“Handbook for Mortals”

This publication — “Handbook for Mortals” — was recently recommended to me. It is available for free online at: 


Or you can purchase it from amazon.com for about $15. 

The chapter on “Controlling Pain” is particularly good. This topic is covered from the point of view of end-of-life pain but of course many people in our group experience pain and are not at the end of life. 

Advance care directives and related topics about forgoing medical treatment are discussed*. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 


* The table of contents includes: 

1. Living With Serious Illness 
2. Enduring And Changing 
3. Finding Meaning 
4. Helping Family Make Decisions And Give Care 
5. Getting The Help You Need 
6. Talking With Your Doctor 
7. Controlling Pain 
Types of pain 
Choosing the right pain medicine 
Different ways to take pain medicine 
Doses of pain medicine 
A few rules about pain medicine 
How often to take pain medicine 
Fear of addiction 
Side effects of pain medication 
More medications that relieve pain 
8. Managing Other Symptoms 
9. Learning About Specific Illnesses 
10. Planning Ahead 
11. Forgoing Medical Treatment 
Thinking about the issues 
Stopping treatment 
Time-limited trials 
When food seems like love 
The benefits of dehydration at the end of life 
Tube feeding and the dementia patient 
Artificial feeding and the permanently unconscious patient 
Choosing to stop eating and drinking 
Decisions about ventilators 
Decisions about resuscitation 
The many meanings of “DNR” 
Other decisions to forgo treatment 
12. Hastening Death 
13. Coping With Events Near Death 
14. The Dying Of Children 
15. Dying Suddenly 
16. Enduring Loss