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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

HOW TO ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

Day 56 of the Lower Puna Eruption, where there was the usual summit 5+ earthquake.

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The day before I left for my Seattle/Anchorage book development trip, I got a call from the 15 Craigside administration, which, frankly, irritated me.  So much so that this led me to think about what I should be doing with the rest of my life.  Do I want to exist in this environment, where the next step is the dreaded second floor to die?

I can't say it was a mistake to move into this senior's community because I have made a lot of good friends and truly enjoy my existence here.  But it's taken me four years to realize that this place is designed for people who eat 90 meals/month in our dining room and worry about the long-term cost of dying, where  some actually joined to give their children a full life without a responsibility to care for them.  It now turns out that I only come down to eat 25 times/month, wasting at least $3750/month, if the cost used is what they charge visitors eating here.  

More importantly, it turns out that I truly don't wish to subsist in pain and boredom for any length of time, in a state of dementia or not.  Thus, the promise of 15 Craigside to care for me forever, even if I run out of money, is irrelevant for someone like me.  There could be solutions to potential incoming and existing residents where lifetime care is not all that important.  A written end of life policy for some could maximize interest and minimize financial risk...for some.  Chances are, though, that a church-run entity might not want to even discuss these prospects.

For the record, there are a dozen countries where assisted dying is legal.  Most locations only allow euthanasia for the terminally ill.  However, Switzerland, for one, does not have this requirement, and the patients arriving from other countries with no obvious fatal prognosis is growing.

Over the next week or so I'll post on various facets of this issue.  The overwhelming sense of death with any dignity is that most cultures, religions and governments want to keep the patient alive at all costs.  Morality is a controlling factor, which determines existing laws.  When my wife was in intensive care, I appreciated this maximization of care policy, even though I thought the costs were exorbitant. 

I'm presently of reasonably sound mind, and would like to plan my end, while enjoying life to the fullest.  I'm not clear what this means at this point, and I'm not sure if I have any options for change, but, who knows, this could well become my next book.  I should nevertheless thank the individual who called me, for she stimulated me to, for the first time, truly think about the rest of my life.   Stay tuned.

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