living your best to the end

Allow Natural Death

Dying, death and the evasive language we use Euphemisms for dying and death abound. But what about the words used when telling someone – anyone – that death is near (‘near’ being a relative term). You’re dying may be the hardest words – right up there with ‘I’m sorry’ – which often follows, after the You’re dying. Should someone ask outright: ‘Am I dying?’ or ‘Am I going to die?’ The answer (beyond an evasive ‘we’re all going to die someday’) is likely to provoke a torrent of emotions that most – including doctors – don’t have the resources to weather. They’d rather hedge. This understandable evasion can create all kinds of confusion and mixed messages around decisions long before determining if you do or do not want to be revived, should your heart or breathing stop. When a (surely well-meaning, if possibly mis-guided) healthcare professional, who likely knows your days are limited, says something like: Why don’t we just get more blood-work done Why don’t we see if we can’t beat this infection with this new drug. The options are more surgery or more radiation.. You aren’t able to swallow any more, why don’t we give you a feeding tube Your 91-year old mother is having trouble breathe on her own, we can give her Answers to these questions are often anything but straightforward – often trading one set of awful for another. There comes a time when the rightest thing to do is stop any further treatment toward getting anyone up to any kind of up and at ‘em. From Dr Ken Murray‘s article, How Doctors Die,...