I created Waking Up Dying to prove that purposeful, directed, goal-oriented caregiving can be an effective weapon for defending weak, helpless, sick, old and diminished patients. Sadly, the juggernaut of the American healthcare system demands more from patients than it gives. Too often, elderly caregivers (like me) are not much better off than the patient they hope to care for. They can be steamrollered as though they are not even there.

Waking Up Dying is about how my late wife and I (two journalists), with a sense of adventure and desire for self-determination, utilized our life experiences and professional skills to manage her healthcare crisis. Though burdened by cancer surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy, and the despair of a terminal diagnosis, we soldiered on to achieve the quality of remaining life we wanted.

This blog, and my book, offer proof that assertive and aggressive caregiving is a constructive and beneficial activity for improving patient wellbeing and accomplishing clinical changes in patient treatment while she is still alive to benefit.

I want readers to know they can adapt the skills, tools and techniques needed for proactive caregiving from among their life and professional skills and experiences as I did. I utilized project management techniques, interviewing methods, note taking training, writing skills, telephone sales methods, on-line research capabilities, meeting organization procedures, information management practices, and experience organizing large groups of unrelated people.

Caregiving is typically presented as a self-sacrificing, sensitive, heart rending and emotion filled activity doomed to failure by the loss of the one cared for. And it usually is, but it can and needs to be more. Much more.

Here’s how.

Recent Blog Posts

Abandoned By Your Pharmacy

When I called my pharmacy to refill my blood pressure medication prescription a live person answered. I was so startled I blurted out, “Why are you answering the phone?” I had autodialed the familiar voicemail phone number for prescription refills at the pharmacy I had patronized for the past eight years. My beloved pharmacy (because...

Caregiving. Who’s To Say What It Is?

The American Cancer Society’s descriptions of caregiving tasks were, I recently found, little more than what one might do for someone with the flu. This discrepancy made me reexamine my own caregiving tasks when caring for my wife, who eventually died from terminal brain cancer. For example, at cancer.org the Society provided two lists of...

Whatcom: Chronic & Acute Up Close

You don’t own your digital healthcare data and so you (the patient) cannot dictate who can receive it. Instead of negotiating with you about your digital healthcare data, the recipient you choose must negotiate for your data with the hospital that owns your data and its co-owner, the Information Technology (IT) company that provides the...


For two months I had been searching for an audience for a presentation about my book, Waking Up Dying, without any luck. I had written my book with three audiences in mind: healthcare providers (doctors and nurses), caregivers (friends, family and loved ones of patients) and patients (stricken men and women, mainly with terminal diagnoses)....

Follow The Money

Follow The Money Most of what is being done in the name of healthcare reform and end-of-life preparation is determined by the availability of money to support the efforts. No funds, no effort. It doesn’t matter what the cause or need is. That’s life, most of us have learned. Follow the money. It is discouraging...