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Who Said That?

"It's a little unsettling that nobody does this dying thing very well,"

-- David B. Oliver

No sooner does David B. Oliver settle in one of those noisy metal chairs outside the Sarasota Whole Foods than his smartphone jingles, reminding him about his 2 p.m. meds.

He has in his pocket the morphine he takes three times a day, but his cup from the nearby Starbuck's is empty. Without missing a beat, his wife Debbie slides her cup toward him; she's saved some of her drink for this very purpose.

David is a research professor at the University of Missouri's School of Medicine and helped start the MU Interdisciplinary Center on Aging. Debbie, also a professor at the school, specializes in hospice and palliative care research. Devoted travelers, they were in Sarasota this week to take in some sights before a meeting in St. Petersburg of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, where David will receive the faculty recognition award for a lifetime of work — educating medical students about what it really feels like to be old.

"They wanted to give it to me real quick, while I'm still around," jokes David. Humor, it turns out, is one of his favorite ways to educate people about his new research topic: what it really feels like to be dying.

Read more at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.