In this episode of Life/Death/Law, Dr. BJ Miller shares insights from his new book, A Beginner’s Guide to the End. Written with co-author Shoshana Berger, the book is practical, detailed, surprisingly funny and always completely honest. From what to bring with you to the hospital (your favorite quilt, your phone charger, pictures from home), to how to tell your boss that you are really sick, to how to cultivate sex and intimacy in the face of serious illness, this is a guide for both the sick and their caretakers.
Dr. Miller is a hospice and palliative care physician, practicing at UC San Francisco, and the former Executive Director of the Zen Hospice Project, so he knows, first hand, what he’s talking about. He wrote the book, he told me, because he saw, over and over again, how people were suffering unnecessarily for lack of basic information.
But A Beginner’s Guide isn’t just a set of nuts and bolts instructions, it is also a wise and thoughtful guide to what’s most important to people facing critical illness and those who care for them. Here’s how Dr. Miller puts it, “In a nutshell, probably the biggest takeaway is that love matters…when a person watches their life come to a close, everything else falls away and it turns out that something as easy as love is so often the only thing that matters.”
Click here to find out more about A Beginner’s Guide to the End.
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