At all costs?

It seems health care these days is costing individuals in the Western world more and more whether we pay for it through taxes that fund universal medicare or privately. And so often, much time and resources are devoted to what are ultimately losing battles against terminal illness.

One senior I knew who had prostate cancer fought it for a while with drugs and medical procedures, but then resigned himself to it and gave up the fight. He had known from the outset that it would kill him, but he thought he could buy more time with medical attention — with emphasis on the word “buy” here.

And perhaps it did buy him a little more time, but the treatments made him feel sick and miserable. In the long run, was it worth it to devote all those resources and energy giving him an extra year or so?

I wonder if we as a society spend too much time and money trying to delay the inevitable?

What does it says about our acceptance — or nonacceptance — of death as part of the natural cycle of life? Or is that a contradiction in terms?

I suppose it depends on your belief about what comes after death.

Personally, in my heart and soul, I believe we are essentially immortal bits of energy (call it what you will) cloaked in flesh that are transformed — liberated, some feel — when our physical bodies die, that we take on different “bodies” or “forms” in this long day of the universe, though not necessarily in this particular material world or dimension.

But for those who see this life and existence itself as a one-shot deal followed by eternal nothingness, I suppose that preserving it is paramount — though, eternal sleep might not be so bad, either.

What do you think? Do we have the right mindset about death? Do we spend too much time and energy trying to delay the inevitable? Where should we draw the line?

— Jillian

8 thoughts on “At all costs?

  1. I am not qualified to judge whether or not anyone other than myself should live or die. Are you? BTW, I am 7 years cancer free after undergoing experimental treatment for my prostate cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that your treatment has been successful.

      No, I’m not qualified to judge. I just wanted to stimulate discussion. The question is more about our attitudes toward death than about who should and should not receive medical care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Why ‘words” are important. Attitudes, Values, Belief, Conviction, Judgement, Character. God. Don’t we throw around a lot of them and have little understanding of what they mean. :O

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      2. When quality of life goes, I want to go; that is what “Do Not Resuscitate” documents are for. But it is, and should remain, my decision.

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  2. If all the treatment would accomplish is to prolong the inevitable death (isn’t that the definition of torture?), then I would pass up the treatment and enjoy what quality time I have left.

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  3. It is quality of life that matters, not quantity. None of us know what happens at death. No one has ever come back to tell us, despite what the Christians say, or the Spiritualists.

    Folk believe all sorts of things without any basis for doing so. It is normal to hope. That is why we have so many religions. Folk change their stance on that through life. I was a Christian for 24 years and believed in Heaven. Now I am an athiest and believe that death is simply “the end”. One day I may find out that I was right before and am wrong now, but I doubt it. I don’t recall experiencing anything before birth, so why should I expect to continue experiencing anything after death? The idea that we are somehow soul or spirit that is eternal and immortal is simply wishful thinking. If our consciousness is a function of our brain activity (and studies of those with brain damage indicate that it is) then when the brain stops function, our consciousness is gone.

    My grandfather had prostate cancer. It got him eventually, when he was 91. He had all the treatment available on Britain’s NHS. At one point he was put in a care home on the expectation that he had weeks to live. He lived another 18 months, He was still admiring the ladies to the end, which I take as an indication of a quality of life. He spent his last year in a wheelchair, but he didn’t complain. He adored his family, which I think is what kept him going for so long.

    He said to me “These different religions can’t all be right, but they can all be wrong.”

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