We start that process when we're born.
Some of us are closer to the due date than others.
Some of us don't realize how close we are, because the statistics suggest we shouldn't die soon.
But things happen.
Others wait, impatiently, to die.
The increasing number of aches and pains and bodily failures that come with aging, are, I think, a way to make dying less disturbing. Eventually, dying seems, if not a better option than living, then at least a reasonable one.
I'm thinking about this a lot because at 91 my mom would seem closer to her due date than most.
And while she worked, by choice, until she was 85, and has taken care of herself well, including driving on her own to the DMV to renew her drivers license just before her last birthday, things have been more difficult since then.
There are good days and bad.
Living in Anchorage makes it hard for me to look after her the way I feel I should.
Moving to Anchorage is not on her list of options.
Her caregiver is terrific and eases my conscience a little, but she's not superwoman.
I talked to Hospice folks yesterday.
Death is inevitable for all of us. Handling it well is not.
My mom has always said she didn't want to be dependent on others.
So this chart and the article from The Dish were of some solace to me as we wander this thorny garden.
"When hypothetically on the cusp of death, physicians overwhelmingly decide against life-prolonging intervention, with the exception of pain medication."
|Image from The Dish|
Ventilation sounds particular gruesome:
First, few non-physicians actually understand how terrible undergoing these interventions can be. [Murray] discusses ventilation. When a patient is put on a breathing machine, he explains, their own breathing rhythm will clash with the forced rhythm of the machine, creating the feeling that they can’t breath. So they will uncontrollably fight the machine. The only way to keep someone on a ventilator is to paralyze them. Literally. They are fully conscious, but cannot move or communicate. This is the kind of torture, Murray suggests, that we wouldn’t impose on a terrorist. But that’s what it means to be put on a ventilator.
This, of course, is the hypothetical. When actually faced with a choice to let one's life go, I suspect many people have second thoughts.