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Death and the Perfect Idiot

Right now it is impossible now for me to avoid considerations of death. There has been so much of it around!  And yes,for sure the iconic stuff is just that - people who made us smile, who symbolised or summed up some part of our experience or hope, who brought us music and stories -  but this happens all the time, painful though it is. Perhaps our responses to these things are intensified by what seems to be an increasingly ugly and fearful global situation. Maybe we are mourning the loss of our dreams on many different levels.

My thoughts now move towards personal associations. I should not have been surprised at my father's death, given his very long term nicotine addiction, but then again, he lasted longer than Mark, and both had their threescore years and ten.  Many of my friends were late 50s/early 60s born, and had great times  with drugs and alcohol. A couple of junkies, plenty of smokers, a few alcoholics, many who are none of these things, all in all an abundance of brilliant folk I am lucky to have known. It's been awesome. But I wish everyone would stop sodding off.

And of course, there have been people like Henry, who did nothing  to encourage the reaper in any way, and died aged 44.

I suddenly have a vision of myself as some old owl in a tree, hooting as everyone gets cut down around me, then blinking like a ninny as the scythe heads my way.  But look, don't just let me lie in some hospital bed, morphined up to the nines to stay alive but barely conscious  while some cancer or god-knows-what chews away unstoppably at me. If it's  a done deal, just get me to somewhere that's still beautiful and full of animal life, let me watch the sunset and the moonrise over Moremi or Savuti, Chobe,or Yosemite, or the Ocean, just somewhere beautiful and not yet dead or just a market place.  Let me see the stars and the trees before I go.
If I am dying, really dying, honour me by not pretending otherwise, help me get enough painkillers in my body to stay lucid and travel to where I want to say goodbye.  And if I haven't got Mark's stuff finished and published by then, please grab the memory sticks and find someone to finish his work.

Meanwhile, let's live.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
benicek
Jan. 8th, 2017 07:04 pm (UTC)
Oh dear. What became of Henry? I am 44.

I've spent 7 years working as an intensive care nurse, mostly caring for elderly patients, and watched a fair few of them die. Hospital is the best place to be if it comes on hard and quick. All the drugs you need for it to be gentle. If it's a slow chewing cancer then a hospital is unlikely to admit you, so disabuse yourself of that scenario. A hospital bed in another setting maybe. Either way it's not morphine but diamorphine (heroin) we use at the end. Much nicer. I once gave a shot of it to an old man who was in agony with a fatal necrotic bowel. He went quiet for a minute and then said in a perky voice "can I have more of that when it wears off?" Despite the situation it was quite funny. Good old poppy juice.

Edited at 2017-01-08 07:04 pm (UTC)
smokingboot
Jan. 8th, 2017 08:03 pm (UTC)
Henry was a colleague of mine. He died from cancer, just before Xmas, though I don't know what kind. I only got to learn about it when it had spread everywhere.

In 2015, another very dear friend of mine was admitted to hospital. By the time I learned about it he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told he had two months to live. He was in great pain, in a small ward of people also dying. He told me that he was having terrible nightmares. I don't know if that was fear, or diamorphine (the word does sound familar) but it cannot have been improved by seeing and hearing the dying around him. They were tragic and terrifying. In truth, they seemed mostly unconscious, though their groans were heartrending. Such scenes cannot have been condusive to his peaceful sleep.

The staff wanted him to go into a hospice, which he wouldn't countenance at first, because he didn't want to share a room and have someone's TV blaring at him. When the time came, he had a room to himself, a lovely place, beautiful view, kindly respectful nurses.

If I was in a similar circumstance, I know I would be very lucky and very ready to take any medication to ease the pain. But I wouldn't want my final visions of life to be of, say, those poor men in the ward, or to the sounds of some TV droning on and on in the background.

But yes to poppy juice, a good friend at the last.

Edited at 2017-01-09 08:20 am (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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