I have witnessed the deaths of two women I loved very much; my mother and my grandmother. Watching the pain, discomfort and the suffering that goes with the end of life and being somewhat responsible for aiding them in finding relief for their pain was a heart-wrenching experience.
Through these experiences it has caused me to question long held ideals which support the theory that it is best for people to die in the comfort of their own home in the midst of their family and friends.
Today, I must say that I now believe that it is time for civilization to reach another turning point in the development of mankind. It is time that we as responsible people take control of our own death and do what is right not only for us but for all those whose lives we touch.
I am aware that there are cases where it is possible for people to die at home without much difficulty, but right now I can’t think of any. So obviously, I am not the final say on such things. This is just the way I see it right now.
Dying at home is not easy on anyone. Least of all the one who is doing the dying.
In order to die at home you must have people who can help you until you die with such things as changing sheets and diapers while you are still lying in bed. Moving you around in bed while you are trying to change your clothes. Feeding you, helping you drink, making sure you are taking your medicines, or not. Watching out for your catheter or cleaning your surroundings when you are making a mess. Someone to reach things, someone to go get you something you want or need and the list goes on and on.
Not only that, you have to have a bathroom that is set up for handicapped people, a hospital bed and all sorts of accessories around to care for that person in need.
I have no training in being a caregiver, and neither do most lay-people. Therefore, having me care for someone is actually malpractice. I’m a hack at it.
Why is that a bad thing?
It is a bad thing because my clumsiness causes the person in need pain, and is very awkward in terms of previous relationship with that person. Not having the necessary facilities and accessories and professional help 24/7 makes it next to impossible to serve the needs of the person.
Because of all this you cross boundaries that in all honesty need to remain limits. You perform tasks in places where there is no infrastructure for those tasks and it makes doing the job 100 times harder.
All of this combine to tear away a person’s right to personal dignity and respect.
How much more efficient did things get when a professional came to the house to do those things? Suddenly you had someone who had experience dong these things. They had training and experience on how to deal with patients, and to do the work quickly, carefully and cleanly causing the least amount of discomfort to the patient as possible.
But, 3 days a week once a day isn’t enough for help like this and it is not affordable for 7 days a week to have personal home care.
My opinion is, it is time that we get comfortable with the idea of checking ourselves into an end of life facility where we have the infrastructure necessary to take care of ourselves and professionals who take care of us. Then, our loved ones can simply be there for support, caring and watching out for your best interests.
Then your home doesn’t have to turn into a hospital ward. People can live there without worrying about you all of the time.
At a end of life care facility you have a complete staff there to make sure your needs are met, and they do it because it is their work, so even though you get 24/7 care, they aren’t working 24/7.
At home, all caregivers are working 24/7 and it puts incredible pressure on them that honestly serves no one.
I know that this may be expensive and that it takes a lot of planning to arrange for this. But, getting old and dying is a much bigger burden on people than having a new born baby and the caretakers are a lot older than young people.
I want to take responsibility for my death because I’d rather my loved ones be there to visit me as always and not have to change my diapers, wipe my butt and clean my mouth. I’ll let professionals do that for me because everyone deserves it.
Death is not a bad thing. It is a natural thing. Life is a dear commodity and when we get closer to death we then realize how sweet life is and don’t want to leave. That is, of course, natural. But at some point we will die. We must let go of that which is dear in order to free ourselves from the burdens of an earthly existence and so our soul is free to exist unencumbered by the body.
Seeing people you love lose their life, a life they have lived so well, is a very dramatic emotional experience. We have not created our life and we cannot preserve it. We can only live it, and when it is done, it is done.
I don’t want others to make decisions for me. It is our own burden to bear and we can make those decisions far in advance so that we don’t even have to think about it anymore. This seems wise and prudent.
I want my end to be a good one and I don’t want to die at home. Thats not what homes were built for.