Couples our age often talk about death and what happens before we get there. Euthanasia seems to have a lot of appeal. Maybe the Dutch are right. The abject fear that I share with so many contemporaries is rest homes, Alzheimer’s, lingering pain, and the like. One such conversation recently amused me. Choices of suicide in later life reared its head. Living next door to the ocean I suggested I might just “head east.” Then it happened. One person suggested asphyxiation! Their partner pointed out a failed case of one who attached a hose to their car’s exhaust and waited patiently to die. What happened? I inquired? Answer:”… the dumb son of a bitch ran out of gas.”
Our country does a poor job of caring for the elderly. As for the process of dying, we all say the same things: I don’t want to go into a rest home. I don’t want to be a burden on my children. Why do you pay $50,000 a year for something you don’t want?
There is a Living Will. Certainly a proper will. North Carolina has a M.O.S.T. form that helps further define your specific wishes in this important decision.
At my last medical exam I concluded the session with a question of my doctor. What is the latest on how to “die well”? He looked puzzled. Then came what seems to be pretty good advice. My doctor suggested one of my age is probably going to die of heart disease or attack, cancer, or stroke. If you have a sudden heart attack and die, the problem is solved. With cancer
If I have been born in India would I be a Baptist? It bothered me early on that the little children, non-Baptist that so many were, were going to hell.
Jared Diamond’s book, THE WORLD UNTIL YESTERDAY, has a chapter on religion. He lists several reasons for religion: 1. explanation 2.comfort 3.anxiety 4.order 5.organization 6.treatment of others, and interestingly 7.justification for war.
Was it Friedrich Nietzche that contended “If there was no God mankind would have invented him?”
Maybe my parents named me properly (Thomas, as in “doubting”). Maybe I was just like the thermos bottle (“how do it know?”), but listening over and over again I began to assume a devil’s advocate attitude (now there is a pun). And early on, and later on, I was probably a definable agnostic. There have been later life experiences that have led me to a kind of faith.
Yet it still bothers me for someone to contend that they KNOW about the “hereafter”.

you generally have adequate time to make a decision on your own, Cancers are defined medically as either curable or treatable. If you have the possibility of being cured then sound medicine is a way to go. Full bore. There are a large range of cancers that are
are treatable. Some of the treatment is not real nice. But you do have time to decide what you are willing to tolerate.
My doctor then said that one you should be most concerned about sudden, severe stroke. This is the illness that causes so many rendered incapacitated, semiconscious, being wheelchair bound or bedridden, mouth agape. Useless.
How to best avoid this possibility? My doctor advised that you and all around you should be advised that in the event of a “severe stroke” you DO NOT WANT TO BE ADMITTED TO INTENSIVE CARE. Why? Because if you wind up there they are in full control. At that point and for whatever reason(s), out come the tubes and medicines.” People can be kept alive for a long time nowadays. BIG BILLS FOR LONG TIMES. Is it Christian-like to do this to people? Geez, we don’t put our pets through this agony. Of course these decisions are up to each individual. Or, in the words of Robert Zimmerman: “…it is not he, or she, or them, or it that you belong to.” IT’S ALRIGHT, MA.”

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