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Monday Sober Thread: Shuffling Off

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    As I mentioned in a previous thread, I am currently embroiled in the nasty business of helping my grandmother through the final stages of a long illness. She is in a situation not clearly covered by her advance directive and so we are making decisions the best we can.

    FOCUS: What are your end-of-life wishes? Do you want a lot of treatment? None? Pull the plug or get an extension cord? When would you want your plug pulled?
     
  2. Disgustipated

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    Let's get this one off to a morbid start.

    If it was not for one thing in my life, I would have ended my life already. Preferably by going for the world record of the highest skydive without a parachute.

    I'll either hit the ground crying and shitting myself, begging to wake up; or approaching enlightenment.
     
  3. Josh

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    It's borderline weird (OK it is weird) how much I think about my own mortality. I have no idea why, and I know it sounds ridiculous, but I've always had this feeling that I'm going to die young. I think it's mostly due to having a few people close to me around my age pass away, and realizing in general how fragile life is and how easy it is to lose. Has anybody else ever been driving on the highway and realized "If I just turned my hands a couple inches, I'd be deader than 4 o'clock"? Certainly not suicidally, but just in that sense that it's amazing how close we are to death at any moment. Just me? Very well.

    Anyway, back on topic, I 100% would want the plug pulled in the event I was in some sort of accident and it was determined I would be a vegetable. It just seems so pointless, and I don't believe laying unconscious in a hospital bed is any kind of life at all. I know there are stories about people in comas who suddenly awake years later, but I'd rather not hedge on those odds, putting my family through that stress emotionally and financially for years on end.

    If it's along the lines of terminal cancer, I think I'd initially try to treat it if there was any sort of hope, as I'm certainly not just itching to die. At my age (22) I think it's hard for me to be 100% rational about any end-of-life wishes. As cliche as it sounds, I really haven't done many of the things I want to do, so I don't know how well I'd react to that kind of news. I certainly hope I would go out with some dignity, but I don't know that I could do it without some bullshit "Why me???" thoughts.

    As strange as it sounds, if I was told I was dying today, I think I'd also feel obligated to fight it as much as possible for my parents if nothing else. They are the best parents a guy could ask for, and I would feel this sense of guilt about them having to watch their only child die, especially if I knew I could have tried more options to survive, even if the odds were basically nil.

    Jesus writing this post was depressing.
     
  4. ghettoastronaut

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    I am torn. On the one hand, the thought of dying young (well, not too young) and leaving a beautiful corpse has its appeal; or at least, dying on your own terms while you still possess the physical and mental faculties to dictate and execute those terms is better than the alternative. On the other hand, doing anything other than fighting until the very last ounce of life is left in me seems like giving up, and that there might be things left to miss.

    My grandfather didn't go out pretty. He was getting confused and senile, and suddenly a tumour in his spine pinched off his nerves and he was paralyzed. So for two years and some he was senile and paralyzed from the lower back down - incontinence included, and the dementia meant he'd sometimes rip out the catheter, and he was on a massive cocktail of medications throughout. He mostly lost the ability to speak English, would consistently talk about things that might have been relevant to his former life as a peasant farmer, and couldn't remember many more people than my grandmother and uncles. Fortunately there were two nurses in the family who helped out a lot with the home care so there weren't issues like pressure ulcers to deal with on top of everything else. It was an absolute wreck for the family, especially for my grandmother (the two had known each other since she was nine years old or so in a tiny town in Italy). I was mostly shielded from all of the higher end issues because I was rather young, but I don't think euthanesia ever came up; as you can surmise the family is Catholic, but on top of that, I'm not sure how you can look at this as anything more than murder, especially in the absence of pre-existing medical directives.

    I think it's safe to say that pretty much every member of the family most definitely doesn't want to go out like that. Me, I'd prefer to go out before anything like that comes up. It only amplifies the tragedy of death. But once you're in the middle of it, how can you ask your family members (either consciously or through pre-set medical directives) to tell a doctor to dose your morphine until you stop breathing? You don't even have to be Catholic to object to that. If you're vegetative, it's easy to pull the plug, and if you're terminal with cancer it's easy to say no to that last round of chemo. But if you're senile? The sheer fact of someone being animate and capable of responding to you (even in an irrational and nonsensical way) makes euthanesia absolutely horrifying, no matter how merciful and rational it might appear.
     
  5. scootah

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    Honestly? I'd be begging my doctor to jack me full of morphine and let me float out if I had a single moment of lucid awareness during that process. I hope my family knows me well enough to not wait for the lucid moment.

    My will to live is directly tied to my expectation of recovery. When I'm either physically or intellectually impaired beyond the ability to maintain adequate quality of life - be that through paralysis/dismemberment/mental illness or head trauma - and there's no expectation of recovery within my anticipated time line - jack me full of morphine and scatter my ashes over a nudist beach.

    The harder call is when I might have to be unable to communicate for a months/years at a time - but eventually they'll be able to cure me. I'm really not sure how long I'd be willing to suffer for a future cure. I mean I know I wouldn't want to spend 30 years unable to move or communicate - for 6 months of cure at the end before I'd die of old age. Fuck it - pull the plug now. But I've got no idea how much life I'd want at the end, or how long I'd be willing to go out of my mind waiting for the cure.
     
  6. mya

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    First of all, dryfrylock, sorry for the struggle with your grandmother. Not knowing the details, if I have any general advice to offer at all, it is just to think of her comfort first and foremost.

    Now for myself, I have very very firm feelings on this matter and I hope that my family has the guts to go through with it if they find themselves in the position to make decisions for me. I am all about pulling the plug immediately if my quality of life is going to suffer much at all. I worked in ICU, I see what we did to those poor people to keep them going. My mom argues with me about this stuff all the time....anything from the possibility of them developing new cures to whatever during my "coma" time (I don't want to be the one to wait it out, besides, I am not a fucking guinea pig), to "miracles" involving people waking up spontaneously after 30 years in a coma (they call it a fucking miracle for a reason and if I wake up having missed the past 30 years, I am going to be fucking pissed), to look at all of the inspiring stories about people with significant handicaps overcoming the odds and living a full and happy life (I know me, I am not an inspiring person, I will be begging for somebody to put bottle of booze in my feeding tube so I can drift off into an intoxicated state of self pity).

    Here is my living will as is understood by my husband...if I need so much as a band aid, you just tell them NO.
     
  7. Frebis

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    I don't really care when I get old and unable to feel anything if they pull the plug or let machines do my living. I'm pretty sure by that time you are so far gone you dont even know if you are alive or dead.

    This is the one thing I do care about- When I get so bad I can't take care of myself, yet I'm not bad enough to die, I want to be put in a nursing home. No way in hell do I ever want to burden my family with having to take care of me.
     
  8. Maltob14

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    Lets face it, if the gauge of being somewhat functional is not shitting, pissing, drooling, spilling food on ourselves, most of us need to be put down now and not wait for the plug to be pulled. Problem is, I'd be ranked pretty high on the tard hit list.

    If the time does come where it's either stay alive on heavy life support because I'm severely mentally and/or physically impaired then it's time to go. Obviously I'd have gone over what 'heavy life support' means in my will.
     
  9. Samr

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    Yeah, no, not just you bud. I remember riding my bike around the neighborhood, six maybe seven years old tops. REAL young. I had no real idea what death was or what it meant -- hadn't been to any funerals (yet), hadn't seen anyone in my family real sick (yet), didn't have any major health concerns (yet) -- but I remember riding the bike around being absolutely fucking dead certain I was going to die young. This was a feeling I had expressed to maybe three people tops, because I knew it was a crazy idea, but I was certain. Then I got diagnosed with juvenile osteoporosis at 17. Raise your hand if you can say you are one of roughly 250-300 people worldwide with anything? I can. It's that fucking rare. And of course I was like "yep, here it comes, told you!" Flash forward two more years, I was in a hospital bed giving my last wishes and talking about funeral plans. I think that's why I was so calm during the ordeal, and why I was ultimately able to deal with the trauma and recover so quickly -- because in some weird way, my body had already been preparing for it for a decade. I knew EXACTLY what to do.

    You aren't alone buddy.

    Onto the thread topic: Because of my experiences, I already have this shit outlined for my whole family and they know precisely what I want done. No questions; everyone's on the same boat. Takes a lot of daily worry off me actually. Doesn't matter what shape I'm in physically -- I've already had to deal with temporary paralysis (for like two days; yes I have a picture) and re-learning how to walk, re-learning math and handwriting, briefly re-learning how to type; I was prepared to permanently lose large chunks of memory, walking, writing, and all five of my senses -- as long as I'm still mentally fully aware and can in some way communicate, I want to still live. Unlike athletes and crap who would be nothing without their bodies, I pride myself and define myself by what I can do mentally. So if I'm in anyway permanently mentally impaired (meaning their is not a good chance for relatively quick recovery to that end, and I'll leave that call up to my mother and wife), pull the fucking plug. But if I'm a vegetable that can talk? I'll make do.

    As for what I want to happen to me, this much has also been made perfectly clear: after my wife is taken care of (and I know she will be), I want all of my personal possessions liquidated and every bit of finance to my name donated toward early childhood education. I'm talking scholarships or something. Fuck giving money to whatever cause helps find a cure for what killed me; people die every day, and in all likelihood my donations would not have a significant impact. But early childhood education is my passion in life; it was my main motivation for recovery during my ordeal, and it is the path upon which I'm still taking to improve the world. What I've done, professionally, in the three and a half years since my near-death experience, I know for certain has already contributed toward making a difference for thousands of children and families within my community. There's studies out there that argue that the difference I'm making now will help them professionally when they leave college. I couldn't think of a better cause, so, this is where my possessions will go.
     
  10. CharlesJohnson

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    My grandfather lived with us all of my childhood. Not even two years after pops kicked the bucket, gramps had a massive stroke. Mom and I found him collapsed in his room. Tough old bird refused to die. He lasted three months bed ridden, unable to move or speak or control his bodily functions any more than a newborn. He was fed by a tube and he moaned incomprehensible, guttural, primitive wales. Two of those months he was in the house. That is completely rough to watch. Almost sadistic. He was a hard man in his youth, but mellowed out 100% in his last 10 years. His only son pretty much washed his hands of it all, as he thought it was a sin to see one's father in states of undress. He let his 2 younger sisters to feed and change the man. The morning he died he turned grey. Literally grey, while he had his last breaths.

    Onto my aunt. Same aunt as above. She was at least 320lbs. Diabetes unchecked, terrible fast food diet. Her leg was rotting, she had cataracts. This was a manipulative, ignorant woman. Not necessarily bad intentions, but she had her kids wrapped around her finger. She finally has a heart attack. Several of them. Her needy kids manage to get into the actual ER. They pressure the doc to keep resuscitating the woman as she continues to have heart attacks. Over 10 minutes later they stabilize her and put her on bypass. Woman is 100% brain dead. She was as good as dead before she even got to the hospital. Her goddamn kids keep her on the machine for over two months moaning and wailing over her body. I don't care what you believe, Christian, satanism, Hindu... the woman is gone. There was nothing left but a slowly decaying body. I was absolutely nauseated by these people. Disgusting.

    Moral of the story: give me a week, pull the fucking plug. If I end up with diminished capacity where I'm shitting myself, clueless and immobile, and my kids have to hold it together... kiss my forehead and put a fucking pillow over my face. That was gramps biggest fear: the burden. He died exactly how he didn't want to.

    The only silver lining was auntie's funeral. She was so large, she didn't fit in the coffin. Then she sprung a leak. I couldn't help it. It was almost scripted. You don't spring a leak at your funeral.
     
  11. audreymonroe

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    Since I have basically the strongest line of family history of breast cancer one can get, I'm pretty much convinced I'll be getting it at some point in my life, so I've put a lot of thought into this. It comes down to two factors. If my dad's still alive and if I have kids. If either of these are the case, then I'm fighting but for different reasons. I couldn't put my dad through that shit again, not if I can help it, so I'm going to be doing everything possible to try and beat it. If I have a kid, well, my stepmom had lung cancer and kept smoking throughout her entire "treatment." That fucked me up a lot more than her actual death did. I hated that she had just given up and wasn't even trying when she had a four year old son she was leaving behind (and me, of course). I couldn't do that to someone.

    But, if neither of those are the case, then fuck it. I'm being selfish. I don't want to go through that shit. I'll try at first, but at the first sign of doubt, I'm going out on my own terms.
     
  12. Volo

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    Agreed. I don't enjoy taking care of people who can't help themselves, so imposing that kind of thing on my own family isn't an option.

    However, I wouldn't even want to be put in a care home. If and when I reach the point where I can no longer take care of myself, I want to be put to sleep. Now, this is a selfish act in and of itself, but sometimes you gotta look out for number one. And quite frankly, this is the least painful option for all involved. My family is going to lose me anyways, I'm fuckin' worthless at that point, and I'm costing money that no one can afford. Get it over with so the rest of the family can move on and not have to incur further expensives, both monetary and emotional, on my behalf.
     
  13. shegirl

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    Well this thread is just sad and depressing. Aren't Mondays sad and depressing enough as it is?
     
  14. Jimmy James

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    My grandpa had a massive stroke when I was 6 or 7. Tough old bastard managed to hang on for at least a year before he passed. The worst thing was that he certainly didn't appear to be all there. The left side of his body didn't function and it didn't look like he recognized anybody.

    My grandma was a heavy smoker. She died of emphysema at the age of 85. She went out on a morphine drip. But before that happened, a nurse had to wheel in a portable toilet for her to use. This woman was the strongest person I have ever known. To see the look on her face when she saw it was almost as bad as seeing her after she passed.

    I imagine my plans are going to change later, but my current plan would involve a heavy dose of opiates after I say goodbye to my family and donating my organs. If I manage to live to a ripe old age, then opiates again. Going out in a dream sounds awesome to me.
     
  15. DrFrylock

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    Better than running it on Friday...

    To make up for it next Monday's thread will be a serious discussion of the largest item you've ever seen in a human orifice.

    EDIT: aw cmon black comedy is still comedy! Anybody know the difference between a truckload of bowling balls and a truckload of dead babies?
     
  16. Ogee

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    You don't have a truckload of bowling balls in your garage?

    Focus: Pull the plug, smother me with a pillow, fill me with drugs. I dont care which. But if I am not coherent or cant move, I don't want to hang around.
     
  17. Volo

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    I remember giving an orientation to a new cook at an old restaurant I used to work at. This new cook was a young woman, only 18, going to university and looking for a way to earn some extra cash. She was incredibly naive, with the impression that kitchens were like they looked on TV, all clean and sparkly and professional. I do believe she was a devout Christian as well. Nice kid, but woefully unprepared for what awaited her.

    She's been in the building for about 10 minutes, and I'm taking her over to the station she's going to be working on weekends, our dessert and salad station, and she hears the following:

    "There is no way you can fit two dicks in the same asshole at the same time!"
    "Dude, I've watched 14 inch cocks smash through a 4'11" broad before."
    "Yeah, we all have, but logistically there's a problem with two dicks getting in there."

    She didn't show up to her first shift.
     
  18. Crown Royal

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    -You can't unload bowling balls with a pitchfork.

    Is THAT what you guys call great ways to die? Fags. There's only ONE way to go out like a man:

    Forgetting your S & M "safe word".

    ...then, dip me in honey and throw me to the necrophiliacs.
     
  19. Juice

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    Watching my sister survive cancer has made me realize how much stronger she is than me. It made me realize that nobody is here forever and life is precious. Because of this its made me contemplate my own mortality and what I want when I pass; the impression I want to leave people with of my life and what I want to leave them when Im gone. After careful consideration and a lot of thought, I decided I want to be stuffed/taxidermied. Then I want to be put in a suit and have a big smile on my face with my hand positioned just-so and Im giving out cigars at a fancy restaurant like a cigar-store-indian.

    Or if I can afford it and the technology is more easily available at that point, jettisoned into space with a variety of three stooges movies so when it eventually reaches an alien planet, and I dont burn up in the atmosphere upon entry, they will have that as their only knowledge of human existence. Ill assume they have DVD players, but we can send instructions on how to build one with me just in case.
     
  20. The Village Idiot

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    Heh, just talked to my wife about this one.

    First of all, I'm assuming for purposes of this answer that I'm in the hospital. My preferred method of dying would be from a massive heart attack suffered while having sex with two 21 year olds. Since that is probably (I say 'probably' only so that I don't put a bullet in my head now because I need something, SOMETHING, to believe in) not going to happen, I'm in the hospital. Having seen people die in a hospital, and sadly, doing it wrong, here's what I'd do:

    Leave instructions that no one is allowed in my room. Sorry, say what you have to in a post it note, or e-mail me, but I am not letting anyone see me in my final stages.

    Pull the plug. Fuck it, plug it in, put my feet in water and drop the toaster in a la 'Groundhog's Day.' Seriously, most people suck at dying, isn't it better to leave no witnesses?