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Old 05-31-2012, 08:27 PM
 
Location: in my mind
4,758 posts, read 6,545,592 times
Reputation: 9501

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For anyone interested in the issues related to end-of-life care, please check out this article- its incredibly thought-provoking:

Parent Health Care and Modern Medicine’s Obsession With Longevity -- New York Magazine
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,759,876 times
Reputation: 32309
Default A superbly well-written, important article!

Thanks so much for posting that link. The article is long, but more than worth reading. It is superbly well-written, both rational and horrifying. It is the conversation our nation needs to be having, and it dares to look a very frightening reality in the face, to get beyond the euphemisms, as it were. Here are two quotes:

"Make no mistake, the purpose of long-term-care insurance is to help finance some of the greatest misery and suffering human beings have yet devised."

"The alternative is nuts: to look forward to paying trillions and bankrupting the nation as well as our souls as we endure the suffering of our parents and our inability to help them get where they're going."
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:26 PM
 
Location: in my mind
4,758 posts, read 6,545,592 times
Reputation: 9501
Glad you liked it!!! I was blown away by it - my elderly father is fine now at age 75, but due to many, many messed up family dynamics, I am literally DREADING the point when he starts to decline. It scares the crap out of me because I am the only child who lives near him, the others are thousands of miles away and we are mostly estranged from them.

I would recommend reading through the comments on that site- very sobering to realize how all of either are facing or will face these issues either with a parent, a sibling, a friend, or ourselves at some point.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:17 AM
 
Location: Perpetuality On Wheels
424 posts, read 410,067 times
Reputation: 139
I hope the main stream news media and politicians alike can spend some serious time to discuss such issues of importance.
To my observation based on overseas traveling, it is an universal issue and bother millions of population.
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,784,766 times
Reputation: 2307
OP: Extraordinarily useful post, the article is superb and highlights one of the seminal issues of our time.

President Eisenhower, in one of his last official commentaries, warned of the dangers from the military/industrial complex. He was quite correct. An update to his sage advice is that we (the general tax paying public) now face an equal, if not greater, threat/burden from the medical/industrial complex.

The bottom line is we have not come to terms with an absolute and fundamental fact of life - we all die. The nature and manner of our death, has in IMO, become terribly twisted due to economic incentives and ethical deficiencies in our collective social fabric.

Currently, the end stage of life for many of us, while highly dependent on the amount of cash one has, is an obscene dance with the devil to prolong existence for the benefit of other parties. It has little, if any, foundation based upon an individual's dignity or right to exit this existence under rationale circumstances.

In my view, everyone should plan and prepare for their exit under their own criteria and not be subject to the miserably deficient and ethically questionable practices of our current end stage of life treatment in our society. JMO
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Florida
2,291 posts, read 4,952,136 times
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My mother is 86, lives alone in a home she cannot manage, her mind is failing, her health is good...my path is clear and I am dreading the entire situation, she could easily live to 95 or beyond.

Good read, thank you.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,842 posts, read 19,937,680 times
Reputation: 23281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilgrim21784 View Post
In my view, everyone should plan and prepare for their exit under their own criteria and not be subject to the miserably deficient and ethically questionable practices of our current end stage of life treatment in our society. JMO
Please do share exactly what plan that should be and how likely it is to happen?
I'd guess most of us have little problem with the idea of helping to end the lives of those 'living dead' people.......on an abstract basis.
But how many of us could actually make that decision on a face to face, up close and personal basis for a person,whether it be a relative or even a complete stranger?
Visiting my mom required passing a number of them....sitting, slumped in their wheelchairs, non-communicative.....lined up for their daily outing in the hallways....thinking how horrendous that non-life is.
But....I have to admit, if I was given the ability to stand in front of any one of them,point and say "OK.Get rid of this one" I doubt I'd be able to do it.
Therein lies the dilema.
Withholding meds or treatments is not always all that would be required in order to effect an 'end'. It could very well take active, rather than passive, measures.
Could you do it?
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,759,876 times
Reputation: 32309
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
Please do share exactly what plan that should be and how likely it is to happen?
I'd guess most of us have little problem with the idea of helping to end the lives of those 'living dead' people.......on an abstract basis.
But how many of us could actually make that decision on a face to face, up close and personal basis for a person,whether it be a relative or even a complete stranger?
Visiting my mom required passing a number of them....sitting, slumped in their wheelchairs, non-communicative.....lined up for their daily outing in the hallways....thinking how horrendous that non-life is.
But....I have to admit, if I was given the ability to stand in front of any one of them,point and say "OK.Get rid of this one" I doubt I'd be able to do it.
Therein lies the dilema.
Withholding meds or treatments is not always all that would be required in order to effect an 'end'. It could very well take active, rather than passive, measures.
Could you do it?
Although you didn't ask me, you asked Pilgrim, I think I could do it. I wouldn't do it because it wouldn't be legal. Nor would I enjoy doing it.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,997,544 times
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As some readers on here have heard me recount, I had a terrible time with a "terrible" mother in her declining years. But even with my adverse feelings about this, I maintain a deep gratitude to her approach to her life and death, because she took control of it from the very beginning and would not let anyone else in on it. She adamantly refused the medical profession since the day she had her last baby. Over the years she refused doctor visits and nursed herself through everything from the flu to pneumonia for weeks at a time, letting none of us near her. As she aged she defended her home and right to stay in it. And she had some kind of pill that she alluded to every now and then, and we knew what she meant.

Her philosophy was never to become dependent in any way on any one, and this staunchness and suspicion and anger at the world most likely kept her going and fending of debilitating disease (I'm just guessing here, as she did not have a good diet or ever exercise, etc). Every refusal of our efforts to get her into a "safer" living condition seemed to seal her fate that she would age and die on her own terms, which she did. I cannot even begin to imagine her in the situation of the article writer's. She just seemed too "smart" to ever get herself into such a position. She had her pill, whatever it was, and that was her final defense. She didn't have to use it, in the end. She died in her own home suddenly and when they carried her out I wanted to know if she'd taken her own life and later found out no.

I am somewhat like my mother but I am not. I don't know what I will do as I age, if I will formulate an exit plan or not. My D-ex says he'll look after me in old age but I can't say I'd be thrilled about looking after anyone. It is over the top for me, as I have health stuff going on that would make serious caregiving nearly impossible. But I can say that after reading this article, my attention is up. I'm getting my health proxy signed quickly with DNR. I only wish we could have found that "pill" she claimed to have had (we never did, in cleaning out her home). I'd love to know what it was!

Last edited by RiverBird; 06-01-2012 at 07:33 AM..
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,425,030 times
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As an EMT, I learned very quickly about what happens to most people in their declining age.

We used to joke among ourselves that we would all have "DNR" tattooed in large letters across our chests. Why? Because when the EMT/Paramedic/ER Doc rips open our shirts to perform CPR/attach electrodes, they will have undeniable, indelible proof of our wishes.

I have posted before that I once transported an elderly female from a nursing home to a hospital 30 miles away for a CAT-scan. She was in her 80's, had had repetitive massive strokes, was in a diaper, could not speak, and cried the whole time - loudly. When I brought the patient and her pics and diagnosis back, the nurse handed the doc a $20 dollar bill. They had sent the patient for a CAT-scan on a bet as to how much of her brain was destroyed. Your Medicare dollars at work...

Most people are terrified of dying and will do any and everything to avoid it. They can't let go of their parents, grandparents, or any other relatives, and will sign any check or permission to prolong that life - no matter how painful and grotesque it may be for their "loved one". They don't know where to draw the line between functional and non-functional life - and the doctors who are getting paid to prolong that life, no matter how unsatisfying or tormented it is, won't tell them. Some doctors are honest and decent and tell patients and their families when there is no hope; others insist on endless procedures to line their pockets and up their bottom line.

Even though DH is crippled due to a work injury, he still can function well and contentedly. He can't do what he has always done (who at our ages can?) - but he can do some, and be functional and happy, even though he is always in pain. I have lupus, which means that I have a constant problem with infections, etc - but I can still perform and function. When - not if - we reach the point where the pain or infection/bodily dysfunction is untenable, we will go out gracefully and quietly - or help each other to go out. Our children all know to 'trip over the plug' to the machines if we end up in a hospital.

Plan your exit. Make your wishes known. Document, document. Don't be afraid of death, be afraid of what people will put your battered body through in the name of prolonging your life for their own self-interest.
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