You're a Thousand Years Late

PBS wants you to consider suicide.... er, well, end-of-life care short of lifesaving.  We may still yet avoid the Death Panels if we can get enough of you to volunteer of your own good will!

The better way is to live otherwise from the beginning, as we were told in the Havamal.

The coward believes he will live forever
If he holds back in the battle,
But in old age he shall have no peace
Though spears have spared his limbs

...

Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies
Of one who has done well

Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But I know one thing that never dies,
The glory of the great dead.

Some of you, perhaps the ones with less Viking blood, may prefer the Irish version of the sentiment.

7 comments:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Volunteering to stop being kept alive seems fine to me. We have been watching parents die slowly, one after the other, for 19 years. We live too long these days.

E Hines said...

I think we often don't live long enough given some of the things we have yet to do.

However, to demand that others prolong our lives when all that creates is burden on them, our selves having long since already left; or others demanding our lives be prolonged according to their beliefs, no matter the misery of our existence, for instance medications having long since failed even to ameliorate pain, is wrong.

Eric Hines

Larry Harman said...

I agree. We as doctors often don't do a good job of talking to people about their wishes. Having said that, patients frequently have unrealistic expectations regarding what Medicine can do for them. I often have conversations with family members about their critically ill 80+ year old relative, and they tell me "to do everything," when "everything" won't fix the underlying problem, i.e., advanced dementia or metastatic cancer.

Larry Harman said...

I have also found that oncologists (cancer specialists) are especially bad at preparing their patients for the end, wanting to continue treatment aimed at cure long after they know that cure is not possible. Additionally, because of this, they don't talk to their patients about the end, because many people would change their focus from cure to comfort much earlier.

E Hines said...

...wanting to continue treatment aimed at cure long after they know that cure is not possible.

First, do no harm. But this often is applied too narrowly.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

It's good to be aware of death, and to think about how you want to die. But you should also think about how you want to be remembered, and live that way: it may reduce the need for a living will.

Ymar Sakar said...

Stop blaming the colonists from trying to wipe out the natives. That's the only way they can import more Latin and black slaves.