Dying for Attention

Susan MacLeod


When Susan MacLeod accompanied her 90-year-old mother through a labyrinthine long-term care system, it was a nine-year journey navigating a government without a heart in a system without compassion.

Her family, much like the system, erected walls rather than opening arms. She found herself involuntarily placed at the pivot point between her frail, elderly mother’s need for love and companionship, the system’s inability to deliver, and her brother’s indifference. She had also spent three years as a government spokesperson enthusiastically defending the very system she now experienced as brutally cold.

MacLeod’s tone is defined by a gentle, self-effacing humour touched by exasperation for the absurdities and the newfound wisdom around expectations. Dying for Attention is the latest memoir in the graphic medicine field, shelved alongside My Begging Chart by Keiler Roberts and Tangles by Sarah Leavitt. MacLeod includes helpful tips for communicating with nursing homes, as well as background research, to provide a larger context for this under-discussed experience.

“This book is an engaging and important read, and a necessary guidebook for anyone with aging family or loved ones. You’ll be laughing as your heart breaks.” —Rebecca Roher, Bird in a Cage

About the Author

Susan MacLeod is an artist writing about the world of long-term care. Her illustrations have been published by Kaiser Permanente, Halifax Magazine, and the Globe & Mail, as well as for countless commissions. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from NSCAD University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Non-Fiction from the University of King’s College. She still misses her mother.

Publication Details

ISBN: 978-177262-061-0
160 pages, 7×10 inches
b&w, trade paper
October 2021