Note that the attribution after the name preceded by a tilde (~) is my addition.

It is rare that I read a book in one sitting, but with Why I Hate Hospice, I felt I had to. It is compelling because it is so honest, so raw. Andrew Weitzen makes it clear from the outset that he is writing not to condemn any of the individuals who cared for his mother (indeed, he often praises them for their good intentions, and their commitment to a physically and emotionally taxing profession). Instead, he is trying to shine a light on a system that in his experience seemed to be focused on providing a one-size-fits-all approach, despite claiming to be tailored to individual needs; a system where those in authority shut down his questions, despite claiming to be patient- and family-centered.

His emphasis on the difference between palliative care and end-of-life care is eye opening.

I hope that this book helps others to demand, and obtain, better care for themselves or for someone they love. I am guessing that is how Mr. Weitzen would consider it a success.

~ Erin King
Hi Andy,

I just finished reading about why you hate hospice.

It felt more like having a conversation with you than reading about you and your beautiful Mom.

Your ability to share what you experienced is so very touching and heartfelt.

I hope you will touch many hearts and continue to question and heal and find peace with missing her.

I just sat down and read your book cover to cover.
It is unique.
Touching. Beautiful. Reflective. Cautionary. Homage.

~ Philip Schwartz

Random musings:

Good experience comes from bad experience.

Since I know the characters involved in the story, I felt present. Will the story resonate with the reader not knowing the people involved? The character development captured the essence of the family while the peripheral, but pivotal, players (antagonists?) were described by their function rather than their being; very clever, very short story, very people vs the system.

I liked the stream-of-conscienceness style. The mind simultaneously processing the past, present, future, with any one moment more or less likely to take priority.

It will be interesting see who the audience tends to be; those that are preparing for the future, those that are coping in the present, or those that are trying to make sense of what just happened.

And while advise is embedded in the story, perhaps a lessons learned summary might be helpful, although too obvious; get your powers papers in order in advance, eat your fruits and vegetables, exercise, watch out for addictions, be aware of propaganda, etc. It comes to mind that we need so many different types of boot camps to prepare; basketball, finance, zombie apocalypse, dying, ugh tomorrow. Proper planning and preparation prevent piss poor performance. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Janet and Randi don't come off so well, but change the names and they are the recognizable people that are dealing with their regular daily life. Perhaps a reader may see themselves.

Terri Gross, NPR's Fresh Air, would do a great job on the subject of Hospice. How are your interviewee skills?

I understand that this is your story, your experience, but I wonder how many people have a positive hospice experience? This writing would suggest that there is a systemic issue, a conspiracy, rather than one that didn't work out so well.

I've been constipated from opioids after surgery, ugh.

How do other cultures handle dying? It seems America had corporatized death just like we've monetized everything else.

I think it is a wonderful book. There is a lifetime of associated work remaining to be done.

Remembering Edith and Sheldon,
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