Death comes to everyone on this earth. Even Christ died on the Cross. He triumphed over death, thereby assuring us of the possibility of everlasting life.
But, still, death comes to everyone.
Here at the pond, we are always aware of death. Not only because we are of the age at which we should be considering it, but because as Orthodox Christians we are urged to be aware of death – to have continuous awareness of death – so that we might be prepared, spiritually, should it come on us unaware.
We do not fear death. Neither do we seek it. Since we know that death comes to all, the Ol’ Curmdgeon and I are planning for it. We want to be sure we are not “kept alive” with tubes, IVs, ventilation, CPR, etc. We have executed Medical Power of Attorney with each as the surrogate for the other. We have expressed our wishes to our children in clear terms.
We have considered this most carefully and discussed it completely and in detail.
No CPR unless there is better than 90% chance for recovery
If either of us has any kind of progressive dementia, no CPR at all.
No IV’s unless there is better than 90% chance for recovery.
No IVs at all if either of us had any kind of progressive dementia.
No ventilation unless there is better than 90% chance for recovery
No ventilation at all if either of us had any kind of progressive dementia.
No tube feeding unless there is better than 90% chance for recovery
No tube feeding at all if either of us had any kind of progressive dementia.
If we are in pain, see that we get **adequate** pain medications, **even if** the use of those pain medications or the dosages required will hasten death.
Don’t think there can be anything much more clear than that. We even set a % estimate of chance of recovery. At our ages, what is the point of being kept alive artificially?
One of the reasons we have set these down explicitly is because once the medical ghouls start “lifesaving” procedures, it is hard to get them turned off! When my darlin’ mother died, she had a terribly painful and crippling disease. She was in a nursing home, and was ready to die. “They,” in an excess of zeal, wanted her to be “comfortable,” so they started IVs. They would not discontinue them despite my begging them to do so. I had to discontinue the IVs myself. I was excoriated by some of the staff there who had come to love her. The problem is, they didn’t love her enough. She and I were very close – including detailed discussions concerning her disease and her fears and her wishes for her end of life. At least I didn’t have to fight with any siblings – I was an only child. She was prepared to die – she did not want to be kept alive in her current condition. I was the one who loved her enough to follow her wishes.
After that experience, and viewing the experiences of other friends and acquaintences, we decided to make our wishes known far in advance and spread as widely as possible among our friends and extended relations. We did. And our attorney knows, also.
Recently there was a case in a FL court about a doctor and nursing home who did not follow the expressed wishes of a patient. The defense attorney tried to tie it all up in legal definitions and specifications.
We don’t want this to happen to us.
At the pond, death is seen as something that is unfortunate but natural in the life cycle. As death is, eventually, unavoidable, we want to be sure we do not “linger” unnecessarily, or be in unnecessary pain.
Another consideration for doing this is to relieve each other and our children of guilt and regrets. When the time comes, bring the priest to us for Unction, for Holy Communion, and the Prayers at the Parting of the Soul from the Body, and then let us go.
Our funeral is planned. Our graves have been purchased. All is in readiness for that day.