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Senior Contributor

Our different outlook on death

This is from a nurse's viewpoint and it is startling to see what their perspective on death really is. A good read for those with parents in their upper years. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/our-unrealistic-views-of-death-through-a-doctors-eyes/2012/01...

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Honored Advisor

Re: Our different outlook on death

It didn't take me long on clinical rotations, in a nursing home and on the progressive care unit in a local hospital in nursing school, to reach pretty much the same conclusions. This piece is eloquent and ought to be read by everyone.

I stopped and posted there, then felt compelled to add this much more: Regardless of religious beliefs or none, the evidence of (not "belief in") an afterlife, with spirits unencumbered by the physical bodies that bear them in this lifetime, is growing.

I had followed this body of knowledge sort of tangentially before my daughter's early crossing over. Now, I weed through the body of literature and other accounts of contact, compare it to our own experiences since she left this side, and say, " I know...." Staying stuck here is a terrible unkindness that people force upon the souls that need to cross, but are prevented from doing so, by misplaced " heroic efforts".

My true inclination is that our culture is going to be faced with accepting this reality, whether by " rationed care" or other means. I would hope it would rather be by breakthrough scientific proof that the soul survives death, so we can hear from those whose suffering is ended. Time will tell.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Our different outlook on death

Truthfully, I did not read all the way through.  I will.  Right now dealing with working 3 funerals into my week.  One older man who still was active in the community but it was his time, one our high school principal & outstanding coach 77yrs (his son is Augustana BB coach), & last my friend's DH who I actually feel, as does she, that his soul left a week before he was pronounced dead.  What a depressing week to look forward to.

 

In the mix of it all I feel is a loud reminder to live life to the fullest.  And that seems to be a big difference in DH & my bucket list.  I am not bailing out but I can certainly understand now why couples divorce later in life.  Does anyone else have different goals from their spouse?  We always planned but somehow our "retirement" went unplanned other than the financial goals.  

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Honored Advisor

Re: Our different outlook on death

So sorry to hear your friend's husband passed. The others sound as though they had longer lives here, so it may be easier for their friends and family to cope.

I really get what you mean about not having really " planned" retirement. In a lot of ways, we are easing into it as we go. We still need to build some savings, since interest has been nonexistent for several years now.

The snap decision to turn Jenna's home into our parttime getaway is one more step along that path. We are making a conscious effort to develop more relationships with people roughly our age. We are hoping friends will come and stay over there, to enjoy surrounding attractions.

Our hours/ days off have never really coincided well wth others for socializing. Making time for Winn, and wanting to help him bond to the homeplaces in Virginia, by taking him to them often as he grows, is an important goal for us, too. Seeing his school plays, sports and other activities, are things we look forward to being able to do.

Beyond that, we are just doing our thing, living a country life. I hope to keep training in martial arts, volunteering at the bird park, dong glass, etc. Mike has started home brewing and making wine again. I wish we were better at vegetable gardening....

I don't expect big changes, until we get too decrepit to stoke fires and drive to the store. We basically live a life that many people aspire to retire to right now.

Then again, whatever happens. I have learned not to plan too much anymore.
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Advisor

Re: Our different outlook on death

As many of you know I am in AZ assisting my brother (age62) and his son (age 20) deal with his recent diagnosis of brain cancer and pending treatment. My brother has been in hospital for 4 weeks, two of them in ICU after a lengthy brain surgery to get a biopsy. He has had a lumbar puncture and they drilled into his hip to do a bone marrow biopsy. We came close to losing him after the brain biopsy surgery.

He is being transferred to sub-acute rehab tomorrow to get strong enough for a month of radiation followed by a month of chemo. His chances of going into remission for five years is 50/50. The average survival time with this treatment is 18 months. It is a very very rare type of cancer, almost never seen in adults.

My biggest concern is that he will go through all this misery, followed by more miserable treatment, only to have this cancer come back. Most likely it will.

With his son so young I think he is hoping for just a couple of years to give Zack a bit more time to grow up in independence.

After 17 total days of running from place to place to place for insurance, wills, FMLA, disability, retirement SSI, benefits, mixed in with trying to get precious moments with the doctors for just snippets of information, I am convinced that all of this is completely out of our control and in the control of God, the government, and the insurance companies.

The only control a patient and family has is to decline treatment and live out the remaining time in dignity and in peace. If a patient or family goes for treatment they are literally handing over their physical, mental and financial existence to others.

Pardon my cynicism but this situation that I am living through right now has really been an eye opener for me. I love life and hope the Lord gives me years to enjoy Ed and our children and grands. But if I got the diagnosis my brother has I am not sure I would go through it just to buy a few years of life.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Our different outlook on death

LA, I am so sorry that your brother is having such a rough time. You are right that he is trading control for time, with.no guarantee of the time materializing. With his son that young, I can see why he is giving it a try.

It is something we have seen a handful of times...people just deciding for no treatment, or a less invasive course of treatment. It is hard to say in advance what I would do, given those odds and likely outcomes. It is a crummy prospect, either way.

As I said to Linda, I try to save for a rainy day and hope for a peaceful and comfortable retirement down the road, but there are all sorts of reasons ehy I don't make any assumptions anymore.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Our different outlook on death

I feel my dad prepared me for his death as much as possible.  He knew it was inevitable...COPD.  My parents lived winters in the south for 6 to 8 years and I was the care taker of the home/pets/bills/checkbook etc.  Yes, I cried, but I think I got over it quicker than most of my siblings.  My mom isn't loosening the strings on her bills/checkbook.  We know she is "hiding" the money she gives to my brother and her plans.  We will not be prepared when she goes.  It will either be a sudden death or a long drawn out deal as Parkinson's suffers can do.  She has a will, but how can 7 brothers and sister's get along with how it will be in the end.  My MIL takes a handful of pills twice a day, I guess that is this worlds prolonging prescriptions.  At what point do you say, enough is enough.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Our different outlook on death

LuAnn, know that you are doing what is best for all of you. You are helping them prepare...Somedays, you feel like you know more than the doctors, or that you could pass the boards too from all the knowledge you pick up on .  Praying for you and your family.

Senior Contributor

Re: Our different outlook on death

LuAnn, this has brought back so many memories of when our son had a brain tumor.  Dr.s said it rarely was seen in adults & rarely ever malignant.  He wasn't one of the lucky ones in that.  At Christmas I mistakenly picked up M&M chocolate covered peanut candy.  I opened it and remembered they described this was the size of tumor that they could not get during the surgery;  would be too dangerous as was on the spinal cord area.  God was good to him but I feel we still have a ways to go to make him independent.  Something that weighs on my mind.

 

I didn't have many of the issues to work out that you do and I really feel for you in your situation.  I battled with getting him into treatment-if this was such a "fast growing tumor & cancer" what are we doing by waiting to get into another hospital?  Finally called & talked to a nurse in radiology who helped.  And he was found to be diabetic & had to go on insulin twice a day in the holspital.  We had no clue how to manage & they were going to release him on a weekend-they didn't realize we were new to it. 

 

I finally just stopped battling and visualised sitting in God's hands and completely giving it over to him to lead.  The calm was amazing.  Your brother & nephew are so so fortunate to have you there.  And you're all in my prayers.

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Advisor

Re: Our different outlook on death

That's where I am at right now, Linda. I have done everything I can to prepare them for treatment. He was moved to an amazing rehab facility yesterday. We are seeing a lot of progress. It is in God's Hands. I pray for a good outcome.
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