Tuesday’s with Morrie tells the story of two men; one who’s battling the terminal diagnoses of ALS, while the other is struggling to realize his purpose in life. The book starts off at a college graduation where the main character, Mitch, is receiving his diploma. He and his favorite college professor, Morrie, have a heartfelt goodbye during this graduation and Mitch promises to stay in touch. Years pass and Mitch has gone on to completed grad school and get married.
After not making much money being a musician, Mitch decides to become a journalist at the Detroit newspaper where he ends up making a lot of money. Going years without seeing his favorite professor Morrie, Mitch is watching television one night and sees him on an episode of Nightline. Mitch is shocked to see him and decides to call him to see how he has been, and pay him a visit. Once arriving in West Newton, Massachusetts Mitch seems a bit distracted at the time of the visit with work the main priority on his mind.
During the visit Morrie tells Mitch about his diagnoses of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and how he has to stop dancing because of it. After the visit Mitch returns to work, he becomes frustrated ecause the work he is doing has no meaning and he feels as though he is stuck. He continues to visit Morrie and they begin to have a routine of visits where Mitch brings food to Morrie every Tuesday. Their visits seem to be not only helping Mitch realize his true potential, but also help Morrie have a sense of integrity as he looks back on his life with Mitch.
Morrie and Mitch’s relationship is seen as a father son relationship and when Morrie ends up passing away Mitch is upset, however he has been recording their visits so that he is able to share Morrie’s stories in a book. Morrie’ role in this story is to help Mitch understand that there is so much more to life than money and fame, Morrie shares his “Meaning of Life” with Mitch and this helps him see there’s more to life. Tuesday’s with Morrie is a moving book that shows elements of compassion, grief, and spirituality that help the main characters realize that their life has meaning.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neuromuscular disease; it is also the most common deteriorating disease of the motor neuron system. ALS results in gradual muscle weakness and progressive degenerating and paralysis of the muscles. With a life expectancy of only two to five years approximately 80% of the cases being between ages forty and seventy. This disease results in gradual loss of voluntary muscle contraction and functional capacity involving the extremities. Although ALS rarely affects cognitive functions it does affect most motor functions.
The cause of ALS is unknown and it usually affects men in their fifties and sixties. Although there is no cure for ALS or any proven therapy that will prevent or reverse the course of the disorder, certain drugs have been shown to prolong the survival. Many complications are ssociated with this disease including: respiratory failure, aspiration pneumonia, cardiopulmonary arrest, and lock-in- syndrome. (Lipincott) A primary nursing diagnosis would be Ineffective Airway Clearance: related to symptoms of ALS as evidence by weakened cough effort.
The nurse should continue monitoring the patient’s respiratory functions, evaluate voluntary motor functions and the strength they have, and perform cranial nerve assessment, particularly gag reflex and swallowing. (Doenges, Moorhouse, & Murr 2013, pg. 85-90). Spirituality is defined as “that most human of experiences that eeks to transcend self and find meaning and purpose through connection with others, nature, and/ or supreme being, which may or may not involve religious structures of tradition” (Kozier) Spirituality tends to be a big part in the older adults life especially when they are approaching death.
Morrie’s spirituality is very diverse; he has had many different views throughout his life. Morrie was born into a family that was Jewish, but quickly turned agonist when he became a teenager. Morrie talked about his childhood and how that affected him to become agnostic. Morrie’s childhood was very sad, his mother past away hen he was very young and his father remarried soon after and Morrie was forced to pretend his mother never existed. Morrie’s diverse spiritual views inspired Mitch, “He was a religious mutt, which made him even more open to the students he taught over the years. Morrie’s experiences and religious practices formed him to be the helpful, selfish man he was.
Morrie believes that God is in control of his destiny and although he doesn’t talk to him much as he is getting closer and closer to death he starts talking to him more, he asks God “ Do I get to be one of the angels? Morrie is accepting the fact he is going to die and realizes that he will be living a life with God. People with terminal illness tend to adopt a higher essence of spirituality because they know they are going to die. Mitch also brings up the book of Job in the Bible, where God tests Job to make sure his faith is strong.
God takes everything away from Job including his health just to make sure his faith remains present. Mitch asks Morrie what he thinks about this and Morrie responds, “I think, God overdid it”. (150) Morrie is so comfortable and content with his illness that he is able to joke about it. Saying God “overdid it” is merely a witty remark because he knows how similar he is to the story of Job. Caring mean that “people, relationships, and things matter”(Kozier) Caring requires many components including compassion, commitment, confidence, competence, conscious, and comportment.
Throughout the book many aspects of caring are shown especially once Morrie gets closer to death. Mitch is known to be a guy afraid of commitment he describes marriage, “as if it were an alligator from some murky swamp. ” (Pg. 147) Having these concerns about marriage, Mitch committed to staying with Morrie and to e there for him as his death grew closer. This is a major component of caring because showing you are committed to someone lets the person know how much you care for them. Another aspect of caring is being there for a person, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.
Morrie was a great example of presences, “I believe in being fully present. That means you should be with the person you’re with. When I’m talking to you now, Mitch, I try to keep focused only on what is going on between us. I am not thinking about something we said last week. I am not thinking of what’s coming up this Friday. I am not thinking about doing another Koppel show, or about what medications I’m taking. l am talking to you. I am thinking about you. ” Being present and attentive when someone is talking are nonverbal cues to tell someone is listening to you, which in turn shows someone cares.
Morrie shows care and compassion throughout his whole life, he is always trying to help other people. Even with this fatal illness Morrie was diagnosed with he never focused on himself he always focused on being there and helping others, especially Mitch. Morrie discusses how he feels blessed to be given this time to spend with his family nd say goodbye because he knows how hard it will be on his loved ones. Caring is putting other peoples needs before the needs of yourself, and that’s exactly what Morrie does.
He could’ve decided to end his life and relieve himself from the pain he was experiencing but he chose to be with his family. Another on going example of caring would be when friends and family of Morrie would help him with daily tasks that he could no longer perform on his own. They would help him eat, adjust his pillows to make him more comfortable, and help him use the bathroom when he needed to. This is a prominent example of caring ecause they are doing things for him that he can no longer do and expecting nothing in return from him.
Morrie and Mitch deal with loss in two completely different ways. Mitch lost his favorite uncle to pancreatic cancer. He also witnesses the pain that his uncle underwent and it in turn made him fear death. After his uncle died Mitch completely changed, he felt as though there was no meaning to life, he quickly changed his career to journalism and began working not because he loved it but because it would make him wealthy. He lost all meaning of life and I was because of Morrie that he ealized there was more to life than making money.
Morrie, on the other hand, embraced the thought of death. He wasn’t afraid, nor did he dread the thought of death each day, rather he lived his life everyday and if it was his last. He reminisced on the past and helped Mitch understand the death wasn’t something to be scared of. Morrie says, “Learn how to die, and you learn how to live. ” Once we accept the fact that eventually we will die, Morrie says, we will learn to live our lives without regret and without fear. It is because of Morrie that Mitch realizes there are greater things in life besides work, money, nd gossip.
Mitch recognizes the importance of love and relationships and that is because Morrie got him to accept the intimidating topic of death. This book has taught me many life lessons, particularly the lesson about the meaning of life. Understanding that there is more to life than material things is a important lesson to take from this book because it allows you to stop and think about what’s really important to you. This is my second time reading this book, the first time being in high school, and I have a different perspective on it then I did in high school.
When I read it for the second time it had a different meaning to me because of the recent passing of my grandfather. Reading this book was influential to me, it helped me understand that when someone dies its not just a time to mourn, it’s a time to celebrate the life they lived. I was able to grow and develop more mature feelings about not just death but spirituality as well. Morrie’s views on spirituality got me to start questioning my own feelings of spirituality in ways I never have before. Moving forward in my career as a nurse this book is very beneficial to me, it allowed to me see another peoples iews on death.
Being able to cope and deal with death is a huge part of the nursing career, it is important as nurses for us to confront our own attitudes about death and dying in order to work effectively and provide efficient care. There is an emotional side to caring for a patient as well as the physical things they require that they can no longer do on their own. This book will impact my nursing practice because it was make me stop and think about how everyone deals with dying differently, we can’t just make assumptions that everyone has the same feelings about dying.
Caregiver role strain is a huge problem when dealing with a family member who has a chronic disease. Caregiver role strain is when a family member has physical, emotional, social, and financial burdens that can seriously jeopardize their own health and well being. An example of caregiver role strain in the text would be when Mitch came over and Charlotte, Morrie’s wife, was trying to put away the food that Mitch brought but also listening in to make sure Morrie was okay.
She could never focus on anything but Morrie; when Morrie didn’t get a good night’s sleep neither did Charlotte. Morrie had people coming over to see him all the time and Charlotte was understanding about it although she probably wanted to spend a lot of the time left with Morrie. This is an example of caregiver role strain because Charlotte was stressed out about Morrie and always worrying about him to make sure that he was okay. Morrie had a great support system and died a happy man with so many lessons to give to the world.