As I enter the so-called golden years of my life I periodically muse over my fate in the last days of my earthly existence. It seems rather tragic that so many of us are faced with a withering debilitating decline in health as we approach death's door. I have entertained the future use of euthanasia as a means to somehow exit gracefully from this world. I have told those around me that I sincerely do not want to end up in a cold sterile hospital bed with tubes & gadgets attached to me. Rather let me be in the comfort of my abode where I can move outside to experience the peace and tranquility of nature's wonder.
Why does our society not let us die on our owns terms? They insist we fight the 'good fight' and squeeze out every last second of existence. Doctors play god and often have no problem interfering with the wishes of the patient. Should death with dignity not override the Oath of Hippocrates? Is there truly quality of life when you're being force fed intravenously due to a loss of appetite as the result of a terminal illness?
Will religion(s) continue to have an unnecessarily large impact on the attitudes society possesses about letting individuals chose their own course for exiting this world? It is confusing that 'people of faith' encourage us to fight on at all cost and not give up while at the same time believing in eternal bliss in an invisible afterlife. Huh?
I've seen many friends and relatives succumb to the ravages of old age and disease over the years. It seems unfair that our last days of existence must be spent dealing with a worn out body and tired mind. In a way I envy the lower order mammals who have no concept of death. They have no mental turmoil or angst about their eventual demise. I guess this is a price we pay for being the highly cognitive beings we are. I don't fear the moment of death itself but rather the process of dying is highly unsavory.
Where do you live Tom? A discussion on death w/ dignity should be interesting.....
California. Oregon has a DwD law and Wash might have one.
It's an occupational hazard in some industries, where to cut down on the risk of fire sometimes they will flood an area with nitrogen. You can walk into one of these places and not realize you aren't getting oxygen, then pass out without any warning whatsoever, and shortly thereafter die. Your suffocation reflex is not triggered by a lack of oxygen, it is triggered by an excess of CO2 and breathing pure nitrogen or helium lets you get rid of the CO2.
My dad died of a stroke at age 54, and a couple of years later my brother did a genealogy search and found out that my last 8 generations of male relatives down my fathers side all died before age 53. I am turning 50 soon, so I will likely be dependent on lifestyle and modern medicine to live much longer. (I am pretty healthy now--knock wood)
The thought that I've given to potentially taking my own life if things look unforgivingly dire is that I might go out with a statement death. Maybe jump off of a cliff with a flag that says "Save the Whales" or whatever I think of at the moment.
With that being said, modern medicine is coming up with some pretty amazing stuff right now. Aubrey De Grey says that the worlds first 150 year old person has already been born, and the worlds first 1000 year old person is only 10 years behind that (start the video at about 10:00 if you want to get right to it.) In general, as a population, all you will need to do is outlive the longevity escape velocity.
Thank you for this thoughtful and personal post, Ed.
because..if you die then the gov't cannot collect any more taxes from you. It's all about monetary gains, nothing to do what the people think. The gov't already fooled the majority thinking it's wrong to give us the option to die.
Inheritance taxes? One last bite at the apple for the government.
There are no inheritance taxes where I live. (canada):D
Yahweh, it's about monetary gains if we do ourselves in early during our tax-paying years.
We who are past our tax-paying years? The gov't would save money to let us go.