Even before this latest round of mourning, Doc H and I have shared numerous conversations of what living and dying mean to the each of us. More precisely, how we each would like to experience death. The conversation rolls around when Doc H works with a particularly heart wrenching case at the hospital. Usually it's after one family member is left to make a distressing medical decision for an incapacitated family member. It's one of those conversations you must have with your spouse and family, but it definitely leaves your tongue feeling like it's just been licking the bottom of the birdcage.
Just the other night, Doc H emailed me a WSJ article, Why Doctors Die Differently, by Dr. Ken Murray. I suppose it is Doc H's way of underscoring his wishes on how he would like to die. I am to use to no extraordinary measures if there is little hope of recovery or if his quality of life would be compromised.
While quality of life is a factor to be considered for me, I have a list of other factors I would like to consider. One factor is age. I think the younger I am (and the kids), the more I would want a fighting chance. Is that the mom in me? Is that a gender difference? Regardless, my bottom line is I want to be around to see the kids grow and mature for as long as I can.
Quality of life is to be the main factor if or when I ever need to make such decisions for Doc H. He cares more to live whole, rather than a whole life. I hear his horror stories from the hospital. Patients who will not live, yet are coerced by family to undergo painful surgeries, grueling re-habs to live out the rest of their days only a small fraction of the person they once were for a negligible slice of time longer. I suppose it's only natural for a doctor to come to such a place after witnessing such appalling human pain time and time again.
They're not joking when they say "growing old is not for the weak". I'm getting a taste of what's coming down the pipeline and I don't like it...not one bit.