I viewed the movie “Wit” starring Emma Thompson with what I thought was considerable bravery, as it is about a woman professor dying of fourth stage ovarian cancer.
When I was a teen I had to see my own mother suffer through cancer treatments for breast cancer. She had me as her at home nurse and I willingly applied the salve to her scarred chest, letting the rosettes scar tissue form.
Later, my daughter had to go through chemo therapy and I stroked her balding head while she lay in bed trying not to vomit.
In the middle of all this I used to not even dare say the word “cancer” out loud. I lived in fear that I would die of cervicle cancer at around the same age as my mother, which was 46.
Witnessing how my daughter, mother, brother and nephew all acted when faced with certain death, I finally faced up to the fact that I had dodged that particular bullet.
While viewing the movie “Wit”, I was struck by all the similarities that the story held forth; the nausea, the hair loss, although my daughter had a full head of curly hair after the second round of treatment, and the various kinds of attitude from the doctors.
My daughter had a shmuck for a doctor, and told the family off quite sternly when we questioned the kind of treatment she was getting. On the other hand, the doctors and floor nurses treated my mom very kindly during her last days.
I think the movie let me go back and think about the whole process of caring for a dying relative, and how being part of the care of these people helped me be comforted that at least I was included in what life they had, and was some help. It kept it real, and there was no “what ifs” after all was done.
I also have the good sense to sign a DNR so that nothing like what happened in the movie at the end happens to me!
Death can be dignified if the person is in control, it can be scary and degrading to all involved if there are tubes and beeping machine hooked up to all orifices of the suffering patient.
I say when the heart stops and renal failure is happening, let the poor wretch go- do not try and jump start that heart again, as there has been too much treatment already and the outcome is inevitable.