Taking Responsibility for Death

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              End-of-life decisions are never easy to make. They require strength and a lot of thought to it. Americans do have the responsibility to make their own decisions regarding end-of-life preferences. They all have the responsibility of deciding what kind of treatments they want, or if they even want treatment at all. Life has many obstacles, which may include being diagnosed with terminal illnesses, or getting into accidents that end up getting people into hospitals with machines keeping them alive. Therefore, advanced directives are very important to have for doctors and family members to know exactly what patients want regarding resuscitation or treatment options. They provide a huge comfort for families because they do not have the burden of deciding for the patient. Furthermore, it is very important for people to be sure of their decisions, and to be explicit about what they want, in their advanced directives.

               The role of the patient’s family is to support their loved one, and be strong for him/her. Family members are there to help the patient make good decisions, and make sure every procedure in hospitals are done correctly. Unfortunately, family members have the burden of deciding treatment options because many Americans do not have living wills that dictate their preferences while unconscious. Susan Jacoby wrote an article regarding the responsibilities of people for end-of-life preferences. In her article she talks about her dying mother. She tells the reader that it was a huge comfort for her to know exactly what her mother wanted. After reading this, it is important to realize that advanced directives are a good idea to avoid being a burden to family members when it comes to making difficult decisions.

                Healthcare providers are always there to help the patient understand their options and the details of their diseases. Their job is to provide the best explanation and to suggest different alternatives. However, nobody is perfect. Sometimes, healthcare providers do make mistakes regarding treatments, since it is very difficult to know how a patient will react to the different medicines. Therefore patients and family members may definitely question a healthcare provider and their decisions. Sometimes second opinions may be a good option, because end-of-life decisions are not easy. Neither patients, family members, nor healthcare providers will ever know enough to choose a perfect treatment. There is no perfect medicine or treatment; but that is why you have to gather enough information from different doctors, and trust God, who will always be there throughout every process and every hard decision. 

                Decisions are part of life. Some may be easy decisions, but some may be very hard ones. Either way they have to be made. End-of-life preferences are difficult not only for the patient, but also for family members. Advanced directives are definitely a way to make things easier, even though they still require a lot of thought. However, these documents can make a huge difference during these situations for healthcare providers, families, and patients. Americans should all be responsible for their own death. 

Medication and Decision-Making

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     Terminal diseases can be very detrimental and devastating. No one person can ever know when these terminal illnesses will come along and take over your life. These types of diseases strike you and your loved ones; causing a lot of burden because of all the quick and unmerciful decisions that have to be made regarding treatments and other options. The story “Letting Go” by Atul Gawande talks about Sara Monopoli’s case. She was pregnant and ready to continue her life as a mother. However, life put a huge obstacle in front of her and halted all dreams and plans she had with her family, when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Medicine in these cases is very unpredictable. Sometimes they work for the benefit of the patient, allowing them to live for a much longer period of time than they would have without the medicine. However, most of the times medicine has its side effects which cause even more harm to the patient than they already had. Unfortunately for Sara, chemotherapy was not very successful and only caused more harm in her.

     Medicine can be a life saver. Although, when this is not the case, people should understand that all humans are mortals, and sometimes medication will not help them at all. People should be able to comprehend that death is a normal process of life which sometimes comes along with decision-making. The whole purpose of medicine is to save someone’s life or make it longer. If medicine cannot do any of those two, then it cannot do anything at all. Medication and treatments should be halted, and ill patients should continue making more decisions of how they want to spend the rest of their lives, which might include Hospice care.

     When a terminal disease does occur in someone’s life, making decisions of how you want to live the rest of your life is never easy. Medication will not always be the answer to these. Therefore, the patient should be able to decide whether they want treatments or they want to die peacefully without medicine, even if it hurts their loved ones. In reality, the diseased one suffers because they cannot make the decision they actually want to make. At the end, these diseases not only affect the one person who carries it, but also the ones around them. Death is a process in which suffering and pain will be present, and will be accompanied by many hard decisions

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The Notebook

     In the movie The Notebook, the two main characters die together, side by side. The story presents two young adolescents who fall in love and have trouble getting together. In the present time, Noah and Allie are old, and Allie is suffering from Alzheimer. Noah is telling their story to see if she remembers something. This movie presents death as a very happy ending, where life has many obstacles, but you overcome them with people you love next to you. Sometimes life gets very tough, as it was for Allie after being diagnosed with Alzheimer. Death in this movie is very surreal because both Noah and Allie die at old age, next to each other.

     The different portrayals in movies and TV shows can be misleading because they present situations which do not commonly happen in real life. The Notebook gives a very happy ending because eventually we all are going to die, and the best way to die is very old with the love of your life next to you. The media influences us to think that death is a very fairytale-like event. In reality, though, the death of a family member, for example, can be a really bad experience, and can affect families tremendously. Sometimes, movies and shows make death seem very easy to deal with, but mourning someone you loved so much can be unmanageable. Many go into a state of shock or have a hard time accepting death.

     Media definitely portrays different ways in which society deals with death. In life, death can be very sad. Friends or family can die suddenly, and we do not take it well. Sometimes in movies, somebody dies and then time passes by where you do not see the characters mourn or cry. The media shows just the “good times” before and after somebody dies, but they do not show the whole process through which many of us have to go through. Just like the movie The Notebook, the viewer does not see the aftermath of the couple’s death. The mourning of family members is not seen, therefore making it a “happy” ending, where life for them just stops there, not affecting others.

     The use of language does demonstrate that America is a death denying culture because the actual mournful moments people experience after somebody close to them dies are not shown in media, like in the movie The Notebook, making it seem as something that will quickly go away. Death is not a very common topic of conversation within the characters. In The Notebook, they focus only on their love story and everything they had to go through to be together. Even though Noah and Allie are both old, and Allie has Alzheimer, they never talk about their death. Even though death does appear constantly in movies and shows, we do not see the characters actually talk about it thoroughly. Dying is a process of life that happens every day.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LI0RR9jGq8