With The End In Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial
What colour is cancer? Why do some people appear to have made miraculous recoveries? How can you tell when someone is in the final hours of their life? How can we ensure our most vulnerable are treated with the dignity they deserve? In this unprecedented memoir, a palliative medicine pioneer explores the biggest taboo in our society and only certainty we all share: death. Kathryn Mannix immortalizes the thousands of men and women she has seen off. These unforgettable stories send an urgent message to the living, answering all our questions about the end-of-life process with touching honesty and humanity. Drawing on four decades of experience studying and practicing palliative care, Mannix shows us what happens when people are approaching the end of their lives: how they cope; how they live; what matters most; how dying evolves; what a deathbed is like; how families react. Kathryn Mannix's stories, although drawn from her clinical practice, are those of our friends, our family, our partners. We learn about the body language of death through a young mother who raves the night away before falling into a forever-slumber. Its psychology, too, is illustrated, as with the endearing story of Sanjeev, an elderly man admitted to the hospital who is convinced he is on a night train to Delhi, where he will meet his parents in the morning. A husband asks the doctor not to tell his wife of the fatality of her condition - the wife later confesses to having kept her husband in the dark about the finality of her illness to preserve him. These meditations tells us everything about the dying and their loved ones. With the End in Mind is a book for all of us: the grieving and bereaved, ill, and healthy. It is also an insight into palliation as a mixture of teamwork with clinical detective work to find the origins of patients' symptoms in order offer the best possible living conditions towards the end. Mannix argues that with planning, honesty and information death doesn't have to be either painful or terrifying. With at-times funny, poignant and always wise storytelling about how people die, Mannix has written a book of immense power and importance.
Kathryn Mannix has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. Starting in cancer care and changing career to become a pioneer of the new discipline of palliative medicine, she has worked in teams in hospices, hospitals and in patients' own homes to deliver palliative care, optimising quality of life even as death is approaching. Having qualified as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist in 1993, she started the UK's (possibly the world's) first CBT clinic exclusively for palliative care patients, and devised `CBT First Aid' training to enable palliative care colleagues to add new skills to their repertoire for helping patients.