2 Comments So Far

  1. Wow, horrendous, and stupendously naive — especially from a physician; or maybe I should say “not surprisingly” from a physician, since it seems that more of them than not really do not understand the concept of death. Or how to die. Physicians are preordained to save lives, not help people die with dignity. I learned this painfully and well when my stepmother and later my mother were dying, and both in hospice care. Dr. Smith’s statement:

    “This is, I recognise, a romantic view of dying, but it is achievable with love, morphine, and whisky.”

    Is pure bullshit. I know. I was there. My mothers had all of these things, and it was still difficult-to-impossible for them to leave last messages or hear favorite pieces of music and poetry, and they were physically incapable of visiting that beloved spot for the last time. We tried. They tried. But morphine and whisky have a way of interfering with one’s enjoyment of the external world (and communicating with it in an effective two-way dialogue), and love, while important, reminds the dying person of how quickly it’s slipping away.

    Further, for Dr. Smith to suggest that we should stop trying to find a cure for cancer, leaves me wondering what sort of medical fish he truly is — neither doctor nor hospice worker he, for he obviously lacks the clarity and conviction to pursue cure nor informed alternative.

    To hell in a flaming handbasket with him, I say. With conviction.

  2. Very well said Jackie.

    My mother is suffering with stage 5/6 Alzheimer’s and it is torture for her and those caring for her. Every day, dealing with her hysterical crying, chronic depression, bursts of anger, desperation, constant phone calls, up to thirty or more a day. She doesn’t remember from one second to the next. I could spend all day trying to make sense of her crazy, trying to reel her in to a world of peace and acceptance that she IS WHERE SHE IS… Knowing that I will never be able to get her to that place of peace gives me incredible guilt, when I don’t answer the phone, can’t see her, can’t bring her to my house because I will get NOTHING done…I feel like I’m giving up on her…it’s as bad, if not worse than the disease itself.

    It sucks.

    Who is this doctor anyway, to judge what others experience? I certainly would not say that my Mother’s illness is worse that anyone else’s because I have not walked in their shoes. Even if I HAD, it’s still a personal experience that should not be judged.

    You are gracious in trying to understand his perspective and I think it’s just plain ignorant of him to put these thoughts to print.

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