Sunday, April 5, 2009

Life/Death and Getting Dead

I would like to start this by saying I am a born again Christian and there is no doubt where I am going when this whole thing is over and I am taking the big dirt nap. But, that is not what this is about. I want to offer my fifty cents worth on the whole process of dying. Why, you ask? I spent the whole afternoon the other day at the hospital watching my Grandmother enter what they call the "final days of her life". Sounds so pleasant and dignified. The end result is the same, you die.

She is going to be 93 years old. So, she has got her money's worth. She has been relatively healthy and lived on her own up until just a few months ago. She has seen her kids, grand kids and great grand kids. As she told me the other day, "I am tired and I have seen everything that I need to see." That is a pretty strong statement.

That now brings me back to my original point. The process of getting dead. We come into this world naked, crapping in our pants and having someone feed us. It seems for the most part, at least with several of my loved ones, they go out the same way. I watch my Gram lay there as parts of her body shut down one at a time. The hospice rep steps into the room and asks us to step into a nearby room so we can talk. This is part of step into the other room and let's talk about how long we think she has left and what we are going to do with her until then. This was the first step I though was extremely screwed up. I know that you can't stay in the room with the loved one who is taking their victory lap. However, if I was laying there and knew what was going on, as she does, and I saw all of my family give each other the "look" when this lady steps into the room and then we all get up and leave; I would be like, "Hey what the hell. Where are all of you going?"

We get into the room the two hospice reps earn their money by gushing with fake compassion of how sorry they are and we all seem like such a good family, blah, blah,blah. the one tells us that Gram is definitely in the "final days" but she is not close enough to really go on hospice yet and she is showing some signs of improvement. However, she is not well enough to go back to her place and she can not be left alone. She then follows it up with maybe she could stay for a few more days and be monitored more closely or the family could choose to have the doctors quit treating her and oh by the way what kind of insurance does she have? the golden question and the true root of the whole conversation. What kind of cash is her insurance going to be throwing our way so we can decide her "final days". After almost 93 years that is what it comes down to, room full of your family deciding what to do with you because you are dying and but you are not quite there yet and them wondering about your insurance.

I speak up and say why don't the doctors keep doing what they are doing and we will wait and see what she does. It was agreed that sounded like a good idea. Your "final days".

I have watched an uncle die at 42 with ALS (the cruelest way to go that I have ever seen), an uncle take 10 years to die because he was brought back after he specifically told doctors not to if something happened and dear friends and family rot away with cancer. There is just not a good way to go. Well maybe except my grandfathers, both 42 and of a heart attack. One was in his sleep and the other was at work and sat down and fell over. Maybe those wouldn't be so bad.

After being a cop for so many years I have seen first hand just about anyway that you can imagine as how to get your ticket punched. The hospice people always say with "dignity" is their goal. I have yet to see anyone dignified in dying. Maybe when they are dead they are dignified. Maybe they were brave, strong and fought hard. I still don't see that as with dignity. I see that as having the will to live. I sure don't see it when your family is in the other room going, yep they're dying they are just not there yet. That sucks.

Bringing this all together so it isn't just a rambling rant. You must love life every day that you have it. When you love somebody don't half ass it. Love them. When you get to heaven (and if you haven't made things right so you can get there, do it now!) everything will be wonderful. You can rest then. So twist and ring every day dry until you can't get anymore out of it. Then get up and do it again.

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