October 3, 2014
Tonight on PBS Dr. Ezekiel Immanuel came out with his End of Life Plan which made me yell unprintable things at the innocent television set.
He said that he plans to stop whatever medication he is taking at age 75 and just let nature take its’ course.
That is all very well for him, but I am over 75 now and just getting started at enjoying life.
The argument was offered that many older people are still creative and contributing to the world, like Jimmy Carter, Tony Bennett, and Queen Elizabeth etc.
He claims that out of the billions of people on our planet we can always point to the exceptional outriders, of which there are a few thousand.
The average 75 year old is going to be beset with health problems and do not contribute in any meaningful way to the community or family life.
In my family, I get an allowance to make sure that I am healthy and can pay for all necessary medications to keep me active and alert.
I have yet to finish with enjoying my life, which is the best that it has ever been.
Finally I am able to enjoy some relaxation without worrying about schedules or work commitments. After 60 years of serving others with little or no compensation, I want as much time to enjoy the years left to me as possible.
Just stopping medications and “letting Nature take its’ course” would not be pleasant. Without the high blood pressure meds and aspirin, painful things start happening, and sudden “events” in the circulatory system would tend to frighten me no end.
Cutting out exercise and healthy fruits and veggies would make me a zombie- overweight and lethargic, not a pretty picture to leave my grandson.
All of my friends who are older than I am have health problems, but their attitude is to try and alleviate the conditions so that they may still enjoy their families and everyday activities.
One is over 80, one is 90, and my cousin on the paternal side is over 100, but nobody ever suggested to these people that they should stop any of their meds!
I think that with the advances in medicine and knowledge of what makes a healthy routine, we should be concentrating on getting enjoyment out of our last years and only if faced with a terminal condition which brings pain, should we refuse treatment to prolong the agony.
I have had so many in the family go in just this manner that I would not want to make their battles seem worthless by ignoring what help I can get and shorten my life unnecessarily.
Even 83 year old women can travel to Tibet and enjoy the experience.
Despite what I think of the matter, it seems that 90% of doctors agree with Ezekiel, and would want to slow the frantic efforts to keep us “oldsters” from getting too much older.
Then the question is- who makes that decision, and who pays for the consequences?
Do we want our families to curse us because we neglected ourselves? That already happened in our family. My own Mother neglected the lump in her breast and delayed getting in to see a doctor. Maybe it was because she thought they could not afford it, or was stubborn in hoping it would clear up on its’ own?
The end result was a mastectomy, much pain, relapse and a horrible suffocating death, which left me to fend for myself in teenage anger.
There is also the question of Dr. Immanuel’s intentions for the large population of over 75. Does he see us all doing a self-culling? Will there be a feeling of discrimination arising among the younger population over allocation of resources as we put a strain on government medical services?
So, Dr. Immanuel, do what you want but don’t expect me to follow your philosophy.