Dignity…where did it go?

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My Sister-in-law has stage IV lung cancer and right about the time when I celebrated my 5th month of my smoke-free life, she heard her final diagnoses. They gave her only around 5 more month to live. She is just a little bit older and it floored me and everybody else in our family. 

I am mad since weeks…month, but decided first not to talk here on my blog about it. I debated with myself, since I might lose a good amount of followers and readers with this post. But then…so be it. I can not longer hold back and will state my opinion now honestly and probably very brutal.

There are many things wrong in this world and we all know it; we see and hear about it every day. How we treat dying people is one of the things that is just totally screwed up and so unbelievable cruel. Watching somebody die of cancer is mind-blowing, eye-opening and outright scary. This is not the first time I have to witness it, what doesn’t help at all. We are all in the hands of the laws when it comes to our dignity. Not just the laws; in the end our dignity, our humanity is still dictated by religious believes…and it’s so wrong on so many levels.

So, back to my Sister-in-law. After she got her last diagnoses “they” (the doctors) decided to put her on chemotherapy again. My first thought was …”why”. You know she is going to die, so why are they torturing her with more procedures that can’t and won’t help? My Brother-in-law was still hoping, being faced with the idea of his wife dying so soon overwhelmed him, he hoped for a miracle -so did we all at first.

The chemotherapy didn’t do anything, besides making her more miserable. The days, weeks she still had were now filled with bad side-effects and reactions to the drugs. She was in good spirit and took her faith with a strengths, that I hope I will find in me one day as well.

The cancer has spread from her lungs to her spine, to her bones and to other organs. About 2 months ago she started to have problems eating, the cancer doesn’t let her eat or hold any food. She lost weight, got weaker by the day and one night, it was so bad  that they transferred her back into the hospital. Nothing they could do, besides Morphine…and lots of it. She upped her dose once 4 times in just a few hours when we visited her and she said “I want to go” and we all understood. Diagnosis then: Only a few days, maybe weeks…the cancer is starving her to death…it won’t be long now. There was nothing they could do for her…they send her back home on hospice after a few days. Good…at least they didn’t try to run up the medical bills anymore with unnecessary tests and procedures…and that was about time -if I may say so!

This poor woman is hanging on. Her heart is strong and doesn’t let her go. As of today she is down to 90 lbs and hasn’t eaten anything in over 4 weeks and is in pain that makes her scream. Every day she is hoping she will be able to not wake up the next day and we all hope for the same. Every morning her suffering continues.

We mentioned assisted suicide once and have been told “not in this State”. Great, what are they suppose to do now? Move?

My Sister-in-law is 55 years old and is suffering like an animal. As a matter of fact, the most of us wouldn’t allow animals to suffer like that. We actually show humanity when it comes to our pets. We can’t bear to see them suffer, we allow them to die with dignity…a dignity that we deny human beings.

I watched a movie when I was young, called “Soylent green”. It was a sci-fi movie and I don’t’ really remember what it was all about. But there, in this futuristic movie was a scene that I never forgot. One of the main characters, an old man is tired of what his world has become and he goes to a place that looked like a movie theater. He pays at the entree and is being brought to a room. There he lays down in a comfortable chaise, the big screen starts to play and shows him the most beautiful pictures of wildlife, nature and places he must have wanted to see. Nice music is playing in the background and after a few dramatic scenes (of course, after all it is a movie) and a last Good-bye to Charlton Heston, he takes his medication…he continues to watch, closes his eyes and then he is gone peacefully.

It was just a movie, but I have never forgotten this scene. I remember thinking “Oh I wish that’s how it would be…one day”. Wouldn’t it be nice? Wouldn’t it be great to know, that we all could actually decide our final Good-bye and would be “allowed” to decide our faith for ourselves – IF we suffer with a fatal disease? Now in the 21th century, this scene is still science fiction only. In real life we are still ruled and dictated by a law that has been written and overwritten numerous time. We don’t allow assisted suicide in the most states. We don’t allow people to have an own will that would ask for it. We do however allow now -finally- a living will, where you can state that you don’t want your life prolonged, if there is no hope. If we are lucky, somebody will pass this will along to the right people, or it will be found in our wallets and purses, if not then we are out of luck.

As much as I try to understand it all…I just can’t, my brain can not comprehend -and doesn’t want to. Why don’t we just allow everybody to decide for themselves. I am totally fine with religion and I am totally fine with people who are agnostic or non-believers. For me it’s really that simple. If you want to believe in a God or a higher power…then please do so. If you don’t want or can’t believe in a higher power or a God…then please feel free to do so as well. BUT…please, don’t try to rule everybody’s life, because of what a group of people believe. Some believe that suffering here on earth will guarantee them a place in Heaven and that’s great. For for all means…go for it….suffer, if it makes you happy. Some don’t have those believes and that should be respected as well. For all means…let them go when they want to…their suffering doesn’t do anything than causing pain.

Suffering and pain caused by fatal diseases like cancer is not a part of life….it’s a part of dying. Making people suffer like animals doesn’t prolong life…it only prolongs death.

As so many of us, I hope that one day when my time has come, I will just drop dead with a “bang” or die in my sleep. Most likely I will not and I can just wish, that then common sense will have found it’s way back into peoples brain and we will allow the right things to happen. Will my wish come true…probably not, but one can hope.

Let’s be honest, chances that I could get lung cancer one day as well are pretty high after 35 years of smoking and I am fine with it. I did it and I will pay the price…but the tip should be left to me as well!

Our hands are tight, we just listen to somebody whispering “please let me go” and there is legally nothing we can do…it’s a shame, a real shame!

 

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13 thoughts on “Dignity…where did it go?

  1. I am so sorry. I helped care for a close friend the last 18 months of his life with Lung Cancer, he spent 6 months on home hospice, suffering through it. The doctors recommended radiation for the brain when it metastasized though it would do nothing to change the outcome. But he went through it because they said he should. It angered me, I felt as you do, that it would just cause more suffering(which it did) This is one of my “hot topics” as I feel strongly that people should have the right to control their destiny. Again I am so sorry for both you and your sister in law, I can relate to what you are going through. I will keep you both in mind in the coming days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a hot topic for me as well. Watching all this makes me almost feel ashamed of human beings -if that makes any sense. You know, I really think that a lot of things are done in hospitals just to run up the medical bills. A lot of things don’t make sense. Thank you for your kind words.

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  2. We have a doctor up in Queensland who has become famous because of his drive to make assisted suicide legal. Unhappily, even though there are many, many Australians who support him, he is chased from pillar to post by the authorities, all of whom pretend to be ‘good christians’ – which, apparently, means applying the beliefs you hold to others, regardless of whether or not they share them. Fortunately, we have an awful lot of medical staff who will do it anyway rather than see people lingering in torment …
    I can’t see why this post should lose you a single reader, B – and if it does, they are people you don’t need.

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    • Some States here (4 only) actually allow assisted suicide so far, but you have to be a resident. This all angers me so much. There is so much unnecessary suffering going on. This is my body and my life, nobody should have a right to tell me what I want to do. It starts with abortion rights and goes to the very end. There should be more talk about it.

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          • Then it would be a good one in which to drive up interest in this topic, no ? Thought of talking to your Federal member about it ? – or is that august personage known to be disagreeable ?

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          • This is my plan. This part of our family lives in a different state (elephant) about 6 hours away. Right now we are all just researching legal possibilities there, something needs to be done. There is a woman who started a big public campaign in Oregon, after she watched her husband suffer for months. Oregon is now one of the states allowing assisted suicide. If you can stream “How to die in Oregon”, watch it. I try to get in touch with her. However, there is only so much we can do, my brother-in-law is the problem right now. He is so overwhelmed and confused, it’s hard to get on board. Sorry, hard to explain!

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          • Don’t try: leave it till you feel like posting more.
            And B, I’m sure you won’t lose ANY followers: they’re sensible people by and large. Although I suppose the deeply religious ones will hold back on this …

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