Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cheat the nursing home

Terri Schiavo died today.

I feel sad for all her family and friends. And sad for her too. I'm sure none of us would wish that kind of end for our own lives. To suffer a health problem that puts us in a vegetative state for 15 years dependent on others for the most basic of functions and unable to enjoy most or all of the things that make life living. Deep down I think we all hope to "cheat the nursing home".

Of course the Schiavo case is even more painful with the family feuding over what to do, and endless lawsuits, and politicians exploiting the case, and intense media coverage. What a nightmare. Thankfully Terri wasn't aware of any of this. But how painful for all members of her family to have all that on top of the personal tragedy of Terri's condition.

I think we all hope for a "good death" whatever that means. After a long and fulfilling life a painless end with minimal suffering for our family and friends. My father came close to this ideal although at much too young an age - still in his early 70s. He was still physically active and mentally alert although suffering from a progressive lung disease. He died peacefully at home next to his wife of 50 years. He was one of the generation that fought and won the second world war. He lived to see some of his grandchildren married. He was able to enjoy the simple pleasures of a game of snooker and a pint of beer with his friends right until the end.

Speaking for myself I want to go out enjoying one of the great pleasure of my life. Sailing my Laser in 30 knots surfing down a wave. A quick heart attack and it's all over with a big smile on my face. Oh, before that let me enjoy seeing my great-grandchildren growing up. (As I don't yet even have one grandchild we are talking a few decades in the future). Let me grow old with my bride and life-long love. Let me retain my physical and mental abilities right up to the end. Surfing in my Laser at age 90+ sounds OK as a way to spend my last few minutes alive.

I have a bumper sticker on my car that sums it all up. "Cheat the nursing home - Die on your Laser".

No comments:

Post a Comment