Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Dying In America
But how to stem the tide when demented centarians are newly started on dialysis? How do we explain that chemotherapy will not help when metastatic disease runs rampant and bodies are confined to beds? I usually start by considering death as a given, then work backwards.
If I were to tell you that you only had two weeks more to live, how would you want to spend those last days.
Often as the words role down my lips, I can see the stages of grief pass before my eyes. A family member spits and turns his head in anger. A husband sputters that the oncologist said years, and I wonder is this denial or just bad advice. Sometimes a patient falls off the grid and lands squarely on accusation.
Doctor, if only you had checked my labs sooner.
And in my mind I continue the if only game. If only the cancer wasn't metastatic. If only you were strong enough to get out of bed. If only we could live forever.
If death is a tsunami, then futility is the collateral damage. Cars are upended, houses are flooded, and bodies lay ravaged on the streets.
We've got a problem.
The process of dying in America is seriously flawed.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 5:24 AM