Friday, March 2, 2012

Dying...The Doctor's Way

What happened to the days of bridal and baby showers? Life has morphed from those pretty pastel colored parties to rather dark gatherings... consolation divorce gatherings at a dimly lit bar, or worse, funerals and memorials.

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.


  1. I love your blog! Thanks for the follow, following you back on GFC and linky followers. Have a great weekend!

  2. I'd like Morphine. I'd like comfort and peace and quiet. I'd like family that follows what my wishes no matter if I am 40 or 80. I want people around me with common sense to tell me or my family if I am incapacitated the truth and not sugar coat the final days of my life with a fight that's brutal and unnecessary.
    I want DNR and DNI tattoed on my chest over my heart. I don't want to live if I cannot do the basic acts of a human being regardless of age. I do not want to go on if my brain is riddled with alzheimer's plaques and I am stuck in the wrong decade. I do not want to walk around peeing in a diaper and revert back to the age of 2 in the body of 80.
    I think that's all.

  3. returning the follow from I Love My Life As a Mommy & a Wife( Love the blog! Have a great weekend!

  4. My husband and I had this conversation nearly every day when he was in internship and I was in my first year of practice as a veterinarian. So many differences, so many similarities. Now it comes up when he reads out some zebra of a case on a small child or a person our age. It's not normal, I don't think - the side of humanity they see in county hospitals, the way people die sometimes. He's been very vocal about what he would want if. He also is vocal about what sorts of decisions he would be likely to make for me. I'm OK with it. Wow. It's really a different view than the general public though.


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