Death Denying Society

Susan Jacoby struck a chord in my mind when explaining how she took “immense comfort” knowing her mother’s wishes to leave this world. During such a stressful time at end of life stages even a little comfort can make a tremendous difference. Irma Jacoby seemed to be an intelligent, matter of fact woman. She spared her family and herself as much stress as possible by having advanced directives and knowing exactly what she wanted. I believe it is our duty to take OUR life into our own hands for an assortment of reason. Living wills and advanced directives are significant tools that as Americans we fail to utilize. Our death denying culture feels inevitable or resistant to the fact that yes, we are all going to die. We need to take action and make Advanced Directives and even take that a step further. We need to make sure we communicate those wishes to a spouse or close loved one and be sure they know where important documents are stored.
Families have a significant role in a patient’s life, they carry out wishes when maybe someone is no longer competent or provide documentation of those wishes. A patient’s family knows that individual on a personal level and can navigate situations with medical staff as a team. I think questions to the medical staff or doctor should be welcomed as long as both parties are respectful and can come to an agreement. The scenario given in this article is traumatizing in the classic situation of two children arguing whether to take their Mother off of her life-sustaining respirator. In a time of such intense emotions a Mother wouldn’t want her children battling it out on what choice to make and what the medical team may or may not be suggesting. The cost of keeping her on the life support those extra weeks cost the family $20,000. Now of course there is no price on your parent’s life but the lack of preparation has emotional and financial implications.
The baby boomer generation is only getting older and the fact that technology is allowing people to live longer may lead to some complications. Our American society denies death and not everyone is as prepared as Irma. So are we to do with such an influx of end of life patients living off machines with no advanced directives? It is everyone’s job to inform our families and make time for preparation of our own lives because we all know how sudden life can change.

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4 thoughts on “Death Denying Society

  1. It is clear how America is a death denying culture. Many just ignore the fact that death will eventually come. Preparation is crucial, and should be the responsibility of each and everyone to communicate what they want. Life has many obstacles and, as stated, everyone knows how sudden it can change. Advanced directives would be very helpful for doctors and family members to know exactly what treatments or other options you want for your body. End-of-life decisions can be very difficult, especially for family members who do not know which decision to make for the dying loved one. Like the example stated, a mother would not like to see their children fight over something like that. This is why advanced directives need to be taken seriously, and people have to take responsibility for their own death.

  2. The first thing that brought me to your blog was your media clip, breaking it down by color of blue to symbolize sadness in death and even having a rabbit was catching to the audience! Great choice. I do want to address how strongly I relate to your reflection on the article we read, and how important it is to honor and move forward in our choice of death. It is a sad truth that no one is willing to truly accept death, but what we may need to do is prepare a little more for it too. Great insight on your part in highlighting how we are all not like Irma, but how much we also do not want to be like the siblings arguing to continue lengthening life, when there will be no life soon.Most importantly how technology has granted us the opportunity to extend life, how do we as individuals create a barrier to cut it off? Yes, the only way is to communicate it, express it, and share our wishes and not be scared to open ourselves to that possibility.

  3. I too, love the picture you added. It reminds us you cannot give up once something challenges us. Although death is inevitable, you still should embrace and find “meaningful distraction” in the last few days. I also love the quote of “springing into action” during this time. To take action of end of life responsibilities is key, especially with the baby boomer generation as mentioned in your blog. Families having to make medical decisions for the patient can definitely cause a string of hard emotions. I can attest to this because my mother (the oldest) was my grandmother’s next of kin, however my aunt (the youngest) did not agree with her decision to take my grandmother off of life support after a traumatic car accident. This caused a family feud and made coping much harder especially with out the family support that we were all used to.

  4. I really like how in your post, you talked about the family and health care provider being part of a team. That resonated with me because I had only thought of them in opposition, the family being the emotional side and the provider the medical. The physicians can best explain treatment options and provide care while the individual and family can take those care options and make it work best for them and their wishes. You demonstrated that in order for the patient to receive the best care and for their wishes to be best met, the family and doctors have to work together.

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