• Thoughts on death with degnity!

    Asked by Sunshine61 on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    Thoughts on death with degnity!

    I am throwing this out there and would like thoughts on death with dignity, Some states already have it and several are going to vote on it in the midterm election. I feel like it should be an option and hope Illinois approves it although they aren't voting on it this year but Indiana is. I know not everyone agrees with it but not everyone agrees on anything in this imperfect world we live in anyway.

    59 Answers from the Community

    59 answers
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      CAUTION! Opinion alert. I believe that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. Suffering you say? Oh, I have a little experience there. When we forget that suffering is the universal human experience, when we seek to avoid any and all suffering, life becomes a flirtatious matter, to be used and enjoyed while it is usable and enjoyable. Like a fast-food cup that leaks, we toss it.

      Belgium and the Netherlands. Euthanasia without consent. Prof. Peter Singer at Princeton - who thinks you should be able to put your living baby to death within the first 30 days. Ever watch the movie "Soylent Green" Pull it up on NetFlix. Eerie prophecy there.

      What about love? Love is willing to suffer. Love does not count the cost. Pulling the plug cheats your loved ones out of expressing their love of you by caring for you. Don't want to be a burden? Love sees no burdens.

      Do I recommend avoiding cancer pain? By no means! Yet, the more we make life disposable, the more abuses of human life we see in our culture. IMO, I see the conjured up phrase "death with dignity" as the big lie.

      Death at its natural end, surrounded by loved one who love you to the end - now that is death with dignity.

      I expect to be disabused of my opinion. It is not in step with what's happening now. So be it.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I'm for euthanasia/assisted suicide when someone's physical pain becomes unbearable, the disease is terminal, and there is no hope of a painfree existence or extended life, and the person chooses to be euthanized. Yes, there are pitfalls with this freedom, but if and when I'm facing such a situation, I'll find it very comforting to know that I'll have the option of being medically assisted to be eased out of pain and suffering if I want to, and my loved ones won't have to see me suffer needlessly. And my partner won't be faced with an agonizing decision of whether or not to help me illegally kill myself.

      New York State doesn't have an assisted-suicide law yet. I hope it does eventually.

      I know of two people who chose this way of avoiding extreme cancer pain that could not be helped with drugs. I know both people were very glad they had this choice.

      over 2 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I have a hard time with this one. I think fundamentally I land beside @po18guy, but I can surely understand arguments made by those who believe in assisted suicide. It does worry me to see human life more expendable...

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      I'm not a cancer patient, just a cancer/end of life nurse. I highly oppose the right to die act and I live in Illinois. When end of life care is done correctly, there is no suffering. I have been with well over 500 people in their last moments and only one was uncomfortable. This whole opioid crisis has made dying with dignity...on your own terms a bit of a rarity these days. Life is a journey, and there is an old hospice saying that goes, "the beauty of the flight is to glorify the sight. " To know and experience every moment of our lives is what prepares us for what is to come. To cut that short because one fears suffering is not giving the dying a benefit they do truly need. I know about the policies and procedures to end a life in the Netherlands, and I have seen a few deaths performed using the death with dignity act in Oregon. Is it really a choice when the lack of pain control forces a person to this conclusion? No one should suffer in the end... I agree with that, but no one should have to use their own life as a bargaining chip to find comfort either. I appose the death with dignity act. There was a gentleman in Oregon with metastatic prostate cancer and he was on governmental insurance. His MD prescribed a new targeted therapy. Because they have the right to die act there, his Medicaid stated that they will not cover that drug...however, they will cover the cost of the medication to end his life. That's the reality of what could happen. Insurance companies as well as government coverage might be making the decision instead of the patient. There is a lot to consider. I choose to fight for better pain control at the end as well as throughout treatment. That's my 2 cents on the issue.

      over 2 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      @carm, that is terrifying that the insurance wouldn't cover a potentially life-saving drug, but would fund the cost of ending one's life.

      Between reading that and what @po18guy said about the Princeton professor who wants parents to have the right to kill their babies during the first 30 days of life, i am horrified at what is becoming of our Nation.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Peter Singer's ideas are extreme and hardly represent what most people in our country believe. I, too, am horrified by what's happening to our country. I'm hoping that we can start to regain our decency after Election Day next Tuesday.

      As for assisted suicide, it can be a choice. No one should be forced to do it, but there should be a way to end one's life peacefully if the only alternative is to be heavily drugged until one dies. People find their own ways to kill themselves, and some doctors help them, illegally. The most liberal countries offer safe and legal ways to die, same as safe and legal ways to have abortions. I'm all for this. Don't want to do this, don't, but don't stop others from doing what they want to their own bodies.

      over 2 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I don't want to be unplugged if I have a chance, but who knows if you do or not? But then again the family should have the right to do what they know I would want. But then again.......If there was a law in effect about ending someone's life, there would have to be measures in place that kept a facility from unplugging you because they needed the space or were afraid that they weren't going to get paid. And I'm sure something like that would happen somewhere. So.....what to do? Flip a coin? Heads we unplug him, tails we give another shot of morphine?

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I am moving to Washington, a state that has euthanasia laws; I am terrified. I am currently rewriting my Advance Directive. Even in a state that doesn't allow euthanasia, I have had the admitting nurse hand me several documents to sign. One of them was a DNR already filled out. Thank God I was just barely alert to ask about the documents. I ripped up the document. When my mother was in hospice she made it abundently clear that she wanted to be rivived. The Dr. took my siblings and myself aside and pressured us to talk my mother into signing the DNR. I remember my brother standing with his arms folded just staring at the Dr. I finally was deligated to set up an appointment with my mother's pastor which the Dr. declined.
      As for myself Dylan Thomas expressed it best:

      Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light

      This is only the first stanza, I am planning on trying to find a way to include the entire poem in my Advance Directive
      This is how I want to die. Not by modern hemlock nor in a drugged morphine haze but feeling every sinsation of my last hours.
      I believe all human life is sacred even that of criminals. I am with @carm and @po18guy.

      over 2 years ago
    • Sunshine61's Avatar
      Sunshine61

      Thank you for your opinions.

      over 2 years ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar
      Lynne-I-Am

      As with religion and politics this is a very polarizing issue but more appropriate given this is a site for cancer survivors and caregivers. Many, if given the choice, would like to simply die in their sleep, a peaceful quiet and yes, death with dignity, demise. This is not really the reality for most. Often, in the movies, a person passes in the hospital or at home , surrounded by loved ones and able to communicate with them to the end . Unfortunately this also, in my experiences , is not the case. My father and brother both died while in hospice care. Prior to that care my brother age 34, was in extreme pain and terminal from the ravages of Aids, and my dad ,age 93,was suffering from a form of dementia and extremely paranoid. Under hospice care both were medicated, and their suffering lessened . Both were considered terminal and hospice was suggested by the attending physician and requested by the family. My sister and I were at our brother’s bedside when he passed. My father passed in the middle of the night, in his bed and in his house. He had always wanted to die at home, hospice gave him the ability to do so. . I have also had to make the decision, with my sister, to “ pull the plug” on our 77 year old comatose mother , when the attending physician told us further medical treatment was hopeless and my father was unable to make that decision. I am all for a law that will give an individual more freedom medically in how they choose to end their life when diagnosed with a terminal illness and there is nothing further that can be done. By the way, I think we are a long way away from “ Soylent Green”. Good sci-fi movie with a shocking and original ending when made.

      over 2 years ago
    • Sunshine61's Avatar
      Sunshine61

      Lynne-I-Am, I have watched my father-in-law who had lung cancer and COPD for several days in hospice car gasp for air and the gasping got worse each day, They said he was in no pain because he got morphine and anti-anxiety medicine and I guess after your body is starved so long you are suppose to go into some state similar to shock where your body doesn't feel anything, I do know that he had his since of smell because I had my son put some of his smokeless tobacco under his nose and he smelled it and jerked his head back. With the new medicines now that they have cancer patients are living longer my wife is going on 15 years. That is good that they can live longer and I thank God everyday for that, the one thing that comes with that also is your body and mind gets wore down both physically and mentally over time. And when you have to take a chemo pill everyday for the rest of your life and it sucks the life right out of her you stop and think is this the way I want to live the rest of my life her on earth, knowing that we are just passing through this life before we go to eternity. I know it is not for everyone but I think it should be a choice and with time I do believe it will be in all states just like medical marijuana will be in all states.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      I don't think we should assume that we will be in unbearable pain, especially with today's drugs. However, if we ARE in unbearable pain, anybody can take some extra pills and die a peaceful death, so it doesn't have to be "legalized" to do it.

      The problem with legalizing isn't the legality of assisted suicide---it's the "slippery slope" mentioned in some of your posts, where insurance companies and other strangers take liberties that actually DENY your own choice to stay alive (such as by disapproval of needed treatment to save your life, etc.) The less we value our lives, the less strangers will value our lives, so it bears thinking about.

      Hospice is supposed to keep us free from pain, but do we trust them not to kill us?

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      BoiseB, regarding a DNR order, the hospitalist for my 88 year old mother called a meeting of her family to discuss a DNR order. He recommended signing it because he claimed it was extremely painful to be resuscitated, would likely break her bones in her chest, causing extended pain. He said he wouldn't put his mother through it. He made a good argument for a DNR, but does anybody know if this is true?

      Carm, do you know? Thank you for all your information to us.

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      @BarbarainBham,
      I too have a DNR and it's not that I have an illness. I did it for two reasons. (1) I have to suggest it to many with cancer so I felt I shouldn't ask them for anything I wouldn't do myself and, (2)...I'm lazy. If I go thru all the hard part of dying I don't want someone to bring me back just to have to do it again. As far as resuscitation, less than 50% of people who are brought back actually survive a cardiac event, and yes, you do sometimes break ribs, even the sternum depending on how hard you push down on the chest. I have worked the trauma bay as well as a cardiology floor and I have pounded many a chest... Especially on New Years Day... for some reason there are a lot of codes that day. However, the choice should always be yours to make. The options should be presented without anyone stating their personal views. If your mom cannot make that decision then it is up to her POA to know what she would want. Best of luck to you.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Barbara I totally agree that the legalization of euthansia is a very slippery slope. Any laws should have strong safeguards so that Medicare or any other insurances would not bully the person into euthansia. On the otherhand there is really no legal way to force insurance or Medicare to pay for life extending procedures or medications that slippery slope is already there.
      @carm I would want to be resuscitated even if it would mean a few more hours of life.
      I really believe that we all have different ideas of dignity. It is not a medical question. It is a philosophical question. There is vast amount of poetry on the theme of dying. For me Dylan Thomas says it best.

      over 2 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      This concept is new in human thought. It has become very trendy. That should give us pause. Yet, consider: if human life has no absolute value at its beginning, and little or no value at its end (aged/infirm), how can it have any value or meaning in the middle? Where is the love in any of this?

      Suffering again. Every individual who has ever trod this earth has suffered - some profoundly. What if "death with dignity" had been chosen 40 years ago by Stephen Hawking? By President Roosevelt? By any and all who suffer from depression? By those who are simply fed up with bills, divorce, child custody, job loss or cyber-bullying?

      The problem with virtually every DwD law is that the individual need not have a terminal illness or, in some cases, any demonstrable illness at all. Who among us has not considered ending our life at some point, but a cooler head prevailed? In DwD, once it's done, it's done.

      Why do we fight cancer at all? Why do we struggle to the surface if we fall into a lake or stream? Why do we have a desire to live at all? Why do we have life guards at the beach? We have all heard of the slippery slope. This is a classic example of that slippery slope, couched in subtle, soothing to the ears verbiage.

      It denies the value, both temporal and eternal, of suffering! If we do not know what happens at bodily death, why should we desire to go there artificially? Since suffering is universal, should all then consider DwD? I don't think so.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      @po18guy. I totally agree with you that "death with dignity" is new (20th century) concept. But "dying well" is an ancient concept. Dying well to me mean facing pain with courage. I am not afraid of pain. I also know that pain comes with some uncontrollable reflexes such as groaning and writhing. If any of my relatives are uncomfortable with this, I would want them to leave.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      po18guy, you bring up extreme and irrelevant hypothetical cases. No one advocating for assisted suicide is saying that those not suffering from end-stage terminal diseases will be able to use assisted suicide. You talk loftily about suffering, but if doctors can ameliorate suffering - and even end it with the sufferers' permissions when there is no hope of extended and good life - there's nothing "trendy" about legalizing that solution.

      As for the beginning of life, most people DO value the beginning of a living baby or other living creatures.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      @Carool po18guy's cases are not extreme or hypothetical this is exactly is happening in Belgium. This could be relevant to the United States depends on how protective the euthanasia laws are. They must also protect Dr.s so that they would not be forced to violate their conscience.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      BoiseB, in Belgium, are people who aren't terminal and in great pain, or those who, say, aren't terminal but are suffering from depression, able to get doctors to euthanize them? And even if this is happening in other countries, that doesn't mean that we can't regulate it much better. And no doctor should be forced to go against her or his conscience, in any procedure. There are many doctors who think euthanasia is a moral and humane procedure (at least, I assume so).

      One point is, some people whose physical suffering is endless and who have no hope of living will get drugs or other ways of committing suicide or having a loved one (or even a doctor) help them die, secretly, of course. Why not legalize it? Yes, there will be those who abuse it, but the benefit of choice will help so many drying people.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Here is a study of how euthanasia is practiced in Belgium
      http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/belgium/
      And yes people who are suffering from depression or aren't terminal but in pain are euthanasiazed. I am afraid that I may become a victim of one of those who will abuse the law.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      BoiseB, thank you for this info on Belgium's euthanasia laws. I had no idea. I still think I want the choice to be euthanized if I need this. Most of Belgium's people seem to be happy with it, from what I've read now on Google. One Belgian doctor said that only 5% of his patients euthanized (at their request) were psychiatric patients.

      When my mother was in the hospital dying from pancreatic cancer, she kept asking for a "needle to end my life." She didn't get that needle or a morpheme drip that dripped her into death, but she died a week later. She wasn't in great pain, except for mental pain. She wanted out. And many others do, too. I'm all for it if it's regulated properly.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Carool, I'm not against choosing your own time to die in painful cases, but why not just take some pills, rather than legalizing it, which trivializes taking a life and gives others a legal way to abuse you? If it was legal, I think there would be many cases of family members who wanted to inherit someone's fortune to help someone die when they may not be ready---i.e., I don't want somebody else "choosing my time" and hiding behind that future law.

      I've heard of old letters being found from a husband to a lover that mention having given his wife arsenic in her food, which the doctor diagnosed as rabies (in 1908), the wife dies, and the mistress marries the husband. The first wife was in her twenties and her oldest child of 4 was 8 years old. Nobody knew till they all died over 50 years later, when the house was cleaned out. Pretty scary.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I watch a lot of true-crime shows on Investigation Discovery and 48 Hours Mystery, and Dateline. Quite a few are about husbands or wives who murder their spouses, sometimes several spouses, before being caught (or not caught, as in the case you mention). I don't know what that has to do with assisted suicide. When someone poisons someone else, it's murder, not assisted suicide.

      As for killing oneself with pills if in the terminal stage of an illness, people don't always have the pills, or even if they have the pills they might be unsure that the pills will kill them instead of leaving them alive but even worse off. Also, in those cases where the person succeeds and there's a partner, there's a chance that the partner will be accused of murder.

      It's safer and more comfortable, it seems, if a doctor gives the patient a morphine drip into death (if that drug is what's used, maybe in addition to others).

      over 2 years ago
    • Sunshine61's Avatar
      Sunshine61

      There are guidelines that 2 doctors have to approve and agree that this patient has 6 months left to live, before it can be carried out and then some people choose to not do it but have it in place if needed. The patient has to be mentally stable so the family members can't just give you some pills to kill you off for your money, And if someone just took some pills on their own to kill themselves they could end up in the ER having seizures or mess themselves up to be a vegetable. Some cancer patients can not afford to pay for the $12,000 to $15,000 pills and shots a month and their insurance may deny paying for them.

      over 2 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      @BoiseB Correct. I am not making anything up. I don't have to! This is all well documented. Some in our "culture of death" seem to prefer death to life. Alfie Evans had a chance - until the British courts ruled against him.

      https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/25/health/alfie-evans-appeal-bn/index.html

      Bureaucrats made the death decision aginst the wishes of the parents! They had offers of treament in the US, but No!

      The 'easy way out' is preferable to caring for others or accepting the loving care of others. Generally, those who do not know why they are alive think along such lines. Generally, I said.

      "Extreme" examples are only extreme until they become mainstream. It is simple to name a current culture favorite or accepted/legalized practice that would have been unthinkable to our grandparents. The extreme has become the mainstream, for better of worse. Ancient Rome had pretty much all of this in its declining days - but we're much smarter than them, right?

      We, as cancer patients, are some of the most expensive to keep alive. When others decide for us, as with Alfie Evans, we end up losing. One need not be a prophet to see where this road leads. Belgium and the Netherlands are there right now.

      Those who want to end it all can do so! I investigated suicides for three decades! They needed no law. So, why must we enact a law? Why does unnatural death need legal protection?

      Apparently no one has read Brave New World, or watched Soylent Green or H. G. Wells' The Time Machine." How soon does science fiction become science fact?

      Thought provoking cinema it is.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      po18guy, I've read both books and love The Time Machine. As for our r grandparents, I'm glad I'm not living in their time, when women had little legal or other power, when segregation was legal down South, when LGBTQI people had to be closeted, abortion was illegal but still being done, and women died. And, in my case, my maternal grandparents fled the Tzar and the conscription of young Jewish men into the army - and I mean YOUNG. And my father's family fled the pogroms in Poland. I won't judge our times and laws by my grandparents' times and laws.

      I'mma done here.

      over 2 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Let's try to focus on suicide/homicide by proxy - which is what this argument is.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Carool, the reason I mentioned the murder by the husband was that he got away with it because he was a family member----meaning if assisted suicide was legalized, a family member could easily murder, pretend it was assisted suicide, and get away with it.

      I think a person could ask their doctor how many pain pills would be "too dangerous" to take, and the doctor wouldn't ask questions even if he guessed what you were planning.

      Do any of you remember when a nurse on WhatNext said they had put "extra" medicine in a syringe for a hospice patient? I asked wasn't that murder, and the person didn't answer.

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      As a nurse who as worked end of life I can tell you that if I were to give a higher dose of medication for pain and the patient died from that dose, I am protected by the law of "Double Effect" because my intent was not to kill, it was to ease pain. It does happen because higher doses of an opioid does causes shallow breathing. Our goal was always t oh ease pain and suffering.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Barbara I completely agree with you. When my mother was in hospice she did not want to be alone. So my siblings and I made sure at least one of us was with her 24/7. She was very specific that she didn't want pain medications. We did not have any choise in the hospice service because she was in an assisted living facility. The hospice service left a kit that had a morphine based pain killer. When the nursing home attendents came into her room to change her linens, they roughly pushed her around she gave them an earful of the colorful language our family is famous for. At that time one of the attendents left and came back with a dose of morphine she fought them. I stepped in and told them that I knew they had orders from my brother not to give the dose of morphine unless they called him first. I then called my brother and handed the phone to her. She told my brother my mother was screaming in pain. It was a total lie. My came over and asked my mother if she wanted the pain medicine and she said she did not want it.
      I frankly believe that the assisted living facility wanted her to die quickly. We had paid for the entire month and she died on the 11th of the month. The facility gave us three days to clear out of her rooms. No rent was refunded.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Barbara, spouses or partners won't be administering the drugs; only authorized medical people will. This should prevent people being murdered. I realize there will have to be very close monitoring.

      No, I don't remember that nurse, but I don't see every question here, of course (and even if I saw that one, I probably wouldn't remember it anyway).

      over 2 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      What I was fully expecting was to be opposed. That much is good, as it is intended to promote conversation - I wish only that those who oppose would honor their own mantra of "diversity."

      We hear the constant drumbeat of "You cannot legislate morality!" Maybe not, but you can certainly legislate immorality. Having said that, every nation, culture, society has evils in it. In the US, we have forced moral change via legislation and education, thus eliminating many of those evils. However, replacing old evils with new evils is NOT progress.

      Neither is re-defining evil as good, or marginalizing those who disagree with you. This is a dialogue, not a monologue. Irrelevant or immaterial arguments, red herrings or various canards are intended mainly to control or shut the conversation down. How does this serve the painful truth?

      So-called "death with dignity" is certainly death, but replaces the dignity of a natural death with an artificial construct which is cheap and convenient - and increasingly made by those who have no connection to the patient. Cancer patients are well advised to take note of this.

      Once enacted, "DwD" abuses most certainly follow. We have the examples and despite protestations to the contrary, we will be no different. There is no turning back - it is a bridge of sighs.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Carm and Carool,
      The nurse said the extra medicine was purposely given, and their employer encouraged it. When I asked isn't that murder, the nurse said something evasive like "Call it what you want."

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Carool, I wouldn't want doctors administering IV drugs---it would seem more like being executed that way like they do in prison for punishment.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool (Best Answer!)

      Barbara, yes, as I said, doctors and nurses sometimes "assist" dying patients by easing them into death when the patients make it known that this is what is wanted - at least, I'm assuming that's how it happens.

      It's not an execution if the patient requests this assistance and there is a good reason for this assistance.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Carool, I'm talking about the environment, the feeling. I would want it more peaceful, probably at home, definitely nothing so sterile. Again I've seen too many pictures of executions in prison to request the same thing!

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Barbara I am against the executions. I do not believe in taking another human's life. In a democracy when the government takes a life when the state takes a life we all take that life.
      Even though I believe those who participate in euthanasia are morally wrong I oppose right to die laws because some medical person, will take it upon themselves to kick me off the planet. I know that I cannot not groan or even scream. I know that I will "rage against the dying of the light" in the darkest blue language possible. I do not want some nurse to feel it their responsibility to slip me some morphine.
      @carm How would you act in such a situation when the patient has specified that no morphine or other pain killers are to be given.

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      @BoiseB,
      If a patient refuses any more pain medicine, I would explain what would more than likely happen. If they still wanted to stop the pain medicine then I would respect their wishes even if I disagreed with their choice. The role of a nurse is to advocate for their patients and make sure they are educated on the choices they have before them.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      @carm Thank you for that information. I have a big ego and always reject pain medications. When I had my son by C-section, I refused pain medication. When the nurse asked if I was in pain, I said no, she looked at me and said "I know you are in pain because your eyes are glazed". She then explained that if my pain was killed I would recover sooner because I would be able to walk and sleep. I do not think that pain killers would help a terminal patient "recover". I have heard that pain killers may even hasten death or that they sleep their last hours away. I don't want my obituary to say "she died peacefully"
      Carm I hope someone like you is my hospice nurse

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      @BoiseB,
      Actually pain medications do help the terminally ill and they are not just used for pain. Most lung cancer patients do not experience any pain, however the use of morphine does make it easier to breathe. And for those who are no longer able to communicate, morphine does help with their pain when they exhibit signs of discomfort. The number one reason people fear death is that they do not want to die in pain... They fear the suffering. A good nurse will be able to handle their pain. I appreciate the kind words. I have to say that when you work end of life care (not hospice) the patient isn't the only one you have to consider, you do have to consider the family. If the patient is comfortable then the family is comfortable. Death really is a beautiful experience if done correctly. I know that sounds weird, but I have been with over 500 at their last moments and it isn't an end, it's a beginning... a rebirth in a way.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Carm, if there's anything you can add to explain death to us, especially regarding it being a beginning, I think we would all like to know. Death is a mystery to most of us, even if we are believers.

      BoiseB, although we agree on many things, I don't understand your ego being related to pain medicine. You should be good to yourself and allow yourself to have less pain when you can. (Allowing nurses to give you un-prescribed drugs to make you die is a separate conversation!)

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      BoiseB, you said:
      "Barbara I am against the executions. I do not believe in taking another human's life. In a democracy when the government takes a life when the state takes a life we all take that life."

      I forgot to remind you that the "government or the State" in a democracy doesn't decide to take a life in an execution. (That's how it is in governments NOT in a democracy.) The government or State is simply following instructions from a jury who decided guilt, based on a law agreed to by ELECTED members of Congress. Thank goodness, a majority can change that at any time.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      As a Christian it is the pain after death that I fear because I believe that the worst possible pain before death is like a papercut compaired to the pains of H.E.L.L. and that lasts forever. i also do not know if I want my children present when I die. I am embarrassed to have them there. It is embarrassing enough that they have had to take care of me. I don't want to have them see me as a wimp.
      Do pain medications help patients live longer or do they just help them to die more peacefully?
      As I have said to me a peaceful death is not a "dignified death"

      And you, my father, there on the sad height,
      Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
      Do not go gentle into that good night.
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Sixth Stanza "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Dylan Thomas

      I do fear that should I no longer be able to communicate a nurse or C.M.A would administer pain medication to me.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      BoiseB, we aren't going to XXX, so there's no need to think about XXX. If your children are as nice and intelligent as you are, they will know you aren't a wimp because you are in pain or show pain. You shouldn't have to endure pain if medicine can relieve you from hurting. What's the point in that?

      If you have a prescription for pain pills, you have control of when it's taken if you are at home.

      Thank you for sharing the poem, but I don't understand its meaning or significance, since it appears to be written by a human being to whom we are equal. Can you explain it? I fear you are worrying needlessly about so much, BoiseB.

      over 2 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      BoiseB, I agree with what Barbara said here.

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      When it comes to those last weeks, let me impart some wisdom that came from end of life nursing experience. It might surprise you to know that in all the dying I tended to, rarely did anyone speak of God or their religion. I have tended to dying priests, pastors as well as nuns. I have been with children as young as toddlers up to the age of 96. Each one of them, regardless of their faith or their culture all described the same dreams within the last few days. I can't tell you that dream because life is meant to be experienced...every moment of it. However, what I can tell you is that no one has ever succumbed because of their disease or their treatments. They leave when their will to live becomes a will to leave. All our lives, from beginning to end...we choose. We know the right time to potty train, regardless of Dr. Spock or any other pediatric expert. We decide when we are ready. We decide when we are ready for the training wheels to come off. We decide when to lag in our educationand when to excel. We decide when to have fun and when to settle down...all our lives, we choose. That choice is not taken from us when we recognize that our paths might change. You will always have choices up to that last breath. I have seen only one person who feared the end when the time came. All the rest were happy with their decision. Death is a part of life. What you need to dwell on is living your life moment by moment. Beautiful things happen in moments. Moments are the unforgettable events in our lives. If you spend your life worried about that last physical event, you will miss out on all the beauty that surrounds you. Every moment in life is a lesson that leads you to that last moment, prepares you for it. You will know that moment when you choose to create it. Until then, trust that you have never made a wrong choice as long as you were the one making it. I hope this helps.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Carm, that is very reassuring and I respect your opinions. I hope it won't be offensive for me to ask more about their dreams that were similar. With all due respect, if you know, can't we know also? Thank you.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Barbara I have only quoted the first and last stanzas of the poem there are four stanzas in between. Dylan Thomas wrote the poem to his father when he believed his father to be dying. His father went on to live five more years if I remember correctly. It has been a long time since I have studied literature. It would interest me to go back and study poets instead of in their historical context but in their different attitudes on dying.
      @carm Was the person who feared the afterlife a horrible person. Have you attended any horrible people?

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      @BoiseB,
      No, he was a fine Italian gentleman with end stage mesothelioma. He just had a fear that prevented him from resting or closing his eyes to sleep, so it was necessary to help him along on that last day. He told me that he didn't want his wife and daughters to see him crying because he feared the unknown. He was not a bad person...a good man.
      In end of life care it is common to hear a deathbed confession so...have I met people who were less than decent? Yes. But their confessions stayed with me which was the policy. Even an admittance of a felony murder. It is never our place to judge anyone. If they seek absolution to make that last transition we were only instructed to assure them that we were not there to judge them, so we could neither accuse or forgive them...just listen. @BarbarainBaim... As to the dream, all I can say is that each of us came to this life from another and in the end...you will remember that home and know that there is no fear because you are going back to the home you came from. That's really all I can say on this. I hope you understand. It is something that you yourself must experience. All signs will eventually lead you back home.

      over 2 years ago
    • Sunshine61's Avatar
      Sunshine61

      Carm, You have a lot of good and interesting information. What is the difference in an end of life nurse verses a hospice nurse, I guess your version that differs from DWD is you load them up with pain medication where they sleep more and starve themselves so the process is prolonged and the patient is pain free from the medication. I am just trying to understand the difference and not judging nor trying to argue which we all have done a good job of keeping an open mind and respect others thoughts and opinions.

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      @Sunshine61,
      Hospice nurses work with patients who have a diagnosis of 6 months or less and are seldom at the bedside at those last moments. They coach and prepare the family members so that the loved ones will be able to recognize an impending demise and know what to do. An end of life nurse works with patients who have a diagnosis of 2 weeks or less. We are always at the bedside at those last moments. We prepare the patient so they know what to expect and stay with the patient and family until the end. With hospice, members can still take their regular medications like cardiac or diabetic meds. This is not allowed in end of life. We are also not to do anything invasive, so no IV. Pain meds can be infused but not thru the vein...only thru the fat tissue. As for food, no one asks for food or water in the end. In fact, feeding an eminent patient causes them great discomfort. We don't drug them to induce sleep. We give them pain medication to make them comfortable. We have very personal conversation with them...we answer every question asked of us, no matter what and often get deathbed confessions. We are instructed not to chart that confession nor repeat it to anyone unless the patient requests it be revealed. I hope this answers your questions.

      over 2 years ago
    • Sunshine61's Avatar
      Sunshine61

      Carm, Thank you for that information. We went through the hospice experience with my father in law.He passed away a few minutes after I played a Garth Brooks song fish. So do u work in the hospital with hospice at the 2 week period or how can you be reached, we live in a small town is this in big cities only. You are right with no IVs a person doesn't need DWD.

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Sunshine61,
      I no longer do end of life on a unit. Now I counsel patients with cancer throughout the US and abroad. I deal with a lot of pain issues or questions on recent therapies, symptom management, side effects and information on treatments. I do all consultations by phone, including end of life consults. Greg knows how to reach me here as does "tickling cancer."

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      @BarbarainBham, I did not mean to imply that you were going to H.E.L.L. I only pass judgment on myself. I do believe that my chances of going to H.E.L.L are probably greater than 75%. That is why I pray a lot and go to church. I believe that those hours are the only hours that are the only hours that I will be able to spend with God before I am lost for all eternity. I always pray for others never for myself.
      @carm Do you tell the patient what to expect even if they don't ask. My Dr.s have been doing this lately. When I had a large squamous cell skin cancer removed the Dr. said she would explain everything as she went alon. My response was "Please don't" She was so nice about it she even lowered her voice so I couldn't understand the conversation with her nurse. I am not a very physical person so I really don't like the physical details of life.

      over 2 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      @BoiseB,
      I discuss these issues only when asked and only with the patient...and it is not the physical aspect we discuss. The only thing I can tell them about the physical is that they will not be in pain. Always remember that in life, everything you want is on the other see use of fear. No matter what the issue is in life, once you embrace your fears... You truly become fearless.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      BoiseB, I didn't take any offense to your statement about going to XXX.

      I googled the meaning of the poem, and I learned that the man who wrote it had a heavy drinking problem which led to his early death. I wondered why you would allow another human's writings to affect you in a bad way. He was troubled himself.

      I will write you on your Wall about God.

      over 2 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Barbara, my undergraduate degree was in English. Even though the emphasis was on writing, I was exposed to a variety. I frankly Dylan Thomas influenced my in a bad way any more that the Bible had influenced me. When one studies literature there is a lot of poetry about death, ranging from the humorour "Cremation of Sam Magee" to the "Divine Comedy" The Dylan Thomas's poem really spoke to me. As for heavy drinking well many literary figures were heavy drinkers particularly in that time.
      In reality my thoughts about what happens in the afterlife comes from the Bible.

      over 2 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      BoiseB, I've also studied literature, but it seemed the poem told you something it didn't say to me. I'm glad to know you wouldn't be influenced by him. You won't be going to XXX if you believe the Bible.

      over 2 years ago

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