A Matter of Life and Death

29 Mar

I have just finished reading two books written by physicians,  about the ways people torment their loved ones when death is on the horizon.  One is Extreme Measures, by Jessica Nutik Zitter, and the other is Modern Death, by Haider Warraich, and I heartily recommend either, or both.  Dr. Zitter takes a more “human” approach, while Dr. Warraich discusses, among other things, the way cells die.  All cells die; if they did not, we would have 9 miles of intestines and almost two tons of bone marrow in our bodies by the time we reach middle age.  It’s the cells that refuse to die that cause cancer.

Dr. Zitter writes about how families either refuse to face the fact that their loved one is dying, or they want the doctor to do “everything possible”.  Neither is good.

Yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the death of President Eisenhower (yeah, that’ll make you feel old!) and I remember my daughter, who was seven, asking us why they kept poking him.  The wisdom of a child!

Ask your doctor what he wants done when he is in his final illness.  Chances are he wants to be kept pain free and then “go away and don’t bother me”.

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