Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is There Such Thing as a Graceful End?

excerpt from Sacramento Bee (Sunday, January 29, 2012) by Anita Creamer

The summary of the article was about an old and fulfilled woman named Jeanada Nolan who left her family with an extraordinary gift: She planned and expressed her end-of-life wishes. While many people say they want to die without aggressive medical care, that's often not what happens. 

Most people on the end stage want pain control, and they want to be with their families, and don't want unnecessary measures. Ironically most people die in intensive care mainly because they weren't able to make their end-of-life wishes clear before a medical crisis. Their families are left to make decisions on their behalf as best as they can, but it's usually not the best for the patient. Dr. Ken Murray, author of the blogpost 'How Doctors Die' remarks that most medical providers (aka doctors / nurses) unlike lay people, know the limits of modern medicine and tend not to choose aggressive end of life treatment. Dr. Murray said, "These families don't look at it from the standpoint of the patient but from the standpoint of their loss. The medical system does things with consent. If the patient doesn't put in writing what their choice is and who makes the decision for them, then we have a problem. Whoever's got the loudest voice in the crisis wins. You'll have someone screaming, 'Are you going to kill Mom now?' "

Read more here:

For the full story, click this link: A Full Life, A Graceful End 


I had a conversation years back with my officemates over lunch about buying burial assistance. They scoffed at the morbid thought, thinking that I maybe just toying with the idea for death to come earlier as planned. If given the chance, I would have bought it, if only I had the money, but then changing my mind to rather spend it on pension (or shoes).

Begs to show why everyone is quite aloof on the subject of death, though we know deep inside that all of us are not exempted and has to pass through that phase once (thank God!). Still, its quite a conversation mostly avoided, after all, why talk of death when you think you haven't lived most of your life just yet?

Death comes to us all, unfortunately not the way we intended. If we have our choices, we would rather die in our sleep - peacefully. Except if that sleep was disturbed by a nightmare that caused our hearts to stop.

If I were to live pass the age of 70, I thought of how I would choose to gracefully exit this world. After all, I bet by that time, most of my friends (or immediate family) have already crossed over and maybe I'll be more than eager to join them. Also, I might be just a tad curious what it's like on the other side. If not for our relatives we will be leaving behind, there really is no reason to stay, realizing that after we're gone, life goes on for them. True, that most of us want to delay death - or prolong life, whichever term you prefer, but up to what extent? Still, it is best to respect the wishes of the people near their end - of -life. Whether they understood it or not, whether they are ready to go, or not.  But if it happened to me (or you) will I be ready to go when it's my time? (or yours?) How would you like your life to end? Surely, I wouldn't want to be in my deathbed full of regrets, but have that innate peace in the belief that I lived a life well spent, just the way God intended it to be.

Celebrate life while living. And when the time comes when death knocks on our door (wishing he would look more like Brad Pitt's Meet Joe Black character than a black robed skeleton with a hook),  maybe we will be more than eager to hold it's hand...

Blue Oyster Cult


       Several legal forms are available online for Californians to download and fill out to make their end - of - life wishes clear to family members and emergency health providers.

Do not resuscitate (DNR) orders let doctors and emergency personnel know that you do not want CPR, defibrilation or intubation.

Advance health care directives designate a surrogate who can make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.

Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) forms let patients delineate their medical choices. Including whether they want CPR, fluids and antibiotics. In addition, POLST includes the name and contact information of the legal surrogate named on the advanced directive.


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