Scarcity of care that extends life
I had to go to VA here in Atlanta for a procedure. It had to do with a growth in my ear, a rare phenomena, made me feel so very special. The Doctors were from Emory and very young....or perhaps it is I who am getting old....in any case I trusted them, and that trust was well deserved. On my second visit I ask both the nurse and the doctor who were taking care of me what they thought of the 'baby-boomers" coming of age. I think in the VA most of those receiving care, are from my generation (I will be 65 in Dec). There are sill some from the 2nd World War and of course from Korea but most I believe are now receiving home visits from the VA. They both pretty much said that they are nervous about the volume that is starting to rise, and will continue to grow, straining the system, which is already over taxed.
We do talk of health care, and it needs to be done, but how do we deal with limitations, with the ability of our system to even take care of everyone? I know that a great deal of expense is used to keep people alive in the last week, or even the last couple of days of life. I believe that is a question that needs to be addressed. How do we baby-boomers take to the idea that in the not so distant future, the struggle to extend life for the elderly may have to be dropped, so that those younger may be able to bet better care. Palliative care I believe will be the next main growth in health care. Places where people can go to die as pain free as possible when they have conditions that can't be taken care of because of scarcity.
I know we have hospice care facilitates that people go to now, as well as providing home care. In the near future I believe this will become a main stay in health care system. I am not talking about speeding up the death process, but about knowing when it is time to let go and to allow nature to take its course. This will vary from person to person of course, we have man in my community who is 102 years old and is going strong, others in their early 80's who look to be a hundred. We all age differently, DNA being one factor of course.
The middle aged and young should be given the care that they need to survive, the elderly, well maybe we will be forced to simply allow nature to take its course. This is different than so called mercy killing, which I believe is immoral and just another slippery slop that we can slide down. The dignity of life is preserved by providing care that will allow death to occur naturally, with pain management, that will protect the dignity of all concerned.
Ones own death is not easy to think about or to even comprehend on a deep emotional and feeling level. I think it was Freud who said that when we think of our death, we do so as an observer, which is not what our private deaths are. We do not observe, will experience death.