end-stories of both her parents. She lived on the left coast; they, in Connecticut when one day her father, Jeffrey, suffered a severe stroke. Shortly after the stroke, his cardiologist recommended a pacemaker, and her mother and Katy agreed. This was without talking about any of the ramifications while he was well and could understand the consequences. His GP was against it; he had seen too many patients with hearts “outliving” the rest of their bodies.
Jeffrey recovered somewhat but by this time his type A wife has made him surrender both his belt and his wallet. The former Wesleyan history professor was bored silly. During a week visit, Katy arranged for her dad to be picked up by a special van and brought to the pool where he used to swim. Katy made the journey with him two days to show him the ropes, and bought him a new watch that thrilled him. His wife had also hidden his nice silver watch. Katy’s dad loved the cheap watch and the sense of independence it gave him. After Katy left, he continued the van/swimming trips for a long time.
The book also covers Katy’s extremely difficult relationship with her mother. Did you guess that there were issues? Katy’s two brothers took little part in caretaking their Dad because they did not get along with their mother either. She was very controlling about their diet as adults, their haircuts, their clothes, and especially their failures in life.