Medicine does a lot for us today. It relieves pain like headaches, muscle aches, fever, swelling, runny noses, and so on in the common home. In hospitals medicine is used for serious diseases that cannot be treated using over the counter medications. In the hospital setting, medicine relieves symptoms of illnesses and cures some that we have access to. The issue for those with terminal illnesses and diseases however, is when they should stop treatment or using medications or if they should stop. Ultimately, the question is what should medicine do for those who cannot be cured and medicines cannot save their lives?
After reading “Letting Go” I gained some new knowledge that helped me develop what I think medicine should be used for. From Sara’s story, one can see the optimism a patient can have that they can get better. The downside to this that I saw though was that she was still in pain, the medications and chemotherapy were not doing anything for her and it all pointed to the inevitable fact that she was going to die. In this instance I thought about all of the various medications she tried and all of the extra chemotherapy sessions she took and the radiation for the developing tumors in her brain. Were all of these treatments worth it? She knew, as well as the doctors, that the treatments would not work on her. She would not get better. Based on this, I thought that if this is the case, and she were to die and there is nothing more to do then medicine’s purpose here is to give her the death that she wanted. The medications should ease her pain so that she could die at home surrounded by family. The doctor knew this would be a difficult task to accomplish because she would not stop treatment and dying at home would mean they lost the battle against cancer. This was something not only her family goes through but others throughout the world that have access to potential cures or treatments for cancers and other terminal illnesses. My uncle, several years ago was in the hospital and was very sick. He was terminally ill. He was not getting any better and the medications that he was given to help the symptoms of the disease had side-effects that were worse than those of the disease. He stopped taking the medications even though most of the family tried to get him to take them and to continue treatment and taking medications. He decided that the pain was not worth it. He knew and everyone knew that he would not make it. It was his decision. I cannot remember whether or not he was on any pain relieving medications or not at the end of his life or anything he took specifically but it was hard. He died in the hospital.
Personally, I think that if there is nothing more medicine can do to spare one’s life, then medicine should be used to make an individual’s death more bearable. I know however, that most would not want this option because they would have to accept that a loved one is dying or that they themselves are dying. At the end of one’s life, I believe that if medicine cannot save you, it should let you go. At the end of one’s life, I believe that this is the way to go. If medicine cannot save you, let go. I respect optimism and hope but at the same time, there are limits to everything that we can do. Sometimes it is best to let go.
One of the members of Gibbs’ team, Kate, is killed in the field which has a significant impact on the team. It is important to note that each member dealt with her death in a unique way much like people do in society today. The leader of the team Gibbs feels responsible for her death and imagines that she is angry at him. Gibbs responds by becoming more emotional and caring towards the rest of the team which was not like him before her death. This is a natural reaction for someone to have. The guilt drives him to become revengeful because Kate was murdered. Not everyone will go and get revenge, however people may have those feelings in a situation such as this. My friend lost someone close to him in a car theft and had these same feelings. Though he did not personally seek revenge, he did feel the anger and thought of the what-ifs should he ever find him or see him personally.
Abby, the forensic analyst, copes with her friend’s death by imagining Kate inspiring her to be happy. She imagines that Kate tells her to put on her makeup, put her hair up, and play her music. This brightens her mood considerably for the time being until she relapses and becomes emotional. One way that Abby is different in dealing with Kate’s death was her celebration of Kate’s life through playing New Orleans Jazz music at the end of her funeral. Abby’s celebration of Kate’s life is a bit different than what we experience today. Most people in America mourn and grieve their loss instead of celebrating the life that they had in a more upbeat way like the jazz music Abby plays.
Tony responds to Kate’s death by being sarcastic towards McGee until he realizes that he hurts his feelings and feels sorry. He feels sad, but doesn’t cry like some of the other members of the team. He pretends that he speaks and bickers with her like normal which shows that he cares for her and misses her. Unlike Gibbs, he goes on as usual and pretends she is there still. Tony exhibits a different method of coping and this is based on his personal experiences surrounding his relationship with Kate in the office.
McGee is sad and fantasizes about her. He exhibits mostly sadder emotions and this is his first experience with a close one that has died. His teammates know this and help him through this ordeal. For McGee, he learns how to deal with the death of a close one whereas the rest of the team had dealt with a death already. This also represents a larger part of society in that every day someone experiences a death for the first time.
I think that Kate’s death and how it is portrayed through her team’s reactions is helpful in understanding death. It shows the permanence of death and the team’s acknowledgment of this fact. Each member dealt with her death in a unique way and took different amounts of time to move on and grieve. In this, it also shows that people in a society deal with death in different ways based on their personalities. In this show, death is shown in a realistic way but does not show that America is a “Death Denying Culture.” The field that these agents work in involves risks to their lives and they acknowledge this and accept this. While they prevent their own deaths by taking precautions, they do not deny that it could happen to them. This is contrary to what most people in our society thinks.