Our unrealistic attitudes about death, through a doctor’s eyes

We all die. Here’s just a snippet from this doctors’ experience:

…Sometimes an estranged family member is “flying in next week to get all this straightened out.” This is usually the person who knows the least about her struggling parent’s health; she’ll have problems bringing her white horse as carry-on luggage. This person may think she is being driven by compassion, but a good deal of what got her on the plane was the guilt and regret of living far away and having not done any of the heavy lifting in caring for her parent.

via Washington Post.

I’ve seen this many, many times in my ED; the child of the nearly-deceased who has been doing all the caring comes in, says essentially ‘let them die comfortably’, then come in the ones who haven’t been doing the work, haven’t seen the daily decline, and they browbeat the first into a retreat. ‘I think I misunderstood, we need to do everything’ they say to me while watching the floor; my job is nothing compared to the needless suffering they’ve consigned their dying parent to experience.

Shame on us for making dying foreign, and not the end of a life well spent.