June 26, 2012

How do you want to die?

This is going disrupt the comfort zone of many people … to discuss the subject of death is not something people are willingly opened to talk about. But let’s face it … it will come and if it is a taboo or prohibited subject for you, for whatever reasons … please read with an open mind.

I tell you what I think about it and it is strictly my opinion. You may not like what I am talking about … then please don’t get too attached … as I said earlier, approach it with an open mind and if you have something to say, please feel free to comment.

OK, whatever it is, everyone will die … but some are so afraid of dying and some just refused to go. We all hear many stories of such people … someone told me a very rich banker is so afraid of dying that he refused to go home … instead he stays full time at a private hospital. Another story has it that a very rich politician, stricken with terminal disease spent most his money trying to save him but to no avail. He suffered many months on his death bed, refused to breathe his last breath … he only stopped breathing when his family let him hold a pillow case stuffed with his cash. 

My question is … if you are told that you are terminally ill, what will you do? Of course, the sensible decision will be to try to live as long as you can with the best treatment that you can get, right?

But let me share this with you … not so long ago, for a few days a week, I took my mom to physiotherapy sessions at a well known private hospital. While my mom does her physio exercises, I waited at the foyer just next to the cancer treatment facility of the hospital. So you guessed it … I have seen a lot of cancer patients going in and out of the facility … patients who underwent chemotherapy, radiation, surgical treatments … all sorts and types. Let me tell you this, it was so disheartening to see the conditions of many such patients. A few times, I came close enough to the patients to see the tremendous pain they suffered, the agony of what they went through and the burden created for their loved ones. 

These patients who received “cutting edge” treatment were wheeled out pierced with various tubes, hooked to odd-looking blinking machines with wires attached to their bodies, bandaged and administered with high doses of drugs (that probably cost thousands of dollars). Yes I know … the good doctors were providing the very best to treat these patients and making it as comfortable as possible for them. Really, I am not being sarcastic here … seeing the condition they were in, I would like to ask if the treatments were making them better or making them suffer.  The way I (jokingly) look at it, the poor patients were inflicted with such suffering that you won't even give to a hardcore criminal.

So, if it is me … if I am told that I will be dying, I definitely will not want to be treated that way. I don’t want to go through the pain and agony of the treatment that will also cause distress to my loved ones. I know exactly what is going to happen and my choices are clear … I will not want to prolong my life, so my question will be … how do I want to die. Let me say it loud and clear … I want to die painlessly, just help me manage the pain and if it gets worse, let me be sedated. I don’t want to suffer and I definitely don’t want my loved ones to go through the agony of seeing me suffer.

Yeah, you may say that I am just talking for the sake of it … when it really happens, it maybe a different story then. No, really, I meant what I have said … it is even stated clearly in my ’living will” that should I am terminally ill and unable to make any decisions … do not make any attempt to prolong my life, do not put me on a life support system … just let me go. You see, I do not want my loved ones to be caught in a scenario where they are scared, confused with medical options and unknowingly consent to do “everything possible" (to prolong my life) which will create a nightmare that will burden them physically, mentally and financially.

The common thought is … “It will not happen to me … I will grow old gracefully, die gently and naturally” but statistically, most of us will die due to illness and most of us will know that we are going to die. So when the time comes, can you accept that you are dying? Are you willing to go? Have you done enough, lived a full life? Or you think it is unfair that you have worked so hard and yet to enjoy fully what you have gathered. 

So, do you ask how do you want to prolong your life or do you ask how do you want to die? Tell you what (and it is strictly my opinion) … I think it is a lot easier (for everyone) to ask how do you want to die.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the thought provoking question. To me, it is an inspiration to live life to the fullest while we are still healthy and alive.



Stone Shiek said...

Thanks HL for your comment ... I agree with you :)